Fraternities and sororities utilize different recruitment processes

Every fall, sororities and fraternities seek new members through traditional and formal processes. Fraternity rush and sorority recruitment are essential to the growth of Greek life.

Although Greeks are a minority at CU, many students still want to try it out, especially freshmen. Almost 2,000 students will go through recruitment and rush this September. The students going through these processes are called potential new members (PNMs).

Alpha Phi lines the path taken by the freshmen on their way to Farrand Field after convocation. Both the fraternities and the sororities greet the freshmen with the hope to interest the students into rushing for them. (CU Independent File/Amy Leder)


Sorority recruitment is five days long this year, starting Sunday, Sept. 9 and ending with bid day Friday, Sept. 14. The process consists of three datebooks, preference night and bid day, where PNMs discover which house they received a bid to. This year, some of the recruitment events take place after class, which limits the amount of time per party. To make up for this, the second datebook will be two days long.

Official fraternity rush lasts most of the month, beginning Thursday, Sept. 6 and finishing up Sunday, Sept. 23. However, unlike sororities, fraternities begin recruiting as soon as spring semester finals end. The organizations reach out to PNMs over the summer, and when fall semester begins, individual chapters hold rush events in order to meet as many PNMs as possible.

The fraternities also give out pre-bids, unlike sororities, which essentially is a pre-rush deal saying that the PNM will join that fraternity on bid day. Parker Brown, president of Zelta Delta chapter of Sigma Pi, said that as of Sept. 7, 46 boys had signed pre-bids with chapters in Boulder.

“Prior to rush, we try and sign as many pre-bids as possible to jumpstart rush,” said Brown, a 21-year-old junior business finance and real estate major.

The official rush process for fraternities consists of a convocation, bus tours, open houses and rush functions, preference night and bid day. Because the fraternities outnumber the sororities, and because the fraternities hold rush events differently, their process takes longer and is more spread out.


Datebooks, a main part of sorority recruitment, consist of parties in which PNMs meet girls in the house. PNMs are required to attend every datebook on their schedule; girls are not allowed to pick and choose which sororities they’d like to attend. If a PNM does not show up to a datebook, she is dropped from the process completely.

On the first datebook, which includes entertainment and a slideshow, the PNMs visit all nine sororities. After the first datebook, the PNMs begin to narrow down the houses. The second datebook focuses on philanthropy and house tours. Third datebook is skit day, where sororities show off the personalities of their houses. Preference night is a more serious ceremony that emphasizes the sisterhood and bond between the girls within the sorority. Finally, on bid day, PNMs discover which house offered them a bid, and they spend the evening with that house.

“[On bid day,] the chapters have big celebrations welcoming their newest sisters,” said Caitlin Plotkin, a 21-year-old senior journalism broadcast major and director of public relations for the CU Panhellenic Council.

Fraternity recruitment takes a different approach to the process. Convocation starts off the system at Farrand Field, where PNMs are invited to come meet the chapters and brothers. The next event is chapter house bus tours, and after that, the fraternities hold open houses on Sept. 14 and 15, during which PNMs can visit any house they’d like. Unlike sorority recruitment, the PNMs can decide not to go to certain fraternities. These events are more laid-back than sorority recruitment and usually involve casual activities. According to Alex Littleton, Sigma Phi Epsilon’s vice president of recruitment, Sigma Phi Epsilon will host a barbecue for its first open house event, where members of the fraternity will make all the food.

“We’d like to have a relaxing, low pressure environment for the first open house night to create a fun and welcoming atmosphere for guys,” Littleton said.

Next is preference night, where PNMs must receive an invitation to from the chapter to attend. Bid day ends the process, where PNMs discover which houses have offered them bids. PNMs may receive a bid from more than one fraternity, and they must choose which bid they would like to accept – and consequently, which house to join.


The National Panhellenic Conference regulates sorority recruitment through the CU Panhellenic Council. The houses follow specific rules to avoid infractions – such as staying silent before the doors are opened to the house. The week before and during recruitment, girls aren’t allowed to wear their letters out of their sorority houses to influence PNMs.

Additionally, sororities must avoid “dirty rushing,” or bid promising. Telling a PNM they will definitely receive a bid or even implying that the house wants them breaks Panhellenic rules.

“We want all chapters to highlight to positive aspects of being in a sorority and show the potential new members how it enriches their college experience and even their years after college,” Plotkin said.

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) dictates and enforces rules for fraternity rush. Houses are required to be dry during rush – no alcohol or alcohol-related objects allowed. Along the same lines, the fraternities are not allowed to have drinking events with the PNMs. Additionally, the IFC produces a list of men who have signed pre-bids with other chapters, and the other fraternities are not allowed to interfere with those deals.

“There are IFC members at every rush event to ensure everyone is following regulations,” said Littleton, a 20-year-old junior psychology and sociology major.

“Generally speaking, fraternities are given one warning upon obstruction of bylaws and a time period to correct their errors,” Brown said. “After that, the IFC may impose a Judicial Board hearing to determine possible sanctions against a chapter.”


Fraternities and sororities, while similar organizations, go through very different processes to find new members. The processes can be stressful for both sides of the system, but ultimately are rewarding for the growing chapters and freshmen that decide to join the Greek community.

Along with the opportunity to meet new people and expand their chapters, recruitment and rush offer fraternities and sororities a way to shine nationally within their organizations.

“Our chapter, Sigma Pi Zeta-Delta, recently won an award at our national convention for number one Sigma Pi recruitment in the nation,” Brown said.

With their opportunities for growth and achievement, recruitment and rush are important to the Greek community; however, both are also meant to be good experiences for the PNMs as well as the existing members.

“It’s a fun-filled week of meeting so many new people and seeing all the amazing things each chapter offers,” Plotkin said. “My only piece of advice to girls going through recruitment is to simply be yourself. Have fun with it and join the house that makes you feel at home and welcomed.”

Fraternity Rush Sorority Recruitment
Dates Sept. 6-28 Sept. 9-14
Regulated by Interfraternity Council(IFC) CU Panhellenic Council
Size: 17 houses 9 houses
Affiliated with CU: Not affiliated Affiliated
List of Organizations: Acacia, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Gamma Omega, Alpha Pi Delta, Alpha Sigma Phi, Chi Psi, Kappa Sigma, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Kappa Tau, Pi Kappa Alpha, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Nu, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Sigma Pi, Theta Xi, Zeta Beta Tau Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi
People Registered for Recruitment: 786 975
Ainslee Mac Naughton

Ainslee is a senior news-editorial journalism major. She likes Whataburger, her hedgehog and AP style. She thinks she’s funny, even if no one else does.

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