The Lyre, Summer 2012 / Legacies and Recruitment
Hugging her tightly, you cannot believe you are already saying goodbye. You try not to cry and remind yourself she is not a little girl anymore. She is a young woman about to start her journey to independence and maturity. Her dorm room is furnished; her first collegiate classes are only days away. She has never been on her own before, and that worries you. But, she plans to “Go Greek,” and you find a sense of knowing comfort for the time being. After all, you are an Alpha Chi, and you just know she will be one, too.
It is easy to remember what Alpha Chi Omega gave you as a collegian—your “home away from home,” a solid support system of caring sisters, all of those “we stayed up too late and our parents should never know” memories. Alpha Chi Omega and the women you met were integral in your transition from childhood to adulthood. It is only natural that you would want the same memories and opportunities for your daughter.
But what happens when she is not invited to return to Alpha Chi Omega during recruitment? What happens when, after meeting the different sororities on campus, she admits that Alpha Chi Omega is not the best fit?
Every one of Alpha Chi Omega’s collegiate chapters has its own personality and style. And although it may be hard to imagine your chapter is any different today than it was when you were a collegian, with every year, every chapter’s persona shifts. Our chapters are as unique and ever-changing as our sisters are themselves. Legacies, participating in recruitment decades after their Alpha Chi Omega relatives, often struggle between what they are supposed to do and what feels right for them.
Alpha Chi Omega understands this struggle, but also knows being a legacy is an honor. Through the Fraternity policies and continuing education, it is Alpha Chi Omega’s hope that not only will legacies want to join Alpha Chi Omega, but also that they and their relatives understand what is to be expected.
As outlined in the Polices of Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity, a legacy to Alpha Chi Omega is a sister, daughter, granddaughter or great-granddaughter of a member. In the case of step relations and blended families, the Alpha Chi Omega member and her undergraduate family member (the potential new member) define their legacy relationship.
While legacies are not guaranteed membership in an Alpha Chi Omega collegiate chapter, all chapters welcome the opportunity to meet Alpha Chi Omega legacies. With the legacy designation, the potential new member, if she meets membership standards and eligibility requirements, will be considered a preferred candidate. This means she will be invited to the first invitational round of events during the formal recruitment process. If this is during an informal recruitment or continuous recruitment process, she will be invited to at least one recruitment event.
If both the legacy and the chapter have expressed interest in one another, she may be invited to attend the preference event. If in attendance at this event, the legacy will be placed on the first bid list by the chapter.
Why a Legacy May Not Receive a Bid
The recruitment process is only for a short period of time and it is difficult to really know what each sorority is all about. So, how does each woman choose her sorority affiliation? She picks because of her strong pull to the women of the chapter, just as most sorority women did before her.
In most cases, a legacy does not receive a bid because the sisterly connection between today’s chapter members and the legacy is just not there. The legacy feels she fits best within another sorority on campus and chooses not to pursue Alpha Chi Omega.
In some cases, there is not enough space available in the chapter to accept all legacies. Based on fellow Greek organizations on campus, facility capacity, and other local technicalities, the university’s Panhellenic council decides the number of new members each sorority is able to accept. Particularly on large campuses, there are often as many legacies going through recruitment as the Alpha Chi Omega chapter is able to accept in new members.
It is always difficult when a legacy is released during recruitment, but as long as the chapter follows university and Fraternity policies, the Fraternity respects the decision of the collegiate chapter.
Long before it is time to submit any recommendations to a collegiate chapter, alumnae have the privilege and responsibility of helping to grow Alpha Chi Omega’s membership in the following ways:
- Promoting Alpha Chi Omega as an active part of her life. This will increase the name recognition and familiarity of Alpha Chi Omega to legacies and other potential new members prior to recruitment.
- Increasing the strong reputation of Alpha Chi Omega by identifying and connecting with women who would make great additions to our membership.
- Educating legacies and other potential new members regarding Alpha Chi Omega’s standards and values, as well as privileges of membership.
When the time comes, it is the responsibility of alumnae to make the chapter aware that a legacy or other potential new member will be participating in recruitment. To do this, all alumnae are encouraged to complete a recruitment information form, also known as a recommendation, for any relative or friend who will be participating in recruitment. All information contained on the recruitment information form is highly confidential and for membership selection purposes only. It is never discussed with non-chapter members or with the prospective member. This confidentiality is the responsibility of both alumnae and collegians. To submit a form, visit alphachiomega.org and click the “Recommend a Member” link featured on the homepage.
