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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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OPINION | Conformity ruins recruitment

The fear of getting dropped by their dream house convolutes the recruitment process, even encouraging potential members to drop. (Taylor Fishman)

Bid Day at Tulane University is accompanied by a palpable sense of excitement; hundreds of girls sit nervously waiting for an envelope which determines the outcome of their past week of recruitment and the rest of their Panhellenic career. Around noon, these girls run to the sorority house written inside their envelope: a sorority house that they will now, and for the next four years, call “home.” 

A percentage of these girls, however, will not follow through with their designated sorority, and an even larger percentage choose to remove themselves from the recruitment process earlier in the week. Almost every girl who rushes gets offered a bid, but those who choose not to accept engage in a process which is a common phenomenon of sorority recruitment: “dropping.” 

There are various reasons why girls may drop a sorority, whether that be for financial reasons, because it genuinely wasn’t a good fit or a lack of continued interest. Often, however, girls drop due to the intense and sometimes even superficial standards that sorority recruitment expects of them. 

Rushees get only a few minutes each day to curate an impression resulting in a bid from their dream sorority, or leave them with no envelope on bid day. 

The significant pressure to “fit in” is simplified by the rejection that is inevitable through recruitment rounds. The rush process is already detrimental, yet repeated rejection takes an even higher toll on young girls. 

A 2016 study conducted by the College of William & Mary on sorority and fraternity life revealed that “There was also a significant rejection penalty for unsuccessful participants who experienced an increase in negative, dysphoric affect over the course of recruitment … However, most of the results demonstrate that recruitment is a difficult process for all participants, regardless of outcome.” Increased rejections can contribute to a mental strain which pushes many girls to drop, as the pressure and unsatisfactory results keep on increasing. 

The pressure to act a certain way for approval is heightened with the proliferating rejections rushees receive. Tulane sophomore Anisha Mann rushed last semester before dropping shortly after Bid Day. “There is definitely a superficial aspect,” she said. “When I was going to houses I wasn’t really my authentic self. You kind of act in a way that you think they want you to act in order to not get dropped and it really perpetuates this superficial environment.”

The fear of getting dropped by their dream house convolutes the recruitment process, even encouraging potential members to drop. 

Dropping the recruitment process is not inherently bad. The option was created so potential members could go through the process and decide if they want to partake in it. What we should prevent regarding rush, however, is dropping due to the superficial pressures about what a “sorority girl” should look or act like. 

Recruitment is increasingly becoming a process that is stressful, worrisome and anxiety inducing, instead of the mutual selection process it is intended to be. The pressure to conform to a certain stereotype may be the very thing that is deterring girls away from the recruitment process. 

Perhaps reducing stress will also reduce the amount of “drops” we see in a given recruitment year and leave room for genuine personalities to shine through.  

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