Blog by: Emily Gardner, Emily Mullett, and Stephanie Clark
Have you seen those YouTube videos? The ones where two blonde women in matching tee shirts, shorts, and sandals open the doors of a large sorority house to reveal their entire chapter clapping and singing in unison. While slightly terrifying, their method of recruitment is effective. They appear as a cohesive unit; a sisterhood that is made up of unique parts, but whose parts come together to create an even better whole. Preparing for this important, but brief week of events takes months of training and practice.
This past week we conducted a training workshop titled “Rush U” for the new member class of our sorority, and we are excited to share the results with you! To better understand what should be included in an effective training workshop for this upcoming recruitment, we first conducted a needs assessment. For our needs assessment, we sent out a Google forms survey to our current chapter members that have already gone through recruitment. We asked 7 questions and received 34 responses. This needs assessment helped us better understand what our members learned in previous recruitment trainings, and what style of learning they found most effective. We also discovered which part of recruitment the girls felt most confident in, and where they felt like they were lacking knowledge. We used this information to design a “Rush U” for the new members of our chapter. In addition, we conducted focus group with the new members before commencing in a workshop. We asked them questions about their opinion of Alpha Phi when going through recruitment. This helped us better understand what we need to work on for next year from an external approach. We learned what the girls liked and disliked about our process of recruitment in comparison to other chapters. After these discussions, we found our strengths and weaknesses to determine what areas we should focus on in our new approach to recruitment training.
We designed our training to be a mix of presented material and time to practice using the presented material. To begin the workshop, we allowed for the women to wake up with some coffee and donuts…always a crowd favorite. We also talked about our expectations for the workshop (with recruitment being a sensitive topic) as the girls settled in. To their dismay, we asked our workshop participants to put away their phones and spend an hour engaging with our workshop. These women had gone to several meetings throughout the semester for new members, however, these past meetings had been significantly more casual than we intended this training workshop to be. This made it so we had to set a tone of professionalism right off the bat. We then “broke the ice” with a little recruitment trivia (chocolate was used as a reward). Diving into the content, our workshop covered the topics of vocabulary, the schedule of recruitment, who we recruit, conversation topics, and recruitment events. Some of our more successful “practice” methods were the Kahoot game along with the vocabulary terms and the two scenarios having to do with who we recruit as a sorority. Overall, this was a pretty structured design. However, we tried to engage the girls in conversation as much as possible to help with information enjoyment and retention. It also helped to have the recruitment team present at the training to answer any questions the audience members had.
Although it was pretty early in the morning after a fun night at our sorority formal, we still managed to keep our audience engaged (and off of their phones). The use of a Kahoot game and two humorous scenarios kept the conversation flowing with a few laughs here and there, and kept their attention on the task at hand. Having donuts and coffee also worked to keep our audience alert and interested. I think our games and discussion about funny conversations during recruitment were the most engaging parts of the workshops. The day started out slow, but once our audience got on a roll recounting stories about their past experience with recruitment, the energy in the room certainly picked up. Although a lot of the content may have seemed irrelevant, seeing as recruitment is about eight months away, we really enjoyed teaching this workshop and were very happy with the results. Hopefully by the time recruitment comes around, this new pledge class will feel excited about recruiting more incredible girls to join our sisterhood.