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Hey! I have a question. I am not part of a sorority nor will I be part of one (the Greek system doesn't exist in my country), however I am fascinated by it. If a "pledge" doesn't get into any sorority, can she try once more the following year? Does it happen often? I only know what I see in the movies (some portray Greek life terrible, others make sororities more real, according to what I see in tumblr), is there rivalry between sororities within colleges? sort of like in the movies?

Asked by
sara-enprogreso

"Real" sorority life is not much like the movies at all. Sometimes the parties are crazy at college, but there is lots of normal day-to-day living in sorority houses than what you see in the media. It’s much more about sisterhood, crafting, retreats, studying and some socializing too. Most campus leaders are in greek life. They are students who are going places and doing things. Not the crazy types you see in movies.

To answer your questions:

  • If a PNM accepts a bid to a sorority, “pledges” and then drops out, yes she can rush again a year later. If she drops out of recruitment before bid day, then she can rush again sooner. Only after initiation, are the doors closed to other options.
  • It is rare that a PNM goes all the way through rush week and ends up totally empty handed. It does happen, but it’s not the norm.
  • Yes, there is competition between sororities, especially during recruitment, when they’re all trying to attract the best PNMs. Chapters also compete in sports and other events. So yes, there are some rivalries. But usually each chapter is different enough, that they don’t compete head to head in every way. 

xoxo ;)

✰ TIPS for sorority marketing online & in-person! ✰

Q: I’m my chapter’s new marketing chair, so basically I’m in charge of social media and marketing our chapter to the rest of our school community, which is especially important for fall recruitment. It’s a new position in my chapter so I haven’t really had anyone really tell me what to do or how to do my job. Do you have any tips or advice? I also have a small budget to spend on Marketing and I’m not sure what to spend it on!

A: Marketing is becoming more and more popular with sorority chapters. For ease, break it down into two categories ~ electronic and in-person. Below are some examples of things to become involved in to promote your chapter to other greeks, your college community and PNMs. Some things don’t cost anything but time. I would spend the budget on promotional give-aways, tent & tabling equipment, displays, a quality banner, and other visual necessities.  

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 Chapter Marketing ONLINE: ✰

  • A chapter website updated annually. 
  • A page or listing on the Panhellenic Council/Greek Life portal on the University website.
  • Listing and information on the Panhellenic Council website.
  • Listing and information in the Recruitment Handbook.
  • Chapter Facebook page updated regularly.
  • Chapter Tumblr blog with creative photos of your sisterhood.
  • Chapter Instagram with occasional photos.
  • Chapter Twitter with membership & recruitment announcements.
  • Inclusion in any campus-wide websites or social media where you can reach non-greeks too. 
  • Submit photos and content to your National organization to be included on their social media and magazine.
  • Interact with your National facebook page. 
  • Make contact with local media, to get your sorority noticed in the community for your big fundraiser or gala event. 
  • Consider a electronic newsletter for your chapter through a site such as Constant Contact. 
  • Maintain several chapter email date bases for communicating with other chapters, members and PNMs.
  • Update your sorority graphics and social media images. Make an attractive Facebook cover photo, Tumbler icon and  ”go greek” designs. Get creative! Browse the sorority sugar blog and Instagram for ideas.
  • Encourage your members to personally promote the chapter online, be guest bloggers, pin photos on Pinterest, post photos on Facebook and become individual social media ambassadors for the sorority. 

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 Chapter Marketing In-Person: 

  • Host a display table at any/all Freshman Preview events. 
  • Hold open houses when other chapters do.
  • Be a part of Freshman Orientation. 
  • Volunteer to help with Move In Days (in your greek shirts).
  • Host a display table at Meet the Greeks.
  • Host a “give-away” table on campus several times a year where you give away donuts, popcorn, or cookies for positive PR.
  • Partner with the Dorms on spreading chapter information.
  • Advertise in the school newspaper, magazine and other campus publications. 
  • Join the Panhellenic Council in advertising in the Alumnae Magazine. 
  • Organize highly visible fundraisers that create buzz and get noticed. Include all students in raffles and contests. 
  • Volunteer for campus-wide events, serving as ushers or helpers in your greek apparel.
  • Hand out promotional materials like sorority pens, stickers, decals, buttons, magnets, plastic sunglasses, foam fingers, etc…
  • Wear sorority buttons for tailgating and game days.
  • Purchase a sorority tent with your chapter name printed on it for tabling events. 
  • Freshen your large lawn letters with new paint. Display them at every opportunity.
  • Update your chapter apparel and make sure everyone is maintaining sorority standards while in their greek letters. 
  • Attend sporting events and competitions in your chapter apparel. 
  • Wear your letters on campus every Wednesday.
  • Extend an open invitation to alumnae to participate in chapter activities and help spread the word about everything your sorority does. Enlist them to spread positive word of mouth. 
  • Make announcements on the campus radio or TV station. 
  • Partner with other greek chapters on fundraisers to elevate your profile. 
  • Hand out flyers and/or treats where female students congregate on your campus, or around campus. Don’t forget the favorite off-campus hang-out spots.
  • Hang banners and signs where your target audience will see them. 
  • Host bake sales, holiday sales and other small events throughout the year to keep your name visible. 
  • Get local sponsors for your next philanthropy fundraiser and include their logos on your event tee shirts and banners. Share the shirts with your community partners. 
  • Always have sorority promotional favors ready to hand out at every luncheon, event, or project. Give them to your charity partners as well. 
  • Have a presence at greek sporting events and fly your sorority flag proudly. 
  • Accept social invitations from other greeks and ATTEND, Keeping your social obligations and being involved in the greek community is very important for your chapter reputation. Isolation is not viewed favorably by other chapters. 
  • Support fraternity events and cheer them on.
  • Compete in greek week, greek sing, lip-sync, marathons, etc…
  • Establish a roster of member’s High Schools. Use the HS list to network with incoming freshman who might be qualified PNMs. Use your sister’s connections to their best advantage. Same goes for alumnae. 
  • Work with your members who are Campus Reps to hold trunk shows at your sorority house. Welcome all shoppers warmly. Invite non-greeks too. 
  • Partner with your local Lilly Pulitzer store (or other favorite dress shop) for a girl’s shopping event. Invite non-greeks and/or other sororities.
  • Capitalize on your philanthropy connections and the national marketing they can offer. Make sure your volunteering is publicized as well as your fundraising. Tap into any PR resources your charities have. 
  • Utilize your national headquarters’ publicity connections as well. Get your Advisor involved with your new marketing efforts.
  • Partner with your Panhellenic Council on some marketing efforts to save money. If all the chapters participate, everyone spends less.
  • Encourage individual members to represent the sorority when they are serving as campus tour guides, working in the book store, attending club meetings, singing in the choir, playing sports, cheerleading, serving in student government, competing in pageants and everything else they do outside the chapter. Each activity is a chance for positive chapter promotion. 

