Students look toward spring recruitment


Hannah Renton

Stephanie Oblena, sophomore environmental studies major, and Nicole Devine, sophomore international business major, talk to a student about sorority events while tabling for Alpha Chi Omega on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.

After watching her older sister go through the recruitment process at a state school, mass communication freshman Grace Chachere could not wait to become part of a sisterhood at Loyola. Despite the pandemic, Chachere believed recruitment week would be a somewhat normal start to the semester — until Hurricane Ida made landfall in late August, creating yet another setback and pushing the much anticipated event to the spring.

“During the hurricane I kind of figured that it would be (pushed back), so I wasn’t too surprised, but I mean obviously I was bummed out because I was excited for it,” said Chachere.

Recruitment week was originally scheduled to take place Sept. 9 through Sept. 12, less than two weeks after Ida hit Louisiana. After careful consideration from Loyola University and the Panhellenic Council, recruitment was pushed back in the best interest of all students involved.

Not only would it have been difficult to reschedule reservations, but COVID-19 precautions were also taken into account, according to Panhellenic Council President Grace Sommerville-Sutton. After students had evacuated to different locations across the country, containing the spread of the virus would have been difficult and the last thing the university wanted was to have an outbreak after coming back from evacuation, the biology senior said.

Although this decision was difficult to make, Sommerville-Sutton believed it was for the best, especially because this year’s senior class was the last class to experience the behind-the-scenes of a traditional formal recruitment process.

“If we canceled it fully this fall and just said ‘do it next fall,’ it would have been really difficult because then absolutely no one on campus would have seen the other side,” Sommerville-Sutton said.

Due to the pandemic, a virtual recruitment was put into place last year instead of doing a formal process. However, in a move toward normalcy, in-person recruitment was scheduled for the fall. Now, because of the hurricane, the girls have to wait a few more months to participate.

In addition to the challenge of navigating the virtual recruitment process, connecting with the other girls in the sorority has also been more difficult than in previous years. Somerville-Sutton said with less opportunities to connect, current sorority members feel as though they do not truly know the younger members as they would have in previous years.

Pushing back recruitment now gives sorority members a chance to better prepare for the weeks ahead as well as to strengthen their relationships with current members before adding the potential new member class of 2021, Sommerville-Sutton said.

Marketing sophomore and Panhellenic Recruitment Counselor Kele Johnson was originally disappointed to find out that recruitment was being pushed back after experiencing the behind-the-scenes of the recruitment process over the summer. As a recruitment counselor, her role was to disaffiliate from her sorority in order to connect with interested girls and explain to them what each sorority has to offer. However, recruitment counselors will no longer be required to disaffiliate for spring recruitment and are affiliated with their sororities once again, according to Caroline Budd, vice president of recruitment.

Johnson said she “was really looking forward to getting to meet all the girls” after disaffiliating from her sorority.

However, Johnson quickly recognized the positive aspects of delaying the anticipated week. Like Sommerville-Sutton, Johnson was excited to create a better connection with the incoming girls.

Psychology freshman Annabel Beatmann, a potential new member going through recruitment in the spring, was looking forward to meeting new friends through recruitment and getting a sense of what the sororities have to offer.

“I was a little bit bummed out, but obviously I’m really grateful that they’re pushing it back to make it the best they can for us, and I really appreciate that they’re working hard to make it good for us, so I’m still excited,” Beatmann said.

Recruitment will now take place Jan. 20 to Jan. 24, 2022, according to a recent post on the Panhellenic Council’s Instagram page, and students are eagerly anticipating the event.

“(I’m excited about) meeting like-minded people and making new friends because it’s been kind of hard to meet friends outside of my classes because of COVID-19 and because of the hurricane,” said Chacere.

Sommerville-Sutton thinks the recruitment process will be worth the wait.

“I know everything has been a waiting game the past two years of our life, but just hold it out,” Sommerville-Sutton said. “It’s still going to be awesome because it’ll be the full ordeal. We’ll probably be able to prepare more, and it’ll be worth it.”