[RING OF PHIRE: The Ring of Phire is a team of undergraduate fraternity and sorority members dedicated to delivering the messages of Phired Up Productions to their peers around the country.]

by Amelia Mieth (Phired Up Intern and Ring of Phire member)

marchmadness_logo_normalIn the midst of filling out my March Madness bracket this year (I had Duke winning… *sad face*), I was thinking to myself that there just had to be a way that I could relate this to recruitment. I know that a lot of fraternity men would love the reference, but I bet you’d be surprised at the number of sorority women who know their college hoops. It’s a general enough event, and whether or not you watch the regular season play, somehow everyone gets sucked in for tourney time. The Cinderella stories, the upsets, the curveballs, and last second shots no one could’ve predicted – it’s chaos. Wonderful chaos.

It also sounds like sorority recruitment.

Regardless of how meticulously we plan our formal recruitment time period, fall or spring, there are always upsets and erratic moments. But we live through it, and this time turns out to be one of the fondest memories of the year.

In preparation for the big dance, do you think teams kind of wing it? Just waltz right into the stadium, take a couple of shots, and hope things go right? Doubtful. I’ve read stories of college players who spend hours upon hours at the gym shooting nothing but free throws. That’s it. Did I mention this is after their three hour grueling practice is over? In the summer? They want to be the best player they can be, the best version of themselves. (Hello, Social Excellence.)

Coming back to recruitment, how can we expect to be at the top of our game if we are only practicing for a few short weeks before our big dance? The Phired Up Dynamic Recruitment model works, and it works because it never stops. Successful chapters, councils, and members earn their success by recruiting 365 days a year. Whether on campus or not, these dynamic recruiters are putting their best versions of themselves out there for the world to see — they are shaking hands, remembering names, having meaningful conversations, and building their names list. Regardless of whether your chapter participates in an open bidding structure, C.O.R., or a very structured process, there is no excuse to ever stop recruiting. You never know when your chapter may be put in a situation to recruit in the middle of the year, and if not – so what – practice makes perfect.

Maybe more importantly, sorority formal recruitment should be like tournament time — it’s icing on the cake.  Only one team walks away as a winner from March (and often because of a lucky break or a wacky fluke, to be honest), but the teams that work hard all year and win conference championships, and have traditions of excellence of which they’re a part, understand that that short timeframe in March is only a piece of a larger 365 day puzzle that makes up their success as a group.

Recruitment, like March Madness, is unpredictable – full of highs, lows, surprises, upsets, and crazy schedules. But that’s the fun in it. We can’t plan for everything, but we can come prepared and bring our best game (tons of authentic relationships we’ve been building all year long).

Enjoy the rest of the madness this year, everyone!