Come fall, our social media pages are filled with rush clips from Southeastern Conference schools – ladies going through their #OOTDs, the huge bags they carry around from house to house, and in-depth details of what seems to be a crazy rush process.
It's not that intense at the University of Arizona. Trust me! Hi, my name is Malia Daft, and I'm a Communication Major minoring in Marketing. Here's what I wish I had known before going through recruitment and ending up at my perfect chapter.
The University of Arizona is home to over 50 fraternities and sororities. These organizations fall under one of three councils; Interfraternity Council (IFC - men’s organizations), Panhellenic Council (PHC – women’s organizations), and the United Sorority and Fraternity Council (USFC – men and women’s culture and identity based organizations). You can learn more about the three councils by visiting their homepages or the How to Join page on the Fraternity and Sorority Programs website.
Each council has different processes for joining their organizations. IFC and PHC chapters host structured recruitment processes in the fall that require pre-registration. If you are interested in participating, it is recommended that you register now! You can find the registration links on their websites. USFC chapters have more individualized joining processes. The USFC council does host a USFC week the second week of school that is open to all students and does not require pre-registration.
It is also recommended to follow the four Instagram accounts below. They are always posting information and updates on recruitment and the Greek experience in general.
Coming from out of state, I really wanted to put myself out there and meet people from all over. I had always heard the stereotype of "you meet your best friends in a sorority" – as cliche, as that sounds, it's so true. I met my absolute best friends in Alpha Chi Omega, and I would have never had that opportunity without joining Fraternity & Sorority Programs.
Alpha Chi Omega is a sorority under the Panhellenic Council, so my experience speaks mostly to what you can expect during that recruitment process. If you are interested in an IFC fraternity or a USFC fraternity or sorority, be sure to check out those councils websites or reach out to them directly.
It would be impossible to fully explain the experience of a fraternity or a sorority in an online article, but I will give it a shot. Being in a fraternity or sorority is a great way to add to your college experience, and they are so much more than what you see on TV or in movies.
Joining a fraternity or sorority is about building lifelong relationships that extend beyond ordinary friendships. Bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood are formed within an organization and provide Fraternity and Sorority members with a home away from home, academic motivation/support, mentorship, career networking, opportunities to give back to the community, and a close group of support at a large university. Being a part of a fraternity or sorority exposes students to new ideas and experiences that they may not have encountered otherwise. The benefits of membership are extensive and they fit into peoples lives long after graduation.
Throughout the year all organizations, regardless of council, host social events with members and guests, study nights, community service, raise money for various philanthropic causes, have leadership development opportunities and so much more. Members of fraternities and sororities continuously have higher GPA’s than non-members, higher retention and graduation rates, and cite stronger university connections. They are involved in and leaders in clubs and organizations all over campus!
Many of the chapters at the university have a chapter facility. This is a house that some members live in and all members are able to access. It is a great place to meet other members of the chapter, study, have movie nights, and so much more. If you are interested in learning more about which chapters have facilities, you can visit the housing page of the FSP website.
But it is important to remember that a facility does not make an experience better or worse, it just makes it different. Chapters that don’t have facilities still have eventful and in-depth experiences and memberships.
While fraternities and sororities are popular at big schools like ours, you don't have to force yourself to join one. I have many friends that are not a part of Greek life that I met from the dorms, classes, and clubs. Personally, I love it. It gives me so many opportunities to help within the Tucson community and meet so many people from all over the country. I love our philanthropy events, sisterhood retreats, and even just hanging out at our house.
Another pro is the scholarships to help with tuition or paying fraternity and sorority costs. Many are even only accessible to students involved in fraternity and sorority programs.
Another academic perk: motivation to keep your GPA high. You have to maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA for most houses on campus, but it varies from chapter to chapter.
While we all now know about these houses listed above, there are also academic fraternities and sororities. So if a big chapter seems like something other than the right fit for you, try a smaller academic or major-based chapter.
“Rush Week” is the term many people use to describe the recruitment/joining process for a fraternity or sorority, in general it is often referring to an IFC or PHC joining process, but if you are interested in a cultural or identity based organization under the USFC council, you can find details about their USFC week on their website. Students are able to participate in both the IFC or PHC primary recruitment and USFC week (but are not able to hold membership in organizations in both councils).
All students who participate in the PHC recruitment process are assigned a Recruitment Counselor, or RC. This is a woman who is a current member of a chapter and has taken a step away from her chapter to help students find their place in the Panhellenic community. Your RC will be able to answer all your recruitment and UA questions. RCs are assigned and reach out to you once the registration process is completed.
I was a first-year student in the fall of 2021, so my recruitment was half virtual and half in-person due to Covid restrictions – it was definitely different then than it is going through recruitment now. You can find details about the format and structure of each set of Panhellenic recruitment on their “How to Join” page.
Even so, what I've learned from going through recruitment and then as part of my sorority is that rush week can be draining. You may be tired and even a little confused, but after all the chaos, it is so worth it. Once you meet your RC, they will be able to give you tips and tricks to help you with the recruitment process. You will also have a Potential New Member (PNM) Orientation. This is a session where every single woman participating in the process gets together and learns what to expect, hears stories of current members experiences, and learns about things like women’s empowerment. It is an exciting kick-off to the process!
Rush typically starts right before school starts and ends on Labor Day. The recruitment process begins with PNM Orientation on Sunday, Aug. 20. You will have two days to view informational and educational videos about each sorority in the community and then over the next two weeks there are in-person events where you get the chance to meet dozens of women within the community and learn about that chapter’s values, sisterhood, membership requirements and the experience overall. Keep an open mind: During rush, you're exploring your options. Remember that it's less about if a chapter likes you and more important that you like them.
After each set of recruitment, you will make selections of which chapters you feel the strongest connection with and are interested in learning more about. You will be given a schedule of events for each set. As you move through sets you will go back to fewer chapters but for longer times. (Don’t worry if it sounds confusing, after your PNM Orientation it will make sense! And you can always ask your RC questions.) Throughout the process, you are getting to know the chapter as a whole and you should be asking yourself, “Can I see myself here?”
As for the fraternity rush process, it is similar, and the potential members go to all of the houses to see which one they want to join. As the days go on, you talk to more and more people to get a feel for the chapter. You also start to narrow down on the houses you like, so you're only left with your favorite.
What You Need
As a recruiter, we are just as excited to meet you as you are to meet us. Rush is a long two weeks, but when you get to run home to your chapter house, it is all worth it to be with your sisters and create lifelong friendships.
We all know the stereotypes about the Greek system. And while these stereotypes have been around for a while, they are anything but accurate. All fraternities and sororities participate in events and raise money for a common cause. There are events every semester where the community comes together to do fun activities such as car washes, kickball, or serving food to raise money. My favorite philanthropy event that my sorority puts on is our kickball tournament each fall. Seeing everyone come together and participate in a fun event that donates money to a good cause is so great.
The easiest way to break down the stereotypes about fraternities and sororities is to go through recruitment and meet members! Participating in recruitment does not mean you are required to join a chapter; you can remove yourself from the process at any time.
While you don't need to, I highly suggest it. It has given me so many opportunities to grow and give back. Growing up, I was involved in an organization through sports or clubs, and I knew I wanted to be a part of something at college. It has let me be who I am with people who appreciate it.
There are more than 50 chapters at the University of Arizona, so you’re bound to find one that best fits you. To learn more, visit the Fraternity & Sorority Programs website.