Rho Gammas are the unknown Greek recruitment guides
For most members of Greek life, the beginning of spring semester is a mad rush to get things organized for new recruits. But a select few have been silently preparing all year. These people are the Rho Gammas, who will act as guides, counselors and confidants for the potential new members (PNMs) as they navigate this spring’s recruitment process. The recruitment process can be a time of emotional high stakes, which is why a there is a lot that goes into becoming a Rho Gamma.
In order to avoid affecting the decisions of the PNMs, Rho Gammas have to spend the entire fall semester disaffiliated with their sorority or fraternity chapter. Disaffiliation is the process of renouncing one’s specific house and avoiding being identified as a member of that house. Fortunately for the Rho Gammas, they only do it from the beginning of the school year until the end of recruitment.
Even though it is for a short period of time, disaffiliation takes a toll on the Rho Gammas. “I have so much pride in my house and I’m so excited to represent it but I can’t express how much I love it,” junior and current Rho Gamma Onti Rosen said.
Rho Gammas have to store all clothing that displays their Greek letters, avoid groups of people from their house and take all other precautions to prevent being identified as a member of their chapter.
“It’s weird,” senior and current Rho Gamma Andi Thomas-Sanchez said. “I kind of feel like a secret agent in a way because I know what house I’m in and everyone in Greek life too.”
All these precautions allow Rho Gammas to be as supportive and trustworthy guides as possible. According to senior and director of recruitment Julia Masur, they even disaffiliate with their specific chapter in order to affiliate themselves more with Greek life as a whole.
People interested in becoming a Rho Gamma have to have been a member of their sorority or fraternity during spring formal recruitment so they are able to share with the PNMs what it’s like to be the recruiter and the recruited. After sending in applications to be a Rho Gamma, teams from the Panhellenic council, the governing body for sororities, and Inter-fraternal council (IFC), the governing body for fraternities, select and interview candidates. These teams hire at least one Rho Gamma from each sorority and fraternity.
Come January, students going through recruitment can expect to be introduced to the four fraternities and five sororities on campus. While fraternities and sororities are actively recruiting members all year, formal recruitment will be the first time that first-years will be able to get an in-depth perspective on what it is like to be a part of Greek life. Formal recruitment also consists of a series of organized events in which PNMs can get to know people and experience several aspects of Greek life to find the house that might suit them best.
Being a Rho Gamma is apparently not unlike being an orientation leader, according to several Rho Gammas. In fact, the name Rho Gamma comes from the Greek letters that represent “r” and “g” to stand for “recruitment guide.” These leaders are put into pairs and assigned a group of PNMs who become their “Rho Gammies.” Essentially, the Rho Gamma’s job is to help PNMs decide which sorority or fraternity to join, offering assistance in a number of ways.
“They’re there to hear you out, answer your questions, talk out your decisions with you and also share their own experience with you, both the good and the bad,” Masur said. After going through the emotional recruitment experience together, many Rho Gammas form strong bonds with their Rho Gammies. “I think it’ll feel a lot less forced to get to know PNMs without having a lot more recruitment events … it’s going to be a lot more of this genuine and comforting role,” Thomas-Sanchez said.
Due to these emotional circumstances, Rho Gammas become like parental figures or big siblings to their Rho Gammies. Masur recounted a sentimental experience she had during her time as a PNM. “I have this memory of sending my Rho Gamma a text that was more than a screen long saying, ‘Help me!’ and she responded and I saved the advice to give to my Rho Gammies that year,” she said.
Each person has their individual reasons for becoming a Rho Gamma. The job gives people the chance to see what goes on “backstage” while recruiting new members, and lets people have the experience of being a mentor. Most are interested in providing the best experience for PNMs as they go through the recruitment process. “I’m so lucky to have found where I belong and I want to help girls find that same passion I have for my house,” Rosen said.