Sorority rush goes digital

A record-breaking 205 girls are participating in recruitment for Yale’s three sororities. This year the Panhellenic Council, representing Kappa, Theta and Pi Phi, introduced an online system to aid in the rushing process.
A record-breaking 205 girls are participating in recruitment for Yale’s three sororities. This year the Panhellenic Council, representing Kappa, Theta and Pi Phi, introduced an online system to aid in the rushing process. Photo by Madison Grinnell.

With rush season underway, Yale’s Panhellenic Council has implemented a new online recruitment system to deal with the record number of girls rushing sororities.

This semester, the online recruitment software Interactive Collegiate Solutions has replaced the old paper-based method of matching pledges with their future sororities. Panhel President Stephanie Cuevas ’12 said the technology will streamline the process for the three sororities under the umbrella of Panhel — Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi and Kappa Alpha Theta — in a year when 205 girls are rushing

compared to last year’s 170. A new system of recruitment called the “release figure method,” she added, will also require the groups to make earlier cuts, right after the first round of get-togethers.

Although sisters must rule out pledges after one meeting under the new system, Cuevas said earlier cuts will ultimately “create better match-ups” because sorority members will have more time to get to know the girls who make it to later rounds.

The new software also reduces the labor of what was a time-intensive process: when the organizations used paper ballots, they used to call in representatives of their sororities from outside Yale to help count pledges’ preferences and match them with the sororities’ lists, Cuevas said. Now, the software will compare these lists, and also helps with scheduling by allowing rushees to RSVP to events online.

Theta President Emily Dominski ’12 said the new method serves the same purpose as the old ballots, but is more efficient and organized.

“It’s no different from what we’ve done in the past, except now, it’s electronic,” she said.

Approximately 30 more girls are participating in the rush process than last year — the largest group in Yale’s history, Cuevas said. This upward trend in the number of pledges, which has held true the last several years, led Panhellenic to search for a more convenient way to handle the process, she added.

Despite the earlier cuts, the time-frame for recruitment remains the same as in previous years: three nights in one week where pledges attend events to meet the sisters in the three sororities and get to know the organizations. Haley Wessels ’13, Vice President of Membership for Theta, said she was hesitant at first about the new system and the faster eliminations, but added that she now agrees with Cuevas that these additional cuts will help girls end up in the sororities that fit them best.

Although the matching of bids now occurs through a computerized system, Kappa President Rachael Styer ’12 said the inner deliberations and processes within each sorority are still held in person and remain the same as before.

But some pledges have had difficulties with the new system. Three out of seven girls rushing, who wished to remain anonymous because the process is ongoing, said the new process has frustrated them with several glitches this week. They raised complaints about informational e-mails that they received late or not at all, causing confusion and anxiety.

Cuevas explained that a batch of e-mails had to be sent individually since they contained information specific to the recipients — a username and password for each rushee to use with the software. Only three didn’t receive these e-mails, she added, and the gaffes were promptly resolved.

Pledge Liza Starr ’13 said the online system and rush week overall have been well-organized, adding that she is enjoying meeting new people.

“I’m having fun with the process,” she said. “Then we’ll see what happens.”

Rushees hear back from Theta, Pi Phi and Kappa with final decisions this Monday.

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