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Links to MORE helpful sorority PR/Marketing posts:

•  Top 20 ways to Promote Going Greek!

•  Top 10 Sorority Public Relations Tips!

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❉ 101 sorority recruitment conversation starters! ❉

Suddenly you are face to face with a girl you’ve never met before. Now what? Start your recruitment conversations with some of these creative questions and avoid the dreaded "What’s your major?" cliché!

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❉ 101 creative conversation questions for sorority sisters to ask PNMs: ❉

  1. Finish this sentence: “Someday, I’m going to be the first person in the world to…”
  2. What do you like to do to relax?
  3. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
  4. What is the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
  5. What is your favorite day of the week?
  6. Do you know what your your name means? What would you like it to mean?
  7. What was your favorite children’s book?
  8. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  9. What was your least favorite subject in high school?
  10. If you had $10 million dollars, would you still be going to college?
  11. What is the first thing you notice about another girl?
  12. Who was the last person you texted?
  13. What was the last photo you posted on Instagram/Facebook?
  14. What was your worst vacation experience?
  15. What is your favorite pizza topping?
  16. What is your favorite meal of the day?
  17. What was the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
  18. What type of music do you like to listen to?
  19. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
  20. Who do you look up to?
  21. What is your proudest moment?
  22. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?
  23. Are you a coffee or tea person?
  24. Are you a cat or dog person?
  25. What would you do if you only had 24 hours left to live?
  26. What is the best thing that happened to you during the past week?
  27. What is your favorite board game?
  28. What is your favorite charity?
  29. What are some of your short-term goals?
  30. What are some of your long-term goals?
  31. What is your favorite restaurant?
  32. Are there any foods that you will absolutely not eat?
  33. What’s your favorite social media?
  34. What blogs or websites do you like?
  35. What’s your favorite city?
  36. If you could have only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  37. What’s your favorite kind of candy?
  38. If you could only own 5 things, what would they be?
  39. Would you rather be rich or famous?
  40. Do you believe in Santa?
  41. Could you live without the internet?
  42. What’s your ultimate vacation?
  43. If you could be famous for a week, what would you want to be known for?
  44. If someone changed you into an animal, what would you be?
  45. What would you do if you could wear an invisibility cloak?
  46. What’s the weirdest thing about the town where you grew up?
  47. If you could teleport right now, where would you go?
  48. What’s the most unlikely thing you did this week?
  49. When and where were you the happiest in life?
  50. What’s your perfect day?
  51. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
  52. Would you rather ___ or ___? For example: Would you rather give up your cell phone for a month or give up your boyfriend for a month?
  53. If you found $100, what would you do with it?
  54. Is there a time when you were bold?
  55. What is the most caring thing you have done?
  56. What’s your favorite family tradition?
  57. What are you most grateful for?
  58. What is your ideal best friend like?
  59. What is your worst habit?
  60. What is the most thoughtful thing someone else has done for you?
  61. What makes you laugh?
  62. Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
  63. If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
  64. How do you want to impact our campus in the next year?
  65. If you went back in time 200 years and you could only take 3 things with you, what would you bring?
  66. If you could be one age for the rest of your life, what age would you be?
  67. What would the title of your autobiography be?
  68. If you started your own charity, who or what would it help?
  69. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
  70. What is the greatest song ever written?
  71. What is the one thing you couldn’t live without?
  72. How would you describe yourself to someone who has never met you? Like me!
  73. Do you have a favorite piece of clothing? 
  74. What one word would you use to describe yourself?
  75. What school subject do you think helps you the most in every day life?
  76. What’s something you love to do and haven’t done in awhile because you were too busy?
  77. Can you describe a day you’d like to live over and over again?
  78. Do you have a favorite book or movie love story?
  79. Who is the person you trust the most?
  80. If you could have a character from a book as your best friend, who would it be?
  81. What 3 words would you use to describe your family?
  82. Do you like to study in silence, or with background noise/music?
  83. What is your greatest talent or ability?
  84. Where do you think you will live after graduation?
  85. What do you daydream about?
  86. What qualities does your mom have, that you also have?
  87. If you wrote a newspaper article about your life, what would the headline be?
  88. If you were a fruit, what would you be?
  89. What is the most surprising thing that happened to you in the past year?
  90. What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?
  91. Do you think your name suits you?
  92. Who is your favorite fairytale character?
  93. What was the last thought you had before doing to sleep last night?
  94. If snow could fall in any flavor you choose, what flavor would it be?
  95. If you were queen of the world, what would you do?
  96. What is your favorite Halloween costume?
  97. If you traveled into space, what would you miss most on Earth?
  98. What do you do to recharge after a long day?
  99. Has a wish you made ever come true? 
  100. If you could have any zoo animal as a pet, what would you pick?
  101. What is your favorite type of weather?

