Each of the 13 sorority chapters on campus now host open houses in the fall to ease the recruitment process. This new program comes in response to feedback from students who participated in rush in past years and complained that the process was too hurried and they were not well informed about each chapter.
The intention of the open houses is to give interested women a sense of the Greek system before the formal recruitment begins in January. Each open house lasts for an hour and is an informal gathering in which women can stop by to talk with the sisters and members of the Panhellenic executive board. The open houses began in late September and will continue through early November.
Since the open houses are informal and students are not required to stay for the duration of the hour, there are no specific activities planned. However, some of the chapters chose to begin with a welcoming speech from the president or recruitment chair.
“These share the same informal feel as the entire open house, usually only lasting a minute or two. The officers have chosen to address a range of topics, from why they personally feel joining a sorority is a positive experience, to a little history about their own chapter,” said Lauren Milstein ’03, vice-president of formal membership recruitment.
The concept of open houses was adopted from Syracuse University which has a similar program. The open house program is intended to reduce the confusion that surrounds the Greek system.
“We’re also hoping to attract freshmen women to the open houses who are unsure if they want to rush or not. Hopefully the informal setting will seem less intense and intimidating and they will decide to return in January for formal recruitment,” said Lindsay Williams ’03, president of the Panhellenic Association.
Another purpose of the open houses is to “give each sorority a chance to make their own first impressions before rumors and stereotypes had a chance to take hold,” Milstein said.
However, an introduction to the sorority system is “only a small part of the picture,” she added. “Our real objective is to provide a more personal forum where they will be able to ask questions and determine what the Greek System as a whole has to offer them.”
The goal of the open houses is to generate excitement among students to return in January for rush. At that point, they will get a better chance to learn more about each chapter at Cornell.
Students have appreciated the open houses.
“Each house had a slightly different temperament that is attributed to the girls that live there. It was great to talk with the girls … [it] has given me a better feeling of where I might like to fit in. I was a little uncertain if I was going to rush, but by going to these open houses I realized that not only am I definitely going to rush, I am very excited to do it,” said Diane Wuest ’06.
Open houses are a supplemental part of the introduction of the greek system.
“[They] have not replaced any of the traditional forms of distributing information [that] we have used in the past,” Milstein said.
Archived article by Diana Lo