Eric Wang, Senior Photographer

Sorority rush returned in person this year after two years of virtual rush, with 236 students signing up to take part in the process. 

For this year’s panhellenic recruitment, which occurred Wednesday, Jan. 25 to Monday, Jan. 30, 120 students received bids from one of Yale’s four sororities — Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Alpha Phi. Rush had not been held in person since January 2020.

“Sorority recruitment was an incredible experience returning to in person and getting to know the greater Yale community and the impressive people looking to join a sisterhood,” Kappa Alpha Theta president Amanda Robinson ’24 wrote to the News.

Last year’s rush set a record with 278 potential new members signing up for the process. Some students attributed this to the virtual format increasing the accessibility of the rush process or the influx of members from the class of 2025, Yale’s largest class.

Both Robinson and Alpha Phi president Grayson Lambert ’25, who is a staff reporter for the News, said they enjoyed returning to in-person activities for the rush process.

“I think Rush is a fun opportunity for girls in sororities and [Potential New Members] to get to know one another,” Lambert wrote to the News. “I think that it is much easier for most people to meet new people in person instead of virtually. It can be stressful but also very exciting to meet new people.”

Rush is organized by Yale’s Panhellenic Council, which has representatives from each sorority. The council informs the four sororities of timelines, locations for each event and new member quotas the chapters are allowed to take, according to Robinson. The Yale Panhellenic Council declined to comment.

Sorority rush is open to any student who identifies as female or non-binary and has not been previously initiated in any Panhellenic chapter.

The rush process begins with the start of silence period, which is when current sorority members are prohibited from talking with any potential new member about their chapter or the rush process. For this year, that period started when the portal opened on Dec. 22.

The process includes three rounds — frills, philanthropy and pref. During each round, potential new members had the opportunity to hear from the sororities and talk with the members. Sororities also showed videos during these rounds to let potential new members get a glimpse of their mission, social scene and members. 

“The first day it was kind of chaotic,” Madeline Pitre ’26 said. “I liked meeting all the different members and talking to them. But the conversations were really, really short.”

During the frills round, all potential new members spend 35 minutes with each of the four sororities. Students are organized into groups led by a recruitment counselor, and the round is meant as an “initial vibe check,” according to the 2023 Recruitment Orientation Presentation.

To attend the philanthropy and preference rounds, potential new members have to be invited back by the sororities. During the final round, each sorority gave a tour of their house to invited rushees.

“The rush process for PNMs is what they choose to make of it,” Robinson said. “Kappa Alpha Theta was given a quota of 36 bids by National Panhellenic based on our preexisting chapter size, and we filled every spot with driven and highly dedicated individuals from all walks of campus.”

Bid night was Monday, Jan. 30, when each sorority offered their bids to new members.

Pitre said she was interested in the rush process because she is from the South, so some of her friends joined sororities and have had good experiences. Even though she did not end up getting a bid, she said it was a fun process to go through.

“My friends kind of changed my mind about my aversion to sororities before,” Pitre said. “So when I got the email about rush, I thought it’d be a good idea to go through the process and see what it’s like. I was surprised that it just felt like a regular [state school] sorority. Maybe less intense, but a similar experience.”

Sororities also have the option of recruiting members through continuous open bidding, which is a more informal process to recruit new members later in the academic year.

Tristan Hernandez is the 147th Editor in Chief and President of the Yale Daily News. He previously served as a copy editor and covered student policy & affairs and student life for the University desk. Originally from Austin, Texas, he is a junior in Pierson College majoring in political science.