Before coming to college, I knew I wanted to be a part of Greek Life. I grew up hearing my Dad’s stories about his fraternity, filled with the friends he remains close with to this day. His fraternity provided opportunities for service, academic assistance, and an international network of brothers that he continues to be supported by decades later. I wanted the same for myself when my chance to join a sorority came.
What I got was so much more.
On the first day of recruitment, I was placed into a group of Potential New Members (PNMs) headed by a Nu Chi. Nu Chis are upperclassman members of the Greek Community who disaffiliate from their sororities during the formal recruitment process to help PNMs find their home. It is their job to offer unbiased support, promote the values of the Panhellenic Community, and serve as positive sorority role models. I greatly admired the Nu Chi’s for their dedication to the advancement of all sorority women. They cared for the well-being of each PNM and they are an amazing representation that outstanding women are found in each of our chapters. Right away, I knew I wanted to be one of them.
After I accepted my bid, I was matched with a temporary “big sister” who happened to be a two time Nu Chi. Little did I know, she would later encourage me to follow a path of Greek leadership that would define my sorority experience.
She was a part of the Panhellenic Council – the governing body for the five NPC sororities at SJU. They run recruitment and aim to foster a stronger sorority community. Panhel is responsible for hosting sorority-wide events and collaborating with the fraternity equivalent, the Interfraternity Council. Less than one year into my membership, I found myself applying for my own spot on Panhel with my temporary big supporting me through the process.
A few short weeks later, I was thrown into my new role as the Panhellenic Secretary and as a Nu Chi! Throughout my first recruitment on the Panhellenic side, I learned how dedicated each chapter is about the advancement of their organization. I saw the countless hours of work that go into each day running smoothly. I grew as a leader and as a sorority woman.
Fast forward to Primary Recruitment 2019. As the outgoing President of the Panhellenic Council, I am about to embark on my third recruitment from the Panhellenic side. Each recruitment, the Nu Chis form our own temporary chapter as we watch our PNMs find their place across our entire Panhellenic community. I have had the pleasure of seeing this process at so many angles, from opening the doors on Day One as the first PNM walks in to sitting with the last PNM in the Perch on Day Three before she makes a decision that could define her college experience.
Between every Primary Recruitment Season, I got to reunite with my chapter, appreciating it a little more each time, reflecting back to why it felt like home in the first place. Looking back, I can’t imagine my SJU experience without Greek life and all the amazing people that I get to share it with. I am surrounded by 120 sisters and I have not one little, but two, and two grand littles to follow! I got to attend the Northeast Greek Leadership Association’s Annual Conference where I was able to better understand how our Greek Community fits into a greater world. And between all of this, I got to experience little moments that remind me how valuable this community can be.
Over 200 women at Saint Joseph’s will be taking their first Panhellenic steps in a few short days. Some have always known they wanted to join a sorority, others have decided to take a last minute leap of faith. Either way, it is my hope that the Panhellenic Community will exceed all expectations of what it means to Go Greek. Being a part of Greek life at Saint Joseph’s University does not simply include meeting new people, but also becoming part of a larger support system and community that allows you to expand your horizons and reach for greater things. I believe that for many of the women participating in recruitment this season, and in the many seasons to come, this could be the start of so much more.
-Olivia Heisterkamp, ’20