by Brittany White
In all seriousness, we need to have an important conversation about cupcakes. I’m not joking. Really quick, let me take you back to the beginning of my relationship with cupcakes – when I was a young girl. Growing up, I was totally one of those kids that wanted the cupcake with the MOST sprinkles. I was certain that, the more sprinkles on the cupcake, the better the it was going to taste.
I was absolutely the kid that licked every smidge of the icing off the cupcake solely to get every last sprinkle, and then threw the actual “cake” part away. As I’ve gotten older, I appreciate cupcakes in their entirety, so I’ve learned to stop wasting a perfectly good piece of cake. But as a connoisseur of cupcakes, I have a confession: sprinkles are terrible.
I know! I might have just offended half of the people reading this. But hear me out. Have you ever eaten a sprinkle? It’s surprising – they’re virtually tasteless. Sprinkles, honestly, don’t add any flavor to the icing or the cupcake. They don’t have any substance. They just make it look pretty – their purpose is mostly to be decorative. They are there to appease our innate human desire to eat things that not only taste delicious, but LOOK delicious, too. When I was a little kid, the sprinkles are all that really mattered – because as children we are visually driven. Now, as an adult, I know better. However, I still like my cupcakes to look pretty AND taste good.
Fancy recruitment videos, balloon walls, door stacks and chants, twinkling fairy lights, glitter (lots of glitter), dreamy Instagram accounts, big houses, walls of pictures with sorority women dressed up for various chapter events, perfectly selected outfits, hair and make-up, trophies, decorations…those are what I call the “sprinkles of recruitment”. They make recruitment at lot prettier, a lot more exciting, and a lot more fun – but they don’t necessarily change who the chapter is and what they are like on a regular basis. Just like sprinkles on a cupcake – they’re merely surface-level decoration.
As a professional sorority woman who travels all over the country, speaking to and working with sororities, I want to share a few secrets with you about these “sprinkles of recruitment”.
Let’s start with sorority recruitment videos. Sorority recruitment videos haven’t always been “a thing” in sorority recruitment. They have only become popular in sorority recruitment within the last five years. Sorority women invest a massive amount of time, planning, coordinating, choreographing, and editing what goes into making these videos. They are carefully curated to make sure their chapter is seen as unique, fun, and ultimately draw you in. They seek to portray a narrative for you about the lifestyle their chapter can offer you as a member and that looks like something you, the PNM, would want to be a part of. Here’s the myth buster though: Every single chapter you meet during recruitment can offer you fun experiences, sisterhood, philanthropy, socials, etc. Fundamentally, every sorority on your campus, at their core, does the same things. You’ll get those experiences wherever you join.
Similarly, social media, specifically Instagram, is another “sprinkle of recruitment” that sororities specifically use to draw you in and learn more about their chapter. We all know that people use social media as a platform to highlight the most idealistic portrayal of themselves. Sorority Instagram (and other social media) accounts are no different. The high quality pictures, cute Boomerangs, and fun SnapChats are intended to draw you in and highlight things about their chapter that are important to their sorority. Chapters are strategic about what they post on their accounts in order to influence your perception of them. You’re smart, we know you see that, but it’s important to understand that ALL of that is very intentionally curated to lead you to create the impression of their sorority that they want you to have before recruitment even begins.
If you are going through sorority recruitment this coming school year: here’s a tip from the recruitment experts:
DON’T get distracted by the “sprinkles of recruitment”. Just like a beautiful cupcake with sprinkles draws you in, sororities use sprinkles to influence you to join their chapter. The sprinkles definitely make recruitment more fun and exciting, but it’s important to understand that all of those things (outfits, videos, decorations, singing) go away after recruitment is over. After recruitment is over sorority becomes it’s real self again – without the constant entertainment, excitement, and cute outfits because those things don’t contribute to the essence of what sorority is actually about in the first place. After recruitment sorority goes back to being about the relationships, the substance – the cake, if you will.
My hope for you is that you see past the sprinkles, glitter, and glitz, and instead you find women that you connect with, that become your friend in a matter of a few minutes, who want to help you grow and become a better woman, and who appreciate you for who you authentically are. These are things that actually matter in sorority, anyway.
Instead of letting sororities catch your attention with sprinkles, focus on what lies beneath the “pretty stuff”. Find a chapter that has the things you are looking for when joining a group of women. Be conscious of your values and the things you want out of your sorority experience. Ask the women you meet questions relevant to what you want out of your sorority experience. Let your conversations with the women in each chapter help you to formulate your opinion.
Simply, if we pick a chapter because they have the most sprinkles or the prettiest sprinkles or the most creative sprinkles… what happens next? Do you eat all the sprinkles and icing and throw the cake part away? If we do that, we are missing the best part!
Focus on the chapter in its entirety. Choose a sorority with “cake” and “icing” that you love so much, after you join, you honestly can’t remember if it had “sprinkles” on it or not.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, all of these cupcake references have got my sweet tooth aching. Cupcakes anyone? I’ll leave off the sprinkles!