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 Links to MORE questions for sorority members to ask PNMs: 

• 33 Questions to ASK PNMs

• 25 Interesting Questions to Ask PNMs During Rush

• Big/Little Speed Dating Questions {good for PNMs & sisterhood socials too!}

sorority Q&A: enhancing a small chapter recruitment…

Q: Rush is coming and that’s very exciting! However my chapter is very small. Like ten people small. We are under the panhellenic council but we’re not allowed to do formal recruitment since we are not with panhellenic nationally. Therefore, we have rush after panhellenic. And we’re lucky enough to get five girls to show up at our recruitment. What can we do as a group and as individuals to reel in a good number of quality women and have a successful informal recruitment week? 

A: My number one advice for small chapters, is to “copy” what the larger chapters are doing and try to be as competitive as possible. if you can ~ decorate for rush, paint lawn letters, host tables on campus and do as many regular greek things as you can afford. By seeming like a “legit” chapter, you will attract more high quality PNMs. You must at least play in the NPC league in order to be taken seriously. 

You should also offer PNMs a viable alternative to the mainstream sororities. Emphasize your strongest selling points ~ like being more down to earth, less expensive, friendlier and less competitive. You must have something different to sell than the national chapters do. There are different strokes for different folks. Find your niche and publicize it. Observe what the other sororities are doing and offer the opposite. You need something to “promote” and a hook to get more PNMs interested. You are the alternative sorority, so spotlighting your different take on greek life is probably the way to go! 

Gather your sisters together and ask yourselves these questions:

  • What are our 5 finest points?
  • What do we have to offer that other chapters don’t?
  • Why would a PNM join our sorority?
  • Why did I join?
  • What are our 5 weakest points?
  • How can we improve on our weakest points?
  • What does PNM feedback tell us we need to offer?
  • What can we change to make things better?
  • How can we network more effectively with PNMs on campus?
  • Who IS our ideal sister? Describe her.
  • Where can we find our type of PNMs?
  • What are our goals for recruitment?
  • What has worked in the past and what hasn’t?
  • Are we doing all we can to maximize our publicity, outreach and recruitment?
  • What do we need to be more successful and grow? How do we get there? 

Analyze the answers, create a new publicity plan, target your ideal PNMs and get working on the best recruitment you can pull together. Make changes, improve what needs improving and go forward with a positive attitude. Small steps lead to great things…

Here are some helpful posts that you can read for more ideas:

♥ A+ Recruiting: Do’s & Dont’s for Chapters!

♥ How to Get Rid of Your Negative Chapter Reputation! {even though you don’t have a bad rep, you can use some of these tips for improving things in general}

♥ Top 7 Ways to Recruit on a Tight Budget!

Top 20 Ways to Promote Going Greek! {your small chapter can use some of these panhellenic ideas}

♥ Top 10 Sorority Public Relations Tips!

GOOD LUCK!

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sorority Q&A SUPER BLAST!

The sorority sugar ASK is swamped these days with so many questions about recruitment and other greek topics! Thank you for all the communication. I can’t answer ALL questions on my blog, but I do read every message and I appreciate the interest in sorority life. Every so often I compile the questions together for a quick blast of Q&As! Here’s the latest………. xoxo ;)

♦ ♦ GREEK Q&A SPEED ROUND: ♦ ♦ 

Q: Why is it that panhellenic sororities are allowed to let the girls who are “pledging” or new members wear the letters before being initiated?

A: NPC chapters have different rules about this practice. Some allow wearing greek letters as early as bid day. Other sororities allow for letters during the new member period, but not their crest. Others prefer to wait until after initiation for wearing greek letters. Most chapters used to wait until after education and initiation, but in recent times it’s considered hazing to make pledges wait. Now many chapters do not restrict a new member from doing anything an active can do. They emphasize being all inclusive from day one. It’s an honor to wear greek letters and hopefully all brand new members will respect their letters.

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Q: I was just wondering what the difference was between service and social sororities?

