Joining Greek Life: Perspectives from a Senior

Name: Danielle Nemzer

Year: 2012

Hometown: Santa Monica, CA

Major: Public Health Studies

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In my opinion, one of the reasons why spring semester is the best semester here at Johns Hopkins is because sorority and fraternity recruitment happens during the first week back on campus! About 25% of students are involved in Greek life here, and just two weeks ago we invited 192 new women into the Panhellenic sorority community. This year we had some of the highest numbers of women go through recruitment – all four chapters handed out invitations to 45-plus women to join their group. I’ve been involved in Greek life since I was a freshman, when I joined Phi Mu. It has given me the opportunity to take on a bunch of leadership roles; last year I assumed the Assistant Membership Director role for my sorority, and this year I’ve acted as the President of the Panhellenic Council, which is the organization which overlooks all of sorority life on campus. As Panhellenic President, I got insight into the sorority and fraternity recruitment process like I had never seen it before. It was a really fun start to the semester.

Sorority recruitment is different here at Hopkins than at other schools. It happens during beginning of the spring semester, only spans about 4 days, and is really an exciting time for both the current sisters and the potential new members. Everyone who goes through recruitment makes a ton of new friends, even those who decide not to join a group. The best night of recruitment, however, is the final night – Invitation Night – that’s when “bids” to join a specific sorority are given out. The way that Invitation Night works is that we arrange a room with almost two hundreds chairs in the middle of it. Every chair has an envelope which will contain an invitation to join a sorority for the women who have decided to go through recruitment start-to-finish. Women from each sorority come into the room and are cheering and dancing and yelling (and wearing matching t-shirts), and then there is a big countdown for the potential new members to open up their envelopes and see which sorority they have the opportunity to join! It’s very loud, exciting and the energy in the room is absolutely electric. After the women open up their envelopes, they run to their new sisters and there is a lot of hugging and happy tears. Writing this out doesn’t come close explaining how much fun this evening is – I guess you’ll just have to experience it next year!

Fraternity recruitment is less formal, and it is going on right now as I write this blog. Fraternities will host events, like Wings and Pizza Night or Duckpin Bowling to get to know boys who are interested in joining. Fraternities are a lot smaller that sororities here at Hopkins, and most of them invite around 20 students to join each year. The events that fraternities will plan range from “Duck Duck Goose Night” (still unsure what that means) to heading down to DC for a Wizards basketball game.

If you decide to come to Hopkins, I highly recommend checking out Greek life. It’s one of the most vibrant, exciting, and involved communities we have here on campus!

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