For those not involved in Greek life, the crescendo of noise and activity ending in Call Night can seem like the end of a hectic couple of weeks during the beginning of Winter Term.
While Call Night is the specific day Greek letter organizations go through their formal recruiting of prospective new members, recruiting for Knox’s six fraternities and four sororities often happens year-round during an informal recruiting process.
Informal recruitment is any recruitment that’s not during the school sanctioned formal recruitment time: Winter Term. “It’s a lot like formal recruitment in that we still have a five week pledge process, except there’s no preference night or call night,” President of Knox’s Sigma Chi chapter Bill Tate, junior, said.
Informal recruitment, like formal recruitment, is open to all Knox students who have been at Knox at least one term. Informal recruitment is a lot less structured than the more popular formal recruiting time. During formal recruitment, all chapters have events during a structured week in the beginning of Winter Term.
“During Sorority formal recruitment, you have to go to each of the houses (to be eligible for a bid) and it’s very structured. Whereas informal you kind of just go wherever you want,” President of Knox’s Delta Delta Delta chapter, Cayne Randle, senior, said.
During the informal recruitment period, potential new members don’t have to go to an event at each house during the allotted recruitment week. Instead, chapters hold school-sanctioned recruitment events anytime throughout the beginning of Fall and Spring Terms.
“For IFC (Inter Fraternity Council), the six fraternities plan informal events whenever they want in the term … For Panhellenic (the governing body for Knox’s sororities), it’s also pretty similar in that it’s less structure. The College Panhellenic Council doesn’t give any guidelines or dates. They’re not allowed to do that for informal recruitment,” said Amanda Dermer, Greek Life Coordinator.
Some like the fact that informal recruiting is less structured as it allows students to take more time in deciding if they want to join Greek life, especially freshmen only beginning their second term of college during formal recruitment.
“Sometimes you want to take your time and maybe you don’t want to join Greek life. Maybe you do, but just don’t feel ready. So I think informal recruiting really gives you the time to decide,” Tate said.
One of the downsides to the lessened structure of informal recruiting is that all of the different chapter’s events are not within the same week. Compared to formal recruitment, you can choose between all of the chapters at the same time because they all hold their events during the same week.
“With informal, what if say the Betas are doing an event their second week, but you are also interested in the say the Fijis and the TKEs who are doing one another week? How do you decide? Maybe I’m just going to take their bid because I don’t want to wait in case I don’t get an offer from the TKEs or whomever,” Dermer said.
Not all sororities and fraternities always have informal recruiting events every term though. It all depends on if they are looking for more members. For sororities, Panhellenic tries to keep the number of members in each sorority balanced, allowing some to recruit informally and others not to.
“If a sorority has a lot more people, like they didn’t have a lot of seniors or they had a junior heavy class, they might not do it that term. That doesn’t mean they don’t want you, it’s just to help keep things balanced,” Randle said.
Fraternities don’t have this restriction as IFC allows them to have as many members as they want. Instead, fraternities decide to have informal recruiting, not necessarily based on if they are looking for new members, but rather how much interest there might be, as informal recruitment is much less popular than formal recruitment.
“You wouldn’t want to run it for just one or two people, it’d just be too much work,” Tate said.
Panhellenic, in particular, is changing the structure of both formal and informal recruitment this year. During formal recruitment, instead of having a hectic week full of required events one after another, it will be more spread out. And informal recruiting for Panhellenic will open with a Panhellenic fair.
“The first day of informal recruitment this year will be the Panhellenic fair and open house tour. So get to know all the chapters in a neutral environment. So join our community, not necessarily join a particular chapter,” Dermer said.