A: There are many similarities. But service sororities are much more focused on community service and volunteering as their main mission. They also usually emphasize a multicultural viewpoint. The NPC social sororities do a tremendous amount of philanthropy work as well and raise millions of dollars nationwide for excellent causes. But they also love social events, partnering with sororities and fraternities on campus and sharing lots of good times with other greeks. They typically have large sorority houses, many terrific events and they are actively involved in the mainstream greek community on campus.

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Q: How does a new sorority at a school work? Like who becomes your big? Who chooses you for the sorority? Are fees higher than other sororities?

A: Alumnae, advisors and sisters from a nearby campus do the recruiting for a new colony. The procedure is based heavily on education about the organization and interview sessions with the PNMs. It’s different from all the glitz and glam of an established formal recruitment. After bid day, the sisters are paired together like twins, since there aren’t any big/littles yet. Every new member (no matter the chapter) has higher dues and fees in the first semester. Then after initiation is settles into a steady “active” sister level. I don’t believe a new chapter costs more. In fact it may cost less since they don’t have a sorority house yet or a meal plan. A colony is probably a bargain!

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Q: What are some new sorority trends you have been seeing? A friend of mine wants to know.

A:  Since I have not seen the fall 2014 bid days yet, I’m not sure what the theme trends will be super hot this year. In the last year I would say Flower Power and/or Tribal with the flower headbands has been one of THE most popular choices! The desire for flowers and tribal patterns seem to be continuing. Patriotic has been hot for awhile and Under the Sea and/or Nautical is always adorable. Disney themes with Minnie Mouse and Little Mermaid designs are also a favorite. I can’t wait to see all the SUGAR on board for August and September!! 

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Q: Were you a zeta by any chance? I’m currently one, that’s why I’m asking!

A: I can’t really say, but I do have a very close family member who is a ZTA and I love the organization. ZTA symbols are some of the cutest ever!

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Q: Even though I am only fifteen and really want to be in a sorority. Are there any things I can start doing now to help with that?

A: YES ~ there are things you can do in HS to set yourself up for sorority recruitment. Please visit my FAQ Page and look for the links to my posts on tips for high school students preparing for rush! They are the 4th Q&A on the page! 

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Q: I’m going through recruitment this fall at the University of Alabama and I’m I dire need of recs. I’ve asked all of my local friends and family and it just seems that we have a lack of alum in my area! What should I do?

A: I understand that UA has a “helping” system for securing letters through their sorority houses. If there is still time, please look into this ASAP. For tips on finding alums in your region, please visit my Rec Letter Connection Page right away as well. I know it’s tough and I feel for you. It’s a pain, but try your best for a competitive rush like Alabama. 

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Q: Im rushing at Alabama this fall & for some of the house recommendations I got letters by emailing the house itself & asking for help. For the houses I did this for, I’m not sure if I should still send a hand written thank you to them for their help. I also wasn’t sure who to send it too, the house itself, or the person who wrote it (even though I am not sure who wrote it).

A: It’s ALWAYS a good idea to send a thank you note for a favor. You can NEVER go wrong with being grateful and polite. So always error on the side of niceness every time. If you do not know the person who recommended you, then a note addressed to the house, or main contact, will suffice. Whoever you communicated with can also receive the note of thanks. You can easily address this in your note by saying thank you to the whoever the sweet person was who wrote a reference for you. There is a way to show your appreciation without a specific name. 

rush talk: PNM’s social media…

Q: What is your perspective on social media for PNMs, in terms of privacy? I know that there have been lots of comments that sororities look you up on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram but all of my accounts are private and always have been. Would making them public help your chances for recruitment? Thank you so much, your blog is absolutely amazing. <3

A: That is a very good question. I can see both sides of the issue!

Positive side: If sororities can look you up in advance of recruitment, they will become more familiar with you, see your activities and form opinions about you before they even meet you. In addition to your application and headshot, they can take a peek inside your real life via your social media. As a PNM, this will put you one step ahead in terms of name recognition and being “known” by some of the sisters. They can see what type of high school you attended, what your friends look like, what you do for fun, what sports you play, your family at Christmas and more. Since everyone shares their lives on Facebook and Instagram, the chapters are just looking at what’s already there. Nothing is very private any more, so why not let your social media be your recruitment “calling card?” As long as you are confident in all of your images, it might help advance your popularity during rush. 

Negative side: On the flip side, your personal life in photos may not totally represent who are as a person. Maybe you want to mature when you go away to college, and your old high school friends don’t really represent who you are and who you hope to be in college. If your fashions, hometown, or activities are judged inadequate by the sororities, you could end up entering into rush with a bias against you. Reviewing social media is great when it’s a positive image. But what happens when your photos are not so fabulous ~ for whatever reason? As a PNM, you would not want any images online to be detrimental to your reputation for misrepresent your true self. I would hate for negative judgements to be made before sisters meet you face to face. 

Food for thought: As long as your social media is an accurate portrait of YOU and reenforces everything good about your life, I see nothing wrong with others having access to some of your sites. In today’s world, you may be viewed as odd for either having no social media accounts, or keeping them totally off limits. A glimpse into your world is probably beneficial for you as a rushee and for most PNMs. 

If all of your accounts are private, you might consider making just ONE public. I would pick Facebook or Instagram. That way sorority members can do their thing and you have not made everything you post public. I believe that’s a good compromise! If your one public site needs “editing” before going public, then edit away. I think it’s useful to be seen somewhere online, and you can control the content. 

