Dear Panhellenic Community,
On Monday, the University of Kentucky’s Dean of Students and Associate Provost for Student and Academic Life announced their decision, that is fully supported by the Provost’s Office and the University President, to delay Panhellenic’s Fall Primary Recruitment in order to enhance the first year experience of new students. We understand that this change has brought on a variety of different emotions - anger, frustration, and confusion for some and excitement for others. These are all feelings that we have felt too.
For the past year, members of the Panhellenic Council, Chapter Presidents, Chapter Advisors, Recruitment Counselors, and even members of the National Panhellenic Conference took part in conversations with the university where we expressed our concerns for this change. In general, the National Panhellenic Conference supports and encourages campuses to host primary recruitment in the fall prior to the start of classes. During those conversations, we expressed three primary concerns relating to active member and potential new member academic success, involvement at the beginning of the semester, and the impact to the recruitment counselor program.
We are fearful of the impact delaying recruitment will have on the academic success of our active members, as well as potential new members. Women participating will now have to balance time commitments to recruitment as well as their academic requirements. Our active members will have to juggle the same requirements as potential new members, but as upperclassmen with more difficult course loads and expectations. In particular, we have concerns for our women who are in nursing, student teaching, and other majors that require them to complete job shadowing and other internships that occur off campus. The time spent preparing for recruitment activities and hosting primary recruitment will now overlap instead of be before the beginning of the academic term.
We are also concerned with how women’s first year experience could change. one of the most exciting parts of attending the University of Kentucky is the opportunity for involvement in campus events. The beginning of the year provides students with fun activities such as SAB or CSF events, student organization meetings and opportunities, as well as athletic events. The first few weekends will now be consumed with recruitment and they will miss the opportunity to be involved in other campus events. Due to the schedule changes, women will inevitably miss the first football game of the season and the ability to leave campus to travel to away games.
Lastly, delaying recruitment will change the way that recruitment counselors (Gamma Chis) are able to interact with their potential new members. In the past, we have been able to have Gamma Chis live in the residence hall with potential new members to serve as their guide and confidant through the recruitment process. This new schedule will mean that they are no longer able to be as readily available to their women, and may impact their ability to help them learn campus and build connections with one another.
While we have our concerns, it is also important to reflect on the positive outcomes that come from a delayed recruitment. This change will make the primary recruitment process accessible to more women. Data collected by the university indicated that 8% of first year women surveyed, wished they had gone through recruitment had they known more about it. Delaying recruitment allows our council to spend the first few days back on campus promoting and educating more women on recruitment. Our council will hold K-Week events to promote recruitment as well as the Potential New Member Orientation will be open to all female students. This will then allow for us to keep the registration window open longer so more women can choose to register after they move in.
Potential New Members will also have more time to learn about our community prior to recruitment. We are excited for the opportunity to allow our chapters to showcase who they are in K Week events as well as their actions on campus in a less formal setting. This will allow for more women to learn about who we are as a sisterhood, rather than the expectations or stereotypes they may previously hold.
Lastly, we as active women will now have almost two more weeks of summer! This means we will be able to fully participate in summer internships, study abroad programs and volunteer work that we usually have to plan around our obligations to recruitment or even withdraw from. With sorority move in now being closer to university move in, we no longer have struggles with finding housing during spirit week and recruitment. This past year, women had to take off at least 15 consecutive days for recruitment from their work. Delayed recruitment means a shorter spirit week as well as time between each weekend to work so women will end up having to request off less time.
We understand that delaying recruitment creates what seems as many challenges, it also creates great opportunities for the continued growth and development of our campus. Over these next few years, learning this new process is going to be difficult However, we as a united community, are strong and resilient. With over 3,900 women, we are the largest women’s organization on campus and the 2nd largest student organization. This year, we were recognized by the National Panhellenic Conference with the Excellence Award which is our 18th NPC Award making us the most awarded Panhellenic community in North America. For 2017, our overall GPA was a 3.34 while the All-University GPA was only a 3.22. We hosted community building events that in turn raised not only awareness, but also over half a million dollars for philanthropic organizations.
Our success is not defined by the dates of our recruitment, but because of the things we do every other day throughout the year. These values and successes of our community define who we are and those are the things that will not change.
Change is often scary and difficult, but it is our goal and obligation to make this new recruitment the most successful it can be. We look forward to working with our community and the university in order to ensure that this new process will be an incredible and exciting experience for both Potential New Members and actives.
If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to ask your President or Panhellenic Delegate. We are also always here to address any concerns and you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
We thank you for your continued support,
Ellie Cahill, President Mary Ann Miller, Vice President of Recruitment
Gracie Fultz, President Elect Christine Vasquez, Vice President of Recruitment Elect