The Panhellenic recruitment process may change and adjust each year, but Pi Chis, counselors for potential new members going through Panhellenic recruitment, never waver.
If you are near Sorority Village on campus during recruitment, you will likely hear the cheers and screams of Pi Chis as they encourage and usher potential new members into chapter rooms for parties. You may also see Pi Chis providing a breath mint to potential new members, fanning them to relieve them from the heat, showering them with words of affirmation or giving them unbiased advice.
At the beginning of recruitment, potential new members are separated into groups with a Pi Chi assigned to each one. The groups are made up of 15 to 16 women.
“A Pi Chi provides support, guidance, assistance and encouragement to her group members throughout the week,” Lindsay Holdren, assistant director of Greek Life, said. “She has a wealth of knowledge to share with her group about the Panhellenic recruitment process and is the ultimate cheerleader.”
During spring semester, members of the 18 Panhellenic sororities apply to become a Pi Chi. According to Holdren, around 400 applications are received, with spots for 120 to 125 individuals. This past spring, 124 Pi Chis were selected for the fall Panhellenic recruitment.
Preparation for fall recruitment begins with weekly spring semester training sessions. Pi Chis learn more about topics to help support potential new members, such as diversity, equity and inclusion, and body positivity. The StrengthsQuest assessment, which highlights leadership styles and personality traits, is used to help the Pi Chis better connect with each other and the women going through recruitment. Panhellenic leaders teach Pi Chis the rules of recruitment, university policies and offer advice on how to support and guide potential new members.
“The Pi Chis of this year were amazing in several different ways,” Kate Lightfoot, Panhellenic vice president of recruitment, said. “Each navigated the week with grace, and they were able to adjust smoothly to the changes as the week went on.”
Recruitment is exciting for potential new members, but it can also be an emotional time. Pi Chis are the listening ears and helping hands for these women.
Lightfoot noted that even on difficult days, Pi Chis encourage and support each of their group members, helping recruitment run smoothly. To make sure each potential new member feels supported throughout the recruitment process, personal opinions or feelings must be put aside.
“To guide potential new members, a Pi Chi must establish trust among her group and show that her primary goal is to make sure each member feels valued,” Lauren Smith, Panhellenic head Pi Chi, said. “A Pi Chi is selfless and works tirelessly for the safety and wellbeing of all students going through the recruitment process.”
To establish trust and allow personal feelings to be put aside, Pi Chis do not disclose to their group what Panhellenic sorority they are part of. The night before Bid Day, once potential new members have completed recruitment, a Pi Chi will then reveal what sorority they are in.
With Pi Chis’ focus and energy directed at potential news members, it is essential they also take care of themselves and stay motivated.
“Pi Chis stay motivated with the support of fellow Pi Chis, as well as the Panhellenic leadership who trained us all semester,” Morgan Barbay, Panhellenic assistant head Pi Chi, said. “Leaning on each other not only helps us strengthen each other but helps us be motivated to be our best selves for the potential new members.”
Throughout recruitment week, friendships blossom between Pi Chis that may not have happened if they had not been serving with one another.
“Being a Pi Chi allowed me the opportunity to meet so many other Auburn Panhellenic women,” Rachel Simpson, panhellenic assistant head Pi Chi, said. “I loved getting to know the other Pi Chis from other sororities and the potential new members.”
Simpson also credits her Pi Chi experience as an opportunity to share her strengths in a teamworking environment.
With a record number of registrants for fall’s Panhellenic recruitment at 1,872, the support of each Pi Chi contributed to a successful week.