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[Fresh] Fresh@News: Greek Recruitment and the Office of First and Second Year Initiatives



 

As the first semester of Freshman Year comes to a close, we hope your son/daughter has created fun memories, made connections with other students and had a positive experience overall. The Office of First and Second Year Initiatives provides opportunities and promotes available resources to freshman and sophomores that support our Augustinian values of finding purpose and developing passion.  Through shared experiences and individual growth, students will be successful in the classroom, in the halls, and through co-curricular experiences, feel a strong connection to the Villanova community.

 

Through Orientation, students are given a strong foundation to explore the various opportunities both in and outside of the classroom.  We encourage students to continue to navigate the first two years of college with an open mind and an open heart to all that Villanova has to offer, laying the groundwork for graduating successful, happy and fulfilled.  We hope the freedom to explore new academic and personal interests paired with the stability of support from advisors, instructors, and upperclassmen role models can give freshman the support they need to navigate the ups and downs of this major transition successfully.

 

Our office will continue to offer programs, information and support to your son/daughter throughout their first two years on campus.  Our goals are to strengthen connections to Villanova, enhance class unity, increase knowledge and utilization of available resources, and encourage personal growth and a development of purpose. We are responsible for the New Student Orientation Program, advise the Student Government Representatives for the Class of 2019, connect students to leadership opportunities across campus and create spaces for students to connect on various campus topics that support their transition to Villanova.

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In November, we hosted a program for freshman women that tackled the annual question:  Should I go through the Greek recruitment process?  This may have been a seemingly easy decision for your daughter, but we strongly encourage you to ask that question too.  While being involved in a sorority has many valuable aspects, the selection process can be difficult to manage and the outcomes are not always as anticipated. 

 

This fall we were surprised by the unusually high number of women that have registered to go through recruitment in January.  We are happy to see that we have motivated students, but also are cautious as we begin a process that will inevitably disappoint many women who are looking to connect, and as a result can end up feeling disheartened about their overall Villanova experience. Although your daughter may have decided to go through recruitment, you may want to talk with her about her individual reasons for wanting to participate.

 

This conversation can result in understanding that her want to get involved with Greek life on campus stems from a genuine desire to be a part of a group on campus that provides community and a social connection while providing leadership and service opportunities.  If she is open to being a part of something as an active Villanovan, is acting autonomously, and is strong in her sense of self, then she may be successful in the process.  If you find that she is claiming that “everyone is rushing”, or that she will feel left out if she doesn’t participate, or that she is interested in only one or two organizations, then perhaps she should explore what she is really looking for from this experience and realize that she may not get it from the recruitment process. It is an expensive, emotional commitment that not every girl is invested in, prepared for, or thrives within.

 

The reality is that this may or may not be for your daughter.  You know her best and know what will work with her to be successful here.  If she chooses to participate, please prepare her for a long process with possible rejection as a result. If she chooses not to participate, encourage her to understand that most students on campus are not involved with Greek Life and usually find their place on campus during the next semester or two.

 

In an effort to inform the parents of freshman women about some of the expectations, we have interviewed two successful senior women with different experiences and hope that their perspectives will provide some clarity as your daughter decides to participate in recruitment.  Annie is a nursing major from Chicago who rushed freshman year and is currently still involved in her sorority as well as a number of other activities.  Nicole is an Accounting major from NJ who decided NOT to rush at Villanova and found her place in a variety of involvement experiences. 

 

Fresh@news: What motivated you to go through/not go through recruitment?

Annie: Honestly, I didn’t love Villanova my first semester…I hadn’t found my place yet, and I was hoping to find a group to connect with.  I was interested in doing service and the philanthropic side of Greek life appealed to me. I remember touring campus and seeing tables by the Oreo related to Greek Life and thinking that was something I could see myself doing.

Nicole: One of the main reasons I didn’t go through recruitment was that I felt no pressure to--some of my friends were doing it, and some weren’t so I wasn’t worried about losing friendships. I knew upperclassmen that were happily involved in VSB clubs and student organizations that weren’t Greek, and I felt like I knew I could still be active and not be in a sorority.  Also, a big factor was coming back to campus early.  As a freshman, I really valued the breaks at home and I didn’t want to commit to anything that would cut my time with my family short.

 

Fresh@news: What is something you wish you knew as you made the decision whether or not to participate?

Annie:  I felt like the process was hard, but in the end I was happy to be connected with a specific group of girls during that second semester.  The one thing that I didn’t realize when I was deciding to go through the process, was that there was a label associated with each sorority.  The label didn’t necessarily match the individual students in that group, and I had difficulty in the small amount of time we had with each sorority to really get at their core values, rather than relying on what I had heard in the residence halls. 

Nicole: I wish I had known what the social dynamic shift would happen immediately after the recruitment talk began. I was fine with my decision, but it seemed like everyone was talking about it constantly and it began to divide people instead of unite them. The decision process seemed to consume our whole floor and it was exhausting to be around even though I wasn’t rushing!

 

Fresh@news: What advice would you give to freshman deciding whether or not to participate?

AnnieKnow yourself.  Be confident in yourself knowing if an organization doesn’t pursue you with a bid, that it’s not personal.  What’s meant to be is meant to be.  There is something for everyone here, you just need to find it and that can take time.

Nicole:  Do it or don’t do it, but make the decision for yourself; not your parents, not your friends, not your roommate. You need to find something that’s right for you, and when you do you will be engaged and thrive.  If you do it for the wrong reasons it will never feel right and won’t find what you are looking for.

 

We want your daughter to make the best decision for her individually, and realize it can create an “everyone is doing it” feeling on campus.  If your daughter has signed up for recruitment earlier this semester, and after some personal reflection, realizes that the process is not for her, we are happy to offer a refund of the registration fee through Tuesday 1/5/16.  Please feel free to reach out with any questions and we can help you navigate the process.

 

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