I am a firm believer in privacy, but sometimes you need to get with the program ~ under your own terms. Colleges and employers also check social media now, so having a decent online presence is part of the real world. Think of it as your own personal PR campaign! Another reason to not post every drunken picture, or writing nasty comments that can come back to haunt you. If something would be damaging to your reputation, remove it and never post that type of thing again.

Through balance and moderation, you can have a social media personality and keep some parts of your life private. In this case I think you can have your cake and eat it too! xoxo ;)

rush talk: worrying about future recruitment…

Q: My boyfriend is a year older and is already in a fraternity where I will be going next year. Because he agreed to go to prom, I agreed to attend his fraternity formal, quite nervously. We kept to ourselves, didn’t go out drinking or on the party bus, and I didn’t talk much, not wanting the girls to think I was jumping the gun and walking into their territory as a high schooler. The one girl I spoke to there was very nice and extremely excited for me to be attending the next semester, and assured me I had nothing to worry about. Is this going to mess up rush for me this fall at all or am I merely paranoid?

A: I don’t know how words of encouragment would mess you up for recruitment??? If a sorority member met you and said she thought you would be successful joining a sorority one day, isn’t that positive reinforcement? It sounds like this girl thought you were nice, friendly and the type to go greek one day. She saw you fitting in with the other students who join sororities and fraternities.

I don’t believe she was “promising” you a bid or anything close to that. Maybe that’s why you are having paranoid thoughts? But encouragment to participate in rush and a prediction of receiving a bid, is not inappropriate. It was very sweet of the sister you met to give you validation. You can proceed with more self-confidence, knowing that you will most likely find a sorority home. Take the sister’s words as general inspiration, not as certainty for a bid from her specific chapter. Go forward with PNM self-assurance! xoxo ;)

I am an incoming sophomore at my school and I want to rush. What do I do if I see girls I know during recruitment? Like if they are recruiting for their house. Can I talk to them as if I know them, or will they avoid me...? I don't know.

Asked by
hannahlyzethis

When you are visiting the sorority houses during recruitment it is perfectly Ok to talk to sorority sisters you know! And they should say hello and chat with you. If you see them outside of formal rounds, at a coffee shop for example, they should not engage in conversation. There is a zone of privacy during rush week between PNMs and sisters, so PNMs do not feel overly pressured to join one chapter. It avoids any hint of dirty rushing. So if you walk by a sorority friend on campus right before, or during recruitment, she probably won’t wave and say hi. This is not personal, just policy.

But while you are engaged in official recruitment conversations you WANT to work your connections. That’s when the evaluations are taking place and you should emphasize your relationships. Rush conversations are controlled by the sisters though, so members will come up to you to say hello, not the other way around. You may even be paired with one of your acquaintances when you first enter the house. Then they’ll have other sisters chat with you, so more members can get to know you. The sister rotations will maximize your exposure to the largest number of sisters. 

Your sorority friends should be eager to touch base with you, but they will be super busy speaking with other PNMs as well. So don’t stress about how much time you talk with friends. Just go with the flow and let the members take the lead at each sorority. When rush is going strong, both sides can enthusiastically talk to each other full speed ahead! xoxo ;)

rush talk: postponing recruitment…

Q: I had a question about age and joining a sorority. I’ve done two years a junior college and I was all set to transfer before I decided I wanted to do World Races (missionary work in third world countries). So I’ve decided to come back to my junior college for one more year then transfer to a four year when I’m 22. Will I be too old to join a sorority by the time I transfer at 21/22? I’ll still have two years left, just like any upperclassmen but I worry that either the sororities won’t want me, or I’ll be looked at weird. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be in a sorority but I didn’t want to give up the chance to travel and be a christian missionary. Will it be too late?

A: First of all, some things are more important than greek life and one of those is missionary work! If you feel called to service, then you need to follow your heart on a greater journey. When you return and transfer, you won’t be that old. Many upperclassmen of older ages rush and find sorority homes. It’s not like you will be 35. Your “fit” with a chapter depends mostly on YOU and how you adapt to the younger pledge class. Your experiences and travels will give you lots of interesting things to talk about during rush. Your stories will benefit you when the time comes. Another factor is making a match with a sorority which offers bids to older PNMs. Not all of them do, but usually there are several to choose from. Flexibility on your part in vital for rush success. 

Fingers crossed that everything works out and you can study, do missionary work, transfer schools and join a sorority! But let me say that sometimes you have to make a choice. You evaluate your needs and wants and choose the path you feel is best. When taking a journey in one direction, other opportunities fall to the side. Frequently a person can’t do it all. For example, if you want to attend an urban university, you can’t also experience a rural campus. A choice has to be made and the alternative doesn’t happen. This is not a bad thing, it’s just life. So IF things do not all come together for pledging a sorority one day ~ please be at peace with your choice to help others during your missionary trip. Doing good is never a wrong decision, even if there are some sacrifices. xoxo ;)

"It is our choices … that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." ~ J.K. Rowling

"Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen." ~ Ralph Marston

sorority Q&A: moving on from the past…

Q: Last year, I pledged a sorority that is considered “top-tier” at my school. There were a few girls I made friends with, but I never fit in with many of them. I ended up being de-pledged a week before initiation because of some petty issues that came up between me and some girls.

