From the Community | Why we are boycotting formal fall ISC recruitment, and why it matters

Sept. 21, 2021, 10:21 p.m.

For those unfamiliar with ISC recruitment, it is a process of three to four days during which each Potential New Member (PNM) meets every Intersorority Council (ISC) sorority at a designated “party.” Preferences are submitted nightly by each side to determine to which chapters each PNM will be invited to return and, ultimately, to which one they will receive a bid. Each “party” consists of back-to-back conversations, some as brief as three minutes, between PNMs and active members, allowing the PNM to get to know the chapter and vice versa. These days can last up to seven to eight hours for PNMs, and even longer for active members and recruitment teams.

When we first came onto Stanford’s campus, none of us anticipated joining a sorority, much less becoming a leader in one. As we are from BIPOC and/or FLI backgrounds, venturing into predominantly white and wealthy Greek life felt like showing up at a party meant for someone else. Leading up to that third weekend of our frosh spring, ISC recruitment dominated dorm discussions. The recruitment process itself perpetuated painful conversations, where we found communities and individuals alike fallaciously associating rush results to one’s worth.

When we joined our community Delta Delta Delta (better known as Tridelt), we found solace after recruitment. Like any college student organization, we love to have fun, from themed mixers to glittery special D’s to midnight Mario Kart tournaments. Yet what convinced us to take the helm of leadership was something entirely different. It was the fact that we were able to bring our whole selves into this space and be celebrated, cherished and heard — that other people in this community truly cared about our wellbeing, identities and lived experiences. But we also know that our experience in Tridelt is inextricably intertwined with privilege — and that the ISC recruitment process in and of itself gatekeeps our community from much of Stanford’s population.

Despite returning to a full campus for the first time since the pandemic began, ISC has decided to proceed with formal fall recruitment (to be held as early as week three) for incoming sophomores (Class of 2024), despite our chapter’s efforts to push for reconsideration and postponement. When it came down to a final vote, only two other chapters voted with us to postpone recruitment, and the motion to postpone did not pass. All five other ISC sororities have decided to host formal fall recruitment, though this was not every chapter’s first choice and other chapter representatives expressed sentiments similar to our own.

In order to prioritize our values, the wellbeing of our community members, and the wellbeing of incoming sophomores with gender-marginalized identities, our Tridelt chapter has voted to boycott formal fall ISC recruitment. We will instead design and conduct our own more equitable, accessible recruitment process at the start of winter quarter. 

During these ISC deliberations, we expressed concerns for the wellbeing of both our members and of sophomore PNMs, the majority of whom will be akin to on-campus frosh. Coming back to Stanford will not be easy — many of us have experienced immeasurable grief and loss since we were last on campus. To add the weight of formal ISC recruitment to this period of adjustment and transition is something we cannot, in good faith, ask of our community members and of PNMs.

Moreover, unlike many other colleges, Stanford traditionally delays Greek recruitment for students until their spring quarter on campus, allowing them time to adjust to college, form communities and make informed decisions on whether or not to rush. To bypass this waiting period and ask sophomores to rush so soon into their campus experience is incredibly disturbing. It privileges those who can easily envision themselves within a sorority — those who are white, class-privileged, cisgender and/or who have family that went to U.S. colleges or participated in Greek life themselves — and disadvantages those who cannot.

Please, do not be mistaken: we love our community and the people within it. But in the name of honesty, the truth is that formal recruitment inflames the ugliest parts of ISC — and Stanford as an institution overall. It forces those of us who have been marginalized in systems such as predominantly white Greek life to struggle head-on with the internalized racism, elitism and classism that we work to unlearn our entire lives. It is a taxing process that is nearly impossible to undergo without robust support systems, communities and a strong sense of who you are, what you believe in and what you hold close to you. 

To incoming sophomores of gender-marginalized identities: know that you should not have to feel pressured to participate in ISC formal recruitment this fall. No sorority gets to define who you are. You do. For many of you, this will be your first full experience of Stanford — so we urge you to go forth and explore all that it is, and all that you are, without Greek life first. Build communities and forge relationships within your residences, clubs, service organizations, cultural groups, academic classes and everywhere you go. Learn what you love about this place — but also what makes you angry with it. Recognize and challenge the injustices woven into the fabric of this institution, stand in solidarity with one another and work to reform systems in hopes of leaving it better for the next generation of students. And when you are ready, make the decision for yourself — not just based on what everyone else is doing — on whether you want to join a Greek organization, whether it is ours or another. Our community is always open to all looking for a home at Stanford, regardless of formal membership, and we cannot wait to meet all of you.

To everyone returning this fall: we ask that you be kind to yourself and to each other. Remember everything we have learned from the past year and a half during our time apart: that it is worth the repercussions of standing up rather than staying silent, and that empathy is everything.


The Tridelt Recruitment Team and Executive Board

Sarah Lee ‘23, Collegiate Chapter President

Brentley Sandlin ‘22, Co-Vice President of Membership Experience

Sabrina Raouf ‘22, Co-Vice President of Membership Experience

Lauryn Johnson ‘23, Vice President of Operations

Emily Elliott ‘22, Vice President of Chapter Programming and Development

Ruth Ling ‘22, Vice President of Community Relations

Annie Nguyen ‘23, Director of Member Selection

Isabella de Vlieger ‘23, Director of Recruitment Events

Chloe Chow ‘23, Director of Public Relations and Marketing

Follow us on Instagram at @stanfordtridelta. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions about our community, recruitment, and upcoming events. You can reach us at [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected]

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