One day in November of 2015 my dad and I ventured to Waco, TX for the OU/Baylor football game. We drove down early and went to College Gameday and afterwards got in the car to go explore Waco. Right before the game I got a call from my sorority’s Leadership Nominating Committee Chair offering me the position of the Vice President of Membership (VPM). I had interviewed for Recruitment Chair, but Pi Phi HQ was using my chapter as a pilot program to test out what it would be like if the Recruitment Chair and the VPM were the same person. Enter Holly. Later that evening, OU’s football team came out of no where and shocked Baylor with a 44-34 defeat. I’d say that game set the tone of my term as VPM.
5 LESSONS FROM A SORORITY RECRUITMENT CHAIR
I had always wanted to be on Exec but was never able to serve until this change in Pi Phi positions happened. For you non-Pi Phis out there: VPM oversees recruitment efforts regarding the paperwork side of recruitment (RIFs aka recruitment recommendations for potential new members), membership status changes and member satisfaction. Recruitment Chair oversees and plans the actual recruitment rounds, parties, decor, etc. It just so happened that after my term Pi Phi went back to having VPM and Recruitment Chair be two different people. Did Pi Phi HQ have great timing for me or what?
First lesson: Keep trying/applying even when you are told no the first time. You just never know.
As the VPM my main task was Recruitment. I LOVE RECRUITMENT, which is why I applied for Recruitment Chair. In my interview I went in with a plan of what I was going to improve and how I was going to do it, so when I got the job I went to work. I was scheduling practices, making goals, highlighting strengths and weaknesses, writing up very detailed schedules and creating a general positive attitude about recruitment. I love the movie Miracle (2004), and I considered my approach to this job much like Herb Brooks. I studied sorority recruitment and my chapter to create a game plan that would be successful. Passion plus a plan equals success.
Second lesson: Don’t underestimate the power of a good plan carried out.
When Spirit Week rolled around I had finalized my 13-page personal schedule. It was detailed to the minute, had goals for each day and thoughts of what I wanted to say as I addressed the chapter. I didn’t plan to use the entire day like I had written on my schedule. Spirit Week is supposed to be fun and working 12 hours a day is not fun. So I communicated constantly that if we can get done what I have planned, we can get out early. I refused to use intimidation or anger to lead my chapter because that gets you no where, except hated. Leading with love, excitement, passion and positivity got us so much further than yelling would have. Because of this approach, they would work hard and I would get to let them go 30 minutes to 3 hours earlier than planned. This made the chapter willing to work because they knew I was respecting them as people and respecting their time. I scratch your back, you scratch mine.
Third lesson: You catch more bees with honey than with vinegar.
Sisterhood is cool because you can love on each other as well as critique each other for the betterment of the group. I let girls call out other girls for something positive they did and then I rewarded them with a Starbucks gift card. I would even mention members I thought were going above and beyond. On the flip side, I could communicate disappointment or be serious without being angry and demeaning. If there was a time where the chapter was being lazy or having a bad attitude, I was never really the one to stand up and give them a reality check. Members who really cared about what we were doing were willing to do that for me. After the brief critique I would offer some encouragement and we would keep going.
Fourth lesson: People who care inspire other people to care.
I spent a lot of time on recruitment from December 2015 to when it was over in mid-August. I planned and studied and worked for hours and hours behind the scenes to make sure that the recruitment I was in charge of was the best, most fun and unifying recruitment our chapter has ever seen. But, I am one person in a chapter of 300 members. Without the hours of work put in by the members we wouldn’t have a pledge class–let alone an awesome one. I was especially proud of the senior class because they stepped up when they saw me needing help and led by example as they put in extra hours to make our first-ever Sisterhood Day successful. I had the great honor of being the VPM to 200 Pi Phi women. They made my job easier and they are the reason recruitment was so successful. They hopped on board with my ideas and executed them so well. I think PNMs truly saw what Pi Phi sisterhood is all about because of the positivity and love shared during Spirit Week and recruitment.
Fifth lesson: Success is sweetest when the team and leader work cohesively.
OU football ended up winning the Big 12 and went on to the College Football Playoff. You could say that my recruitment effort as Vice President of Membership was a lot like OU upsetting Baylor. I don’t think people expected me or my chapter to be so successful. We ended up having one of the best recruitments as a chapter (so I’ve been told by alumni) based off of numbers and chapter morale. Regardless, it was the most fun I’ve ever had in my Pi Phi experience and I would do it again tomorrow in a heartbeat. PPL.
Today I am launching my Sorority Recruitment Prep services for PNMs. I’ve enjoyed my time as a collegiate member helping my own chapter during recruitment, but now it is my turn to help PNMs! Check out the Sorority Recruitment Prep tab on the menu bar at the top of my website to learn more.
Holly Hoehner is a public relations senior at the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.