It's officially Greek Forum season! This month, spring recruitment meetings hosted by alumnae Panhellenic organizations will be taking place all across the great state of Texas (and beyond). With this in mind, we recently interviewed Debbi Schneider, who serves on the board for Mid Cities Panhellenic! Keep reading to learn more about the importance of Greek Forums, the role that Alumnae Panhellenic Organizations play in sorority recruitment, recommended sorority packet etiquette, and Debbi's opinion about electronic recommendations vs. printed sorority packets. If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, use this guide to find the 2020 Greek Forum nearest you!
featured photo: @magdolynleb | University of Louisiana at Lafayette Tri Delta
INTERVIEW: DEBBI SCHNEIDER, RECRUITMENT INFORMATION OFFICER
Mid Cities Panhellenic Organization
SP: Why should moms and daughters make it a priority to attend the Greek Forum?
DS: There will be valuable information presented about sorority life and how to go about obtaining the alumnae recommendations that are so helpful for a potential new member. Information will be presented, and detailed in a handout, about information that should be presented to alumnae in order to help them do their recommendation (ie. resume, photos, and academic information). The members of Mid Cities Panhellenic are very experienced in sorority recruitment and have collaborated with their years of knowledge about their individual sororities to help young women. Most of us are moms that have been through this. A short fashion show is presented by our youngest sorority alumnae that display appropriate outfits for the various parties, and are available to answer questions. Mid Cities Panhellenic has won several “Excellence in Programming” awards from National Panhellenic Conference for this event!
What is the primary purpose of an Alumnae Panhellenic organization?
Area Alumnae Panhellenics are associated with National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and support women’s fraternities by promoting our common values, education, leadership, friendships, cooperation, and citizenship. Mid Cities Panhellenic is open to any alumnae affiliated with a national Greek sorority, and our main activities are to support our area young women in recruitment and to award one or more scholarships to our area Greek actives.
How has recruitment changed since the moms of current high school seniors pledged sororities?
The biggest change is the increase in size of the Greek system. USA Today reported that sororities and fraternities have experienced a 40% increase in membership since 2007. New Member classes have grown in size from a number in the twenties to numbers over 100. National Panhellenic has implemented procedures that keep recruitment more equitable and educational. The various rounds of recruitment events now focus on philanthropy and sisterhood, and not on skits and singing. This increase in size also means that the status of “legacy” (that your mother, sister, or grandmother were sorority members) may not ensure a bid to their sorority.
Should PNMs continue to put together physical recruitment information packets for alumnae now that so many recommendations are being accepted electronically?
Great question! Yes. First of all, your organized thoughts are used by the alumnae to put the best and most complete info into their digital submission. Secondly, some chapters accept the paper documents mailed from the alumnae, in addition, to supplement the digital info. And third, it is really more professional and courteous to present an alumna with complete printed resume/academic information/photos as well as a nice cover letter when you ask them if they can help you with a recommendation. Remember that you are asking them to honor you by supporting you to their sorority. They are doing you a favor by providing this and are in no way obligated!
Any other thoughts?
The two most important things: TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Even if your university Panhellenic says that recommendations are due in July or later, you need to get your info ready and present it to all alumnae as early as possible. We recommend by high school graduation. This is because all sorority chapters are planning their recruitment beginning in May. They may have as many as 2,000 potential new members (depending on the university) going through recruitment and must be able to make decisions regarding how to narrow this down to the new member class size in only one week of “parties.” They study the information provided by the recommendations all summer. In addition, your alumnae friends are busy ladies who are doing this as a favor, and may have limited time to work on it.
Second: COURTESY! Ask for the honor of a recommendation, do not demand it. **Do not issue timelines or instructions to sorority alumnae. They all have their own national websites that they can refer to for the correct form and addresses, and all sororities have their own policies. Let them handle this. Do not ask them to let you know when they have finished. Send them a polite and handwritten thank you note a week or so after you have asked them—this might remind them.
**SP Note: If there is a specific deadline your information MUST be submitted by, it's okay to let your rec letter writers know this. (As sorority alumnae ourselves, we actually appreciate the heads up!) As Debbi said, just be sure to do so in a courteous manner.
Save the Date: The 2020 Mid Cities Greek Forum will take place on February 16, 2020. You can learn more about what will be covered during the event and reach out directly to a representative of Mid Cities right here. Remember, Alumnae Panhellenic Organizations want to help you be successful! Arrive at the forum prepared to ask questions, listen, and learn!