Hello sorority women. I’d like to talk with you about being a great hostess.
I like to host guests. I want my guests to feel welcome in my home when they visit. I want them to feel comfortable. I want them to see the pride I have in my home and the respect I have for them by how I prepare for their visit. So yes, I clean before they come over. Yes, I might pick up, set new pictures of my family and friends out, buy some fresh flowers and light a few candles. I will likely shower, get ready, and dress nicely, but appropriately for the occasion. When they arrive, I meet them at the door with a warm smile and a hug, welcome them in, offer them a seat and something to drink. Then we might sit and catch up, chat about what’s new in our lives, laugh, discuss news, politics, religion, our significant others, great shopping deals, and perhaps plan our next gathering. We then might eat or play a game or watch a movie. And when my friends leave, I walk them to the door, give them a big hug, tell them it was so great to see them, and watch them get into their cars and pull out of the drive.
Now, let’s imagine that I am hosting an event where there are likely to be people that I don’t know attending. There will likely be a lot of similarities – perhaps I won’t hug them – but I may, I’m a hugger. I would likely offer them a tour of my home, show them where the restroom was, perhaps point out some pictures of my family or friends. But the gathering would likely be similar in atmosphere, tone, and energy.
Let’s now look through the sorority recruitment lens. Much of the things I discussed above we do. Clean and decorate? Check. Prepare food and drink? Check. Get ready and dressed? Check. Greet guests at the door? Check. Offer a tour or something to drink, show them the restroom? Check. Have conversation? Check. Walk them to the door? Check. We do all of the same things that normal person hosting a dinner party, a shower, or girls night would do – however – we as sorority women take it up a notch… actually about 1000 notches into the crazy zone.
Matching costumes? Check. Lame skit prepared? Check. Bizarre door chant/stack practiced? Check. Bump groups arranged? Check. Video created? Check. Multiple songs practiced and choreographed? Check. Enough of these things all crammed into a single week to scare away the best women on campus from ever even visiting our neighborhood? Check, Check, and Double Check.
And when we go overboard – it doesn’t necessarily make our guests feel more welcome. It’s actually about us. It’s about doing things we enjoy, entertaining ourselves, and competing with the houses downt the street. It usually just makes the potential members more intimidated. The question I ask, “Is that the environment you want to create?”
We do not need the frills. We don’t need the skits, the singing, the dancing, the Perrier water instead of regular filtered ice water, the matching outfits, the matching nail polish, the bumping, the slide shows, the videos, the over elaborate house decorations for house tours – I could go on forever – but I will stop. We don’t need this stuff shoved into recruitment to make a great first impression, to make people feel welcome, to be great hostesses. We need to remember the reason we do these things in the first place (FOR OUR GUESTS) and recognize that we take it too far into the extreme.
My request to all you – get rid of the frills. People join sororities because of the relationships they build with us in the comfortable and welcoming environments we create or them – not because of the frills. As you look at changing your recruitment rules for next year or the coming semester – challenge yourselves and your community to ask these questions:
If you answered “No.” to any or all of those questions, I beg you to please consider changing or altering the rule.
by Matt Mattson
This week is National Hazing Prevention Week. That got me thinking. What’s really the best way to prevent hazing? Here are my best ideas.
1. Recruit better, kinder, more thoughtful, more compassionate, higher performing people who have respect for the basic dignity of others.
2. …that’s all I got.
We’ve written about hazing related topics before — of course with our own organizational growth twist on the topic. Check out some of our past blogs related to hazing.
by Matt Mattson
I’ve been working with engineering fraternities and Greeks from engineering schools a lot lately — so that explains the origin of this idea. In fact, one group of Theta Tau members dreamed this one up.
Want a creative way to a) Drive names onto your names list, b) Spice up your organization’s on-campus promotional tables, and c) Offer some entertainment to passersby so that you might have an opportunity to strike up conversation?
Set up a table on campus. Put a ream or two of plain white paper on said table. Put a piece of tape marking the launching line on the ground. Challenge everyone who walks past to see if they can create a paper airplane that flies further than yours. Only rules are…
1) Only one piece of paper.
2) Your piece of paper must have your name and contact information on it so we can let you know if you won (and to tell you about other fun stuff we do).
3) If you win, you get a high five and a piece of candy. If you lose, we get to tell you our 30-second pitch.
by Josh Orendi
Just got this text from Mark Mixon, former IFC President at Penn State:
Sharing an umbrella on rainy days is an interesting way to meet new people–ever try that for recruitment?
Good idea, Mark. What a great way to demonstrate Social Excellence, make a positive impact on your community during a gloomy day, and add names to your Names List.