The Other Side of Recruitment: Being A Rho Gamma, Part 1

This is the fifth in a multi-part tale of my experience with Greek life and sororities. This is not meant to offend, put down, or upset anyone about being in a sorority or being Greek (I was one too!). It is just my recount of how I became Greek, what happened once I became Greek, and how I ended my affiliation. Please do not take this offensively in any way.

During formal recruitment, there are three “sides” a girl can be on: a PNM (Potential New Member; those that are rushing), an active inside the house who has already rushed and accepted a bid/pledged/been initiated, and lastly, there’s the girls who have already successfully rushed and been through one formal recruitment in addition to their own and who have applied, interviewed, and chosen to be a Rho Gamma (or, leader of PNMs in recruitment). I had successfully dodged the PNM stage (which you can read about here) and been through one recruitment as an active, and I was now experiencing life on “the other side,” life as a Rho Gamma.

A Rho Gamma is an active sister of any sorority on campus, housed or un-housed, who has disaffiliated from their chapter in hopes to guide along PNMs as an unbiased, but knowledgeable, leader. For those that live and breathe by their sorority, the process of disaffiliation can be difficult. But, we all remind each other that is worth it in the end to be able to be there for the PNMs. We went through months of training in the evenings during the summer and spent days together team-building as Rho Gammas at retreats and getting to know each other. We did a beach clean up, we worked at a blood drive, and we worked at the orientations for the freshmen. We even had Rho Gamma dues, as if our chapter dues for our own sororities weren’t enough!

When June 25 rolled around, the day of freshman move-in on campus, we were then by disaffiliated from our sororities. Disaffiliation meant we weren’t allowed to wear our letters in any fashion (this includes car decals, lavaliere jewelry of any kind, t shirts, sweatshirts, shoes, etc). We weren’t allowed to be seen with any of our active sisters at any time (especially getting in and out of a car with letters on it). We had to de-tag all pictures of ourselves in any sorority pictures whatsoever on Facebook and remove all-things Greek from our profile. And believe me, the head Rho Gammas checked out every last one of our profiles to make sure we were abiding by the rules.

Once the week of recruitment started, we weren’t even allowed to live in our own apartments. We were given hotel rooms (which our dues paid for, none of this was free of course) that we shared with three or four other Rho Gammas. During this week, we were never allowed to be alone, except when physically inside the bathroom or shower. We were to have a buddy with us at all times, and that buddy was not allowed to be a sister from your same sorority.  The PNMs that were each in our group, assigned to us randomly (each RG has about 15 PNMs in their group), were not even allowed to know our real names. We had to think of funny, fake names for ourselves to go by during the week. So, my PNMs knew me as “Mother Bread.” (Clever, right?) Other Rho Gammas were names such as “M.I.A.” or “Turn Tables” or one girl was even, “Boobs.” We were given clothes every day to wear for each day of recruitment and had everything we were going to wear (right down to our shoes and jewelry) pre-approved by the head Rho Gammas. The head Rho Gammas took away our phones and we weren’t allowed to make or receive calls except during supervised times in the evenings.

I was in a hotel room with four other girls and two beds. Luckily there was a fold out couch which I immediately jumped onto when we entered the hotel room. Sharing a bed with a total stranger whom I barely knew was not something I was thrilled about doing for an entire week. I was in a room with an Alpha Xi, ADPi, AEPhi, and PiPhi. It was a pretty diverse mix of girls and most of us seemingly got along for the first few days, but we quickly noticed that one of the girls was prone to outbursts and crying on more than one occasion. I had to sleep in a room with these girls, share one bathroom with all four of these girls, eat all meals with them, and go from house to house every day with the PNMs with these girls. If you didn’t like who was in your group or someone didn’t like you, you were out of luck because there was no getting rid of anyone for that entire week.

The first day of recruitment was the longest. All of the PNMs are required to go to all of the chapters whether they liked it or not. Each “party” lasted about thirty minutes and we were outside for a good five to six hours in the hot Florida sun. After the day ended, the PNMs ranked each chapter from one to ten, one being their first choice and ten being their last. When they come back the second day, they’re given a list of chapters to go to based on their ranking and each sororities’ choosing. Some girls have as many as seven chapters to visit the second day, other girls could have as few as two. It’s all different based on the girl. For days two through five, the Rho Gammas are stationed at one house all day and we, more or less, stand at the front doors and lead the PNMs in the chants before opening the doors.

On my second day, we were stationed at Delta Delta Delta (Tri-Delta). It was philanthropy day and we were given a peach-colored t-shirt with a Helen Keller quote on the back and were to wear khaki skirts along with the shirt. Another Rho Gamma was french-braiding hair that morning before we left and she braided my hair into two braids. I looked like I was in grade school, but it was actually the “coolest” (literally) hair style any of us could think of when it was that hot outside!

The other four Rho Gammas in my group and I decided to get creative with the Tri-Delta symbol (ΔΔΔ) and whenever the Tri-D’s opened the door to let the PNMs exit, we had made their symbol in some way, whether laying down in their shapes or crossing our arms together to form three triangles. The Tri-D’s laughed at our creativity whenever opening the door to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” their exit song. “Oh, Tri-Delts, they wanna have fu-un! Yeah, tri-delts, they wanna have fun!”

…to be continued with part 2, coming soon…

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