Legacy (and All Potential New Member) Responsibilities
Sorority recruitment is like one interview after another. When going on an interview you want to have well-thought-out answers and provide specific details that pertain to the questions. At each chapter, a potential new member will have several minutes of conversation to meet members of the chapter and to make a good impression. Standing out in a positive way is critical when the sorority members are meeting so many women and must make membership decisions based on these interactions. It is the responsibility of all potential new members to do what they can in preparation for the recruitment process.
While recruitment can be an exciting time, many potential new members will put in a good amount of work before they ever step foot on campus. The following are a few suggestions for all potential new members:
- Involvement in high school. Whether it is through community service, leadership experience in clubs, playing on sports teams, involvement in youth group, or scholastic clubs, it is important for potential new members to be involved and to help demonstrate their character, leadership ability and personal development.
- Meeting GPA requirements. The national requirement for membership in Alpha Chi Omega is a 3.0 GPA for incoming freshman from high school and a 2.5 GPA for all prospective members with previous university grades. Many collegiate chapters have voted to have a higher GPA requirement than required in the national policies.
- Reading all information provided by the campus Panhellenic. Most campus Panhellenics provide specific information regarding recruitment on that campus. It is important to read through the information provided to get a better understanding of how the recruitment process works and what to expect throughout the process. Often, this information includes wardrobe guidelines as well as financial specifics.
- Recruitment conversation preparation. Recruitment is the time to shine and for potential new members to show their personalities. Just as the collegiate chapters prepare to host exciting and memorable conversations, potential new members should be prepared to answer questions about themselves and what they are looking for in the sorority experience. Remember, the recruitment conversations are a time for all potential new members to listen, smile, speak sincerely of themselves and express interest to the chapter.
Be Her Badge What It May
Whether your legacy joins Alpha Chi Omega or another sorority on campus, she will, no doubt, have a memorable experience just as you did. The letters may be different from sorority to sorority, but we all share a common value: We all wish for our sisters a most beneficial, unforgettable and healthy collegiate experience.
Kristen L. Soltis (Gamma Iota) stated in her article “Be Her Badge What It May” (The Lyre, fall/winter 2009), “I realized that what I wanted for her wasn’t a certain set of letters on a shirt. I wanted her to have an experience as rewarding as the one I had.” Alpha Chi Omega welcomes the opportunity to get to know every legacy during the recruitment process, but in the end, it is not about our letters. It is about each woman and knowing she has found her fit in the Greek community.
Do legacies automatically get a bid from a chapter?
No, a legacy does not automatically get a bid from a chapter during recruitment. The chapter is required to follow the Fraternity’s legacy policy, but that does not mean a legacy will automatically receive a bid.
How does the legacy policy work during informal recruitment?
According to the Fraternity’s policy, a legacy who meets membership standards and eligibility requirements is considered a preferred candidate during the informal recruitment process and should be invited to at least one continuous recruitment event. Most often during informal recruitment, all events are “open events” and do not require an invitation to attend. Therefore, during informal recruitment, a formal invitation may not be extended by the chapter because the event is open to all unaffiliated students.
Are chapters required to call alumnae when a legacy is released?
Alpha Chi Omega does not have a policy requiring chapters to notify alumnae when a legacy is released during recruitment. However, through continued education, we are now recommending chapters send an email to the alumna who completed the recruitment recommendation form to inform her if a legacy has been released during formal recruitment. This practice will be done for alumna members who indicate on the recommendation form that they would like to be notified.
While some alumnae may prefer a phone call, due to the time of night (sometimes as late as 3:00 a.m.) when the membership selection decisions are finalized and due to the amount of time between when the membership selection decision is made and when the potential new members find out their bids, the best way for chapters to notify alumnae is through email. Fall 2012 will be the first formal recruitment season in which chapters will be notifying alumnae through email in regard to legacies released during formal recruitment. It is our hope that this will close the gap of phone call notification and not notifying alumnae at all.
Where do I send recruitment recommendations?
All recruitment information forms should be sent directly to the collegiate recruitment information chair (CRIC) from the collegiate chapter of which the alumna is recommending the potential new member. The contact information for all CRICs may be found in the recruitment directory at alphachiomega.org, Resource Center, Recommend a Member.