I went through recruitment again this past fall and I joined a sorority on campus that isn’t “top tier” with girls that I get along with a lot better. However, I’m having a lot of issues letting go of the past and accepting that my ex-sorority is no longer part of my life. I always think of what could have been and it hurts because my perception of Greek Life was sculpted by my old sorority, unlike the girls in my pledge class. It hurts to be reminded of what happened and I want to let go, but Greek Life is really small at my university and I’m constantly reminded. How can I let go of something that was so much a part of my life, and move on? Especially when I was so close to getting initiated?

A: Your situation is very similar to seriously dating someone you work with, breaking up and then having to be in close contact with your Ex every day on the job. The past is right in your face, complete with lots of painful reminders, awkward moments and feelings of regret. Difficult I know. But an unavoidable fact of life is that not all relationships work out. Your partnership with sorority #1 is basically a failed romance. Both sides were at fault by not working out the petty problems. But there’s nothing that can be done about it now… The past is past.

If you continue to agonize over your former chapter, you cannot fully embrace your current sorority. It’s not fair to you, or your new sisterhood, to be longing for your first “love.” The one that got away may always be a pain in your heart, but you need to let go. When you have absolutely no possible way to rewrite the past ~ the only thing to do is fully accept what happened.

4 things you can try to speed up your “letting go:”

  • Daily Affirmations: Every morning, look in the mirror and say "I am happy to let go of my past with XYZ sorority. They were not a match for me." And every night, look in the mirror and say, "I deserve to be happy with ABC sorority. They are my true sisters." You are releasing the past, and affirming your present reality. 
  • Practice Thought Control: When your mind drifts to your former chapter, purposefully switch your brain to something else. Gently ease our thoughts over to a favorite object, a special person in your life, or even a picture of the beach. By replacing negative thoughts with happy, positive ones, you will eventually develop new thinking patterns.
  • Try a Releasing Ritual: Write about everything that happened in your original chapter on a piece of paper. Let it all out! Tear what you wrote into pieces. Then carefully burn the pieces in a safe container. As the paper pieces burn, repeat to yourself, "Be gone pain and regrets from the past." 
  • Break Unhealthy Patterns: You may walk past your old sorority house every day on the way to class, maybe you study in the library when sisters from your old chapter are there, or you eat in the same dining hall on campus. Change your patterns to avoid direct contact and give yourself a fresh start. Yes, you’re still at the same school, but you can carve out new habits so you don’t place yourself in close proximity with painful memories. For example. take a new route, study in your room and eat at a different dining hall. It’s ok to adjust your life while you are healing. 

Forgive yourself. Everyone experiences conflict and it doesn’t always end well. Turn your attention to your new chapter and give them your ALL. If you busy yourself with being an officer, leading the annual fundraiser, getting involved with recruitment, and taking a new little ~ you won’t have time to mope about what happened long ago. It’s water under the bridge.

Don’t waste another moment stewing, when you could be giving your heart and soul to the sisters who appreciate you - want you - and are there for you! They are so much better than the first group. Remember “Tiers” are determined by character ~ not blonde hair, designer dresses, or big bank accounts. Appreciate what you have now! xoxo ;)

I registered for Panhellenic Recruitment but am nervous about how it's going to go. Can you kind of walk me through it and what goes on? Thanks!:$)

Asked by
emmaluvv

I’m so happy you are going greek! Click here for my informative post that walks through the rush process: The ABCs of Formal Sorority Recruitment! It outlines step by step the things that happen during a typical sorority rush week. 

Which leads me to also mention my NEWLY UPDATED & EXPANDED FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS PAGE!! I have been working the last few days to improve my FAQ page and add many more links. There are Q&As by category for all of the top greek life questions asked on sorority sugar. I will be adding a few more to the list, but it’s pretty complete right now.

The sorority sugar HOMEPAGE navigation bar also has information very helpful to PNMs. Please check it out too for a Glossary of Sorority Terms and a Sorority Etiquette Guide, etc… And keep following my blog for daily ideas and more PNM information all the time…. xoxo :)

sorority Q&A: simple sisterhood strengthening…

Q: I love your advice so much and I was wondering what are some ways to rebuild sisterhood in a sorority that has faltered at it? My sorority has been struggling for a long time with our sisterhood and friendship and we’re trying to come up with effective ways to strengthen our bond as sisters. Thanks! xoxo!

A: Keeping bonds strong is the KEY to chapter longevity and happiness! Sisterhood socials, parties, day-trips, retreats, activites, inspirational speakers, exercise classes and more are all ways to unify your sisterhood. Doing fun things together is the simplest way to generate good will and keep the members close. These are some additional “simple” ways to promote unity within your membership

