We sat down with the president of the Panhellenic Council to answer your questions about the new sorority recruitment process
There will be two formal recruitments next year
When Dr. Ainsley Carry, the USC Vice President of Student Affairs, announced a new eligibility requirement for students who want to participate in Greek life, many were concerned about the impact it would have on formal sorority rush.
The new requirement says, "effective Fall 2018, all USC students who wish to participate in Greek organization recruitment must have completed a minimum of 12 academic units, and a minimum USC grade point average of 2.5." This basically means that incoming students can no longer rush their first semester at USC.
Fraternities typically have informal recruitment during the fall and the spring semesters, so they weren't as concerned about the new rules. The bigger impact hit sororities, which only had one formal recruitment in the fall. The new eligibility requirement would force them to go a year and a half without recruiting any new members.
To solve this problem, the USC Panhellenic Council announced that they will be having two formal recruitments, in the fall and in the spring, for the 2018-2019 school year. This will help them transition into hosting formal recruitment only during the spring semester for the 2019-2020 school year and beyond.
The Tab sat down with USC Panhellenic Council President, Carmel McCullough, to ask her some questions about the change and how it will impact recruitment going forward:
Why are two formal recruitments beneficial for this year?
Traditionally, we’ve always done fall recruitment. We’ve always had fall because we wanted to give incoming freshmen and others the opportunity to be involved in Greek life when they first come to campus. But with the change to the eligibility requirement, it made us think “does fall still work for our community?”
When you look at the pool of women that go through recruitment, it's about half freshmen and the other half really comprises sophomores, but there's also juniors and seniors. So, with the eligibility requirement, if we were only going to have a recruitment during the fall, we would really only be able to recruit half of our normal pool.
After lots of careful deliberations, the community decided that for the transition year, we would have two recruitments so we can attack half the pool in the first semester and recruit the other half of the pool in the second.
How is the process going to work?
We’re constantly trying to move the culture of our recruitment towards a values based recruitment. So we’re really trying to get rid of the frills: the excess amount of money on food, or flowers, or songs. We are really trying to bring it down to the purpose of recruitment which is building relationships and community through conversation.
We’ve actually worked on limiting the days we do recruitment and we're trying to get down to the nuts and bolts of recruitment, which is having conversations.
For the upcoming year, are only half of the new member spots for each house going to be filled in the fall and the other half in the spring?
How those numbers work is actually through a system called Release Figure Methodology (RFM). So, we want as many women who want to be in our community to be in our community. We’re not restricting or limiting anyone, its just the numbers are played out based on who wants to go through recruitment.
Hypothetically, based on the eligibility requirement, half the pool is typically freshmen and half is sophomores, juniors, and seniors. So if only half are going through recruitment, that would mean that that half would comprise all the different new member classes.
Since women have to have a USC GPA, can only sophomores rush in the fall? What about spring admits?
The eligibility requirement says that students must have 12 college units, so that would restrict freshmen from joining recruitment in the fall semester.
In regards to spring admits, they are required to gain 12 college units at USC. I know some students typically do some form of post-high school education in the fall before the spring, but those units don’t count towards the 12 units.
For transfer students, if they have one year of college course work, then that counts.
Do you expect a bigger turnout for recruitment in the fall or the spring?
I think we’re banking on half and half, just because this requirement really only effects when people can go through recruitment.
How is this going to affect the houses financially?
That’s also part of the reason that we’re doing the two recruitments this coming year. We’re putting time and energy into seeing where finances go and determining what is really important to us.
There has been a lot of time and thought into looking at re-budgeting and seeing how we can make sure none of the chapters on campus suffer because of recruitment changes.
How are you planning to transition into spring recruitment for 2019-2020?
Personally, I don't think it's going to be a big issue at all. Typically, we have a year between formal recruitments. This coming year was unique because if we didn’t decide to do a formal fall recruitment in addition to the new spring recruitment, we would have had to wait a year and a half until new members could join. And that was a little scary.
But with this upcoming model of doing the two for this year, we would just go back to the typical pattern of doing one formal recruitment every calendar year. So I don’t think it will be a big issue. Our community has been very open minded, and innovative, and very flexible to help accommodate all these changes and we’re really excited to see the long term growth because of it.
We also want to make sure we are not only supporting our current members, but that we're also supporting all of the incoming freshmen and giving them the time that they need to adjust to college life.