When I went through recruitment, I had many friends going through the process with me, but at different schools. I knew we would not end up in the same chapter and it was such an exciting time supporting & encouraging each other as we journeyed to find our homes. The FaceTime calls after Bid Day were so sweet, hearing how in love everyone was with their chapters. We all loved that our friends were happy, which introduced us to the concept of ~Panhel Love~ (Panhellenic love).
I also experienced the Panhel love on my own campus. As a potential new member, I saw it in how supportive the chapters were toward each other. And now as a recruitment counselor, I have the fantastic opportunity to build Panhel love in my group! Over the past two years as a sorority woman, I have fallen in love with not only my chapter but the entire Panhellenic community. I want to share a couple of vital takeaways and advice I needed for how to make the most out of the lifelong Panhellenic experience you have joined or will be joining so soon!
1. Go into Recruitment with an Open Mind
There are two phrases every PNM will hear a million times: “trust the process” and “keep an open mind.” While you may get sick of hearing them, they are really both SOO true and important to remember throughout the recruitment process. Every chapter has different women, and you never know who you will end up having a conversation with. Do not discount a chapter or a potential new member before you even get to meet! Every conversation you have in recruitment will better inform you of the chapter or potential new member. You may end up learning about a chapter’s philanthropy or maybe you even talk to your future little!
2. Process The Outcome & Show Up on Bid Day
Every PNM dreams of opening their bid to find an invitation to join their favorite chapter, but unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. That infamous phrase, “trust the process,” continues even into the new member experience. While you may not be jumping up and down about your bid, another girl who got the same bid may be having the best day of her life. If you are running home to a chapter that was not your first choice, give yourself space to process your disappointment but I encourage you to take the opportunity to make connections outside of your comfort zone. Know that you can walk away from the experience and not be initiated but often you end up where you are supposed to! As active members, it is our responsibility to be understanding of new member’s decisions whether they decline bids, run home to other chapters, or even sisters who choose to walk away from a chapter. We want everyone we meet to be respected, seen, and cared about. Everyone should feel like they have friends on campus whether they join a sorority or not! I encourage you to learn about all the chapters on your campus and those even in other councils. You will be excited to go and support their philanthropies, learn about other chapters’ history, and even meet friends in different chapters across your campus. This all will contribute to growing more in Panhel love.
3. Become a Part of Something Greater than your Chapter
The chapter you join may have 12 or 400 members, but that sisterhood is only a fraction of the entire Panhellenic community. There are so many incredible things women are accomplishing in every chapter and you are invited to be a part of it. The excitement you had on Bid Day can be channeled into the community throughout the whole year. Each chapter will host sisterhood, philanthropy, and community service events, and you should support all of them! An entire Panhellenic community can make a way larger impact than just one chapter.
4. Panhel Love is the Best Kind of Love
When I submitted my recruitment counselor application, the start to one of my answers was, “Panhel love is better than the love any boy could ever give you.” Take it or leave it, but it is kind of true. Your collegiate sorority experience is such a unique opportunity in our lives. You will love your chapter but grow to love each and every other sisterhood on your campus as well. Love their members and learn how to support them. During the past two years of my collegiate membership, I have met the most incredible women in my Panhellenic community, including sorority alumnae. Their accomplishments and ambitions have continually inspired me. These positive role models and influences have caused me to grow so much as a friend, student, leader, and sister. Panhel love is so much more than sisterhood, but being a part of a motivating and loving community. To all the new members, take advantage of this as much as you can. Get to know as many members in your Panhellenic community because you never know who you’ll meet!
5. Sorority Women Can Change the World
I started to touch on this when talking about being a part of something larger than your chapter. When Panhellenic women all come together, the sky's the limit. Let’s face it: running a sorority is pretty much running a small business, and I would say most sororities run it very successfully and look fabulous while doing it. Imagine if all the chapters at your school came together to combat an issue on campus. Imagine if every woman in a chapter at your school supported a member trying to open up a business, and she instantly had support from thousands of women. Imagine in a couple of years in a professional environment, bonding and partnering with alumnae from different chapters across the country. The expectations and opportunities we are given being in a sorority prepare us for the rest of our lives, so let us get to know the women that share our values and change the world.
I honestly could not imagine my college experience without being a part of the Panhellenic community at UofSC. I am continually uplifted and challenged to be the best version of myself. I am inspired by every woman in this community and all they have accomplished. My biggest hope for PNMs is that they realize that the community they are joining is so much more than just the letters they wear on a t-shirt, but an entire community of potentially thousands of women who have the potential to change the world.
Pi Chi Hannah
Hannah is one of our incredible interns who will be contributing to Her Sorority Journey programming & development during the 2021 summer! Meet our rockstar team of interns here: https://www.hersororityjourney.com/about