❉ 8 Tips for Simple Sisterhood Strengthening: ❉

  • Celebrate every special day! Recognize each member’s birthday, national founder’s day, chapter’s founder’s day and every special event on your sorority calendar. Bonds are strengthened through remembering and honoring meaningful events in your chapter. Using social media for recognition is totally free. Celebrations can be simple, but thoughtful.
  • Spell love T-I-M-E! Nothing’s better than spending time together to make a chapter healthy and strong. Everyone has a busy schedule, but a sorority must make time for sisterhood, or it will falter. Make group TIME a priority on your chapter calendar. A movie night, slumber party, bagel breakfast, picnic in the park, hike, bike ride, or apple picking day ~ are examples of very inexpensive and easy ways to just BE together. 
  • Growth is good! If your sorority is solely stuck in the past, it will start to fail. Change is healthy and strengthening. Establish new traditions, plan a new fundraiser, partner with new greeks on campus, etc. Build on your history and enliven your sisterhood with fresh, appealing projects that will bring members together.  
  • Define your roles! Healthy sororities have clearly defined roles for their officers, chairs, active sisters and new members. Unity grows from everyone knowing what’s expected of them. Chaos leads to disintegration. Organization leads to chapter success. Set reasonable expectations and tighten your chapter’s procedures and you will see positive results. 
  • Become a winning chapter! One of the most valuable sources of sorority unity is a sense of accomplishing something together. Set a chapter goal of winning greek sing, greek week, greek awards, powderpuff football, derby days, watermelon bust, etc. Even if things are not perfect in every area of your sorority, you can have one area where you strive in unison to be the winners. It doesn’t cost extra to strive together for a common goal.
  • Celebrate the uniqueness of each sister! Capitalize on the special talents of each individual in your chapter. Recognize the talents of your members to strengthen the chapter as a whole. Artists, musicians, techs, speakers, decorators and accountants are in your membership just waiting for their talents to be developed for the good of your sorority. Let your members shine and contribute their gifts to chapter success. 
  • Recruit together! Formal recruitment is very bonding. Rally your sisters to work in unison to attract the best PNMs possible. Love flows during recruitment, it’s a morale booster and the #1 way to increase stability in your chapter. Practice, educate and implement superior recruitment techniques and your sorority will steadily grow more healthy.
  • Let your members have a life! Sometimes sororities can become so overbearing that member’s feel they don’t have any breathing room. If there are too many rules, mandatory events, meetings, responsibilities, boring functions and obligations ~ sisters will tune out and not want to attend anything. Pace your events, keep a balance and let your sisters live a little. They will be more likely to bond if they feel good about the organization, not oppressed.

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sorority Q&A: competition for a little…

Q: My chapter was recently installed and chartered on my campus. Yay! There are 135 of us! However, next semester we begin the process of taking on new pledge classes and I’m so nervous! How can I compete with 135 other girls for a little?! I very much want another girl that I could have a close bond with. I’m a senior, is there a possibility I’ll never get a little?!? Does that happen?

A: Congratulations on the success of your new chapter! How exciting. Finding the perfect little is part determination and part serendipity. Like looking for true love, if you force it and try to hard, it can prove elusive. These things happen somewhat naturally. The first thing to do is to be very involved with recruitment, so you can connect with as many PNMs as possible. That’s where you may meet your rush crush. After bid day, engage with the new member class to make more friendships. Be a part of the new member ‘action’, and you increase your odds for making a match. Put yourself in the big/little arena at every opportunity.

Now for the bad news….. Depending on your chapter’s policies, as a senior, and with so many potential Bigs, you may not get one! Since your sisterhood is so new, your sorority may decide that for the sake of long term family strength, they will match the new littles with mostly sophomores and juniors if needed. It also depends on the number of new members, how many available bigs there are, etc. But there is a good chance that the bigs are selected from the sophomores. On the other hand, your chapter may decide to sprinkle the matches around more randomly since your newly installed sisterhood has a range of grade levels. 

I just want you to be prepared for the possibility of not receiving a little as a senior. Not getting a little does happen in sororities for a variety of reasons (like ineligibility, or not enough littles.) If that occurs, then dedicate yourself to ALL other events and projects during your senior year. You want to get everything out of your sisterhood during the short time you’re active. Even without a little, you can still participate in many meaningful activities. Maybe you can be an unofficial “aunt” to a sweet new girl. And you can always socialize with sisters without being in the same family together. Think positively and turn your lemons into lemonade if needed. Hopefully that won’t be the case! xoxo ;)

Hey there! I'm the VP of recruitment for panhel. My school is relatively small, and greek life is not really all that important, but for whatever reason, we have an especially vivacious life on several different gossip websites. Some pnm's found out, and we've been having a problem with them asking questions and getting nasty and vicious responses from some current members. We want them to have the best experience possible in the fall, so what can I do about this, both with PNMs and sisters?

Asked by
alpha-xixo

This is basically a Public Relations problem. The first thing that needs to be done is to educate the sorority members on how to respond and how not to respond. You can’t blame the uniformed PNMs for asking questions, even if they should be smart enough to not believe everything they see and read on a gossip website. The ones who need to keep control are the greeks. Being super defensive, attacking back, or getting in fights is not a classy image for your panhellenic. 

There should be an outline of TIPS on how everyone should handle this challenge. For example, first state calmly that the gossip website is just that - full of falsehoods. Then make a concise statement about the truth of the situation and conclude with an appeal to participate in recruitment, so the PNM can see for herself. By not “taking the bait” the sorority members avoid being drug into the mud. Everyone needs to rise above it, stick to the script and deflect any more controversy. By staying unemotional, the drama stops dead in its tracks. Each person asked about this should set the record straight in a few sentences and them move on to positive points. Never engage in an ugly conversations with PNMs.

Before recruitment, you need to gain control of this and stamp out the fireworks. Email a ‘response template’ to all the chapters and get everyone on the same page. This is crisis management and you need your “talking points” distributed ASAP. That is step one.

