Students take different paths to Greek Life

Maggie Runge, Contributing Writer

For most incoming college students interested in Greek Life, the fall of their freshman year is where they begin their search. For a few students at Eastern, however, this was not the case.

Sammie Mackey, a junior elementary education major, joined her sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha, during the spring semester of her freshman year.

Like most incoming freshmen, Mackey originally planned to join Greek Life as an incoming freshman her first semester on campus. However, she said the fall recruitment process became too much for her and she withdrew herself from the process.

Serena Clearwater, a psychology major who went through recruitment in the fall, said recruitment is a weeklong process where individuals interested in joining Greek chapters go from chapter house to chapter house, introducing themselves and getting to know current chapter members. Each day of the week has a different purpose.

For sororities, the first day is when everyone meets for an orientation to get the “dos and don’ts” of the process. On the second day everyone is required to visit each chapter house with an open mind so each chapter has a fair chance at new members. At the end of the evening the chapters are put in order from most desired to least desired by each participant. This process continues until the final day, when participants have their “preference” round and choose the top few chapters they hope to join.

Clearwater said the fall recruitment can be an “overwhelming recruitment process.”

Instead of going this route, Mackey tried Greek Life again, this time during the spring semester of her freshman year.

“Spring recruitment is very different from the fall,” Mackey said.

According to Mackey, spring recruitment is less structured and consists of more informal open houses than the typical recruitment experience in the fall. During fall recruitment, the day-to-day activities are scheduled and planned out, while during spring recruitment, participants can choose which chapter houses they wish to attend and are not required to visit them all.

Mackey said this informal, ”get-to-know-you” style of recruitment best fit her needs. She was able to find a sorority where she joined the executive board as the recruitment executive and is now the vice president of public relations for the Panhellenic Council.

Clearwater herself has an unusual recruitment story, as she rushed later in her career at Eastern as a junior.

As a transfer student, Clearwater had no past experience with Greek Life, but she still came to Eastern from Lewis University her junior year with the desire to join a sorority.

Clearwater knew she wanted the experience of Greek Life as soon as possible, so there was no question when deciding to go through recruitment in the fall, right when she got to Eastern.

As a transfer student, Clearwater went through fall recruitment as a junior and was the oldest in her pledge class.

Being the oldest among her peers did not stop Clearwater. She saw the age gap as an opportunity for leadership and is now the vice president of community service for the Panhellenic Council. Clearwater said going through recruitment and joining Greek Life at an older age gave her a slight advantage.

As a junior coming from another college, Clearwater has experienced what the typical college life is like. She has dealt with balancing college schoolwork and maintaining a social life while also taking time to care for herself.

Having experience as a college student, Clearwater said she has a bit more knowledge about balancing the different aspects of college, something incoming freshman straight out of high school might struggle with.

Clearwater has no regrets when it comes to her recruitment process, other than wishing she had gone to Eastern all four years.

She said the earlier one joins a sorority or fraternity, the longer they get to experience life with their letters.

Joining Greek Life is “not for four years – it’s for life,” Clearwater said.

Maggie Runge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].