Despite an increase in the recruitment of prospective students interested in joining greek life at Penn State, the Panhellenic Council announced that they will be requiring a percentage of sorority members to change their profile pictures on Facebook to a graphic promoting sorority recruitment.
The lime-green graphic featuring the PHC seal bears the words “Penn State Sorority Recruitment 2012” along with the PHC web address. It was determined that 85 percent of chapter members will have to change their profile pictures to the graphic from Aug. 15 until Sept. 11.
“We came up with the idea after talking to other Big Ten schools about advertising chapters that felt there were positive outcomes from it,” said Julianne Robbins, PHC president. “The chapters voted and it was a 12-to-5 majority vote.”
Robbins said sororities could face fines if chapter members do not comply, but nothing has been set in stone with regard to potential fines.
Lauren Green, PHC vice president for membership, released a statement, saying the “initial purpose for this change was to promote Panhellenic unity through the recruitment process so that potential new members would take interest in Greek Life for the spirit and unity that we all possess for the organizations.”
The PHC is aiming to promote recruitment in a form that would reach out to students while keeping the chapters unified, Robbins said.
“We are trying to promote a unified panel and community through a great social networking site by straying away from individualizing chapters,” Robbins said. “If a prospective member happens to have a friend [in a sorority] and sees their picture, they may think about getting involved.”
The PHC believes that the use of social networking will provide a modern aspect to typical recruitment.
“We believe that having our members united through Facebook would serve as a modern utility for promoting recruitment,” Green said.
Although some sorority members voiced their opinions against the new implication, some believe changing profile pictures as opposed to sharing the graphic on their walls is the best way to effectively promote recruitment.
“I don’t feel [sharing the graphic] would be as effective because the members are not going to be friends with all freshmen and many have their profiles set to private,” Robbins said.
Alpha Chi Omega President Aubree Andrukanis wrote in an email that some of the members of her chapter doubted the change initially.
“When this change was brought up to my chapter, girls were skeptical,” Andrukanis wrote. “Now I believe that girls are more apt to abide by this new change because it will be the new norm. This occurs at a lot of universities that are involved with Greek life have and has shown positive outcomes in the Greek community.”
Although it has not been confirmed by the PHC, it is rumored that there will be repercussions if members do not abide by the new rule.
“All chapter members must abide by these regulations or there will be repercussions,” Andrukanis said. “This is occurring with all sororities on campus so all members should not have a problem with changing their pictures to this logo.
Amanda Cillo, Penn State PHC vice president for communications wrote in an email that “the entire policy and any repercussions are currently being reviewed. We want our decisions to bring about excitement within our community, which is what we though was the case earlier in the year when the policy was passed. If that is no longer the case, we need a new strategy. Until this is determined, I cannot comment on any potential repercussions.”
In contrast, many members feel that using Facebook to promote recruitment will be irrelevant in gaining prospective members.
“I don't really think that the logos would hinder or help recruitment,” Nicole Iuculano Kappa Delta chair member said. “I am not friends with any upcoming freshman on Facebook, therefore how would they see my profile picture?"
Some feel that the unity the PHC is trying to aim for will be taken too far by the change.
“It would be pretty confusing and annoying to see every girl from Penn State I'm friends with on Facebook to all have the same profile picture,” Iuculano said.