Step two is to deal with the PNMs and that might be through a posting to clarify things on your Panhellenic website or Facebook page, a short speech at Rush Orientation, or a posting via each sorority site. Whatever you think is the best venue for a blanket statement to set the record straight once and for all. You would say something like, "It has come to our attention that there are some vicious and false rumors about our greek community on certain gossip websites. We are here to put your minds as ease and to tell you that ___ is categorically false. We in no way condone ____ and have never participated in ____. We invite you to make up your own minds about each of our wonderful sorority chapters and experience the strong sisterhoods bonds that we have on campus." Or words to that effect.

Address the rumors - clarify the facts - invite more exploration of the benefits of sorority membership. If everyone can take a reasoned approach, your panhellenic should overcome this with patience and constancy. xoxo ;)

❉ avoid sorority burn-out: learn new ways to say “no”… ❉

Q: I’ve been an honor student w/ a 3.5 GPA for the past 2 years. This year, after getting my bid, things started going downhill. Because we were a colony, we needed more leaders and I ended up being pushed into leadership roles. Since I also live on campus, I was guilted into going to more events to help improve our image. I’ve also had A LOT of health problems this year that impacted my grades. How can I learn to say no to my sisters? I love my sorority, but it’s draining me. :(

A: if you are reliable, effective and a natural leader, sometimes a sorority (and other clubs too) will take advantage of their “best” members! They don’t mean to be pushy, but chapters will naturally rely on hard working sisters to come through for the good of the group. You can’t help that you’re a valuable asset to your organization! But the load must be shouldered across many members, so a few girls like you don’t get totally burned out. A broader range of sisters need to step up as well.

I suggest you approach your chapter leadership and/or advisor and explain the situation. Just be up front and honest like you did in your message to me. They will not want to loose members over pushing them too hard. A new chapter needs to know about how their participation requirements are way off kilter. Only by speaking up can you help steer your sorority in a better direction. Communication is key. 

Once you come forward with your issues, then you can work on learning how to say “NO” a little better. As an accomplished person, you will continue to have people asking you to go above and beyond what you are able to do at times. This happens at work, in sororities, volunteer groups and everywhere you are involved.

You must learn to pace yourself so you don’t get sick, stressed and overextended! It’s difficult to do sometimes, but saying “NO” occasionally is healthy and reasonable. It gets easier with practice. It’s difficult to flat out say “NO” in a curt voice ~ so soften your approach with the phrases below. Stick to your guns, and say "no thank you" it in a pleasant, polite way.

❉ 42 Ways to Graciously Say NO: ❉ 

  1. Sadly I have something else that day.
  2. Darn, I won’t be able to help with that project. 
  3. I can’t do it this time, but maybe in the future. Keep me in mind for tabling next time. 
  4. Gosh, I have another commitment.
  5. Unfortunately, it’s not a good time for me to help with retreat planning this year. 
  6. Apologies, but I just can’t make it.
  7. So sorry, I have something else that same week. 
  8. Sounds really great, but I can’t commit. I’m overloaded with my classwork. 
  9. Wish I could make it work, but busy, busy, busy!
  10. I’ve got waaaaay too much on my plate right now.
  11. I’ve gotta say no just this one time. 
  12. I’m not taking on anything else right now.
  13. I’d love to ~ but I just can’t fit it in. 
  14. Rats, I would have loved to do that, but I’m slammed!
  15. Thank you for asking me to chair that committee, but it’s just not a match for me. 
  16. It sounds terrific, but just not for me. You understand. 
  17. I have to say no this time, but maybe next semester when things lighten up.
  18. I’m at the end of my rope right now, so sorry I can’t take the position. 
  19. Can I take a raincheck on that idea? 
  20. If only the timing worked for me.
  21. I’m afraid I have to bow out. But thanks for asking! 
  22. I’m taking some time for myself this semester. 
  23. I’m just no the girl for you on this one. 
  24. I’m taking on new projects outside of the chapter, so I must cut back on my sorority commitments this year.  
  25. Another time might work better. Let’s talk again later. 
  26. No thank you, but it sounds really fun for someone else. 
  27. I’m trying to cut back. 
  28. If only I had a clone of myself.
  29. I won’t be able to dedicate the time to it. And I don’t want to shortchange the chapter. 
  30. I wish there were two of me. 
  31. I’m extremely honored, but I just can’t. 
  32. My schedule is so up in the air right now, I can’t commit. 
  33. I love it, but I know in my gut I’m not the right person. 
  34. I would love to say yes to everything in the sorority, but I just can’t.
  35. I can’t help this time, but I know ____ would be perfect!
  36. Thank you so much for asking. Can you keep me in mind for next time?
  37. I’m so flattered you considered me, but unfortunately I’ll have to pass this time.
  38. I wish I had all the time in the world.
  39. My heart says yes, but my head says No.
  40. I’m crying inside, but I must decline. 
  41. IF ONLY I could! 
  42. I hate to say it, but I’m afraid the demands would be too much for me. 

You’re of no use to your sorority if you are completely wiped out. Saying “NO” once in awhile is better for your physical/mental health and better for your chapter in the long run. Successful membership retention depends on each sister giving of herself, to the best of her ability, but not to the point of total exhaustion. xoxo ;)

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