Recently, 126 women have been chosen to be Pi Chis for 2019 fall formal sorority recruitment.
A Pi Chi is a disaffiliated sorority member who leads potential new members through rush week.
Pi Chis have to remain completely anonymous throughout this process so the PNMs have an unbiased week. To do this, these women have to cleanse their social media and go to some extremes to keep their true identity a secret.
Caitlin Phillips, a former Pi Chi, said the process is not as difficult as others may think.
“It was not very hard,” Phillips said. “The head Pi Chi’s last year did a really good job of helping us make all of our accounts very private.”
Phillips said Pi Chis are safe from discovery if they follow all the steps for making their accounts private and make a creative, inconspicuous username.
Phillips said it took her a long time to come up with the perfect username. However, that was not the only aspect of social media she had to make sure was totally secure. Phillips said she had to ask all of her friends with public Instagrams to make sure she was not tagged or on them.
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Luckily for her, she said it paid off.
“To my knowledge, none of my PNMs found me on social media before I told them,” she said.
Current Pi Chi, Sara, asked for her last name not to be published to remain anonymous for her PMNs. Sara agreed hiding on social media is not as difficult as it seems.
“I know I changed my profile pictures and most of my friends did, as well,” she said. “Facebook is the funniest to change usernames because it requires a first and last name, so there are some hilarious fake last names.”
Sara said those with Apple computers have to make sure their name doesn’t show in the top right corner when PNMs use their laptops.
Although she never made her friends untag her from photos, Sara said a lot of them archived their posts with her in it just to be safe.
For her, Sara said the most difficult part of remaining anonymous is going through her sororities website and hiding her last name.
“We do have to make sure we are fully off our sororities’ websites and social media platforms, though, which can be a tedious task to find all of the pictures,” she said. “The PNMs are also freaky good at creeping, so you have to be careful what information you give them, or they’ll find you from your hometown newspaper when you were a sophomore in high school.”
Sara also found the “silence rule” to be a challenge.
Sara said when she was out at BurgerFi with two other Pi Chi’s, she saw her big and twin from her sorority.
“I couldn’t say anything or even
wave,” Sara said. “But after I ran home I found out that they had tracked me on Find My Friends for 45 minutes and gotten BurgerFi just to be able to walk by me for five seconds because they missed me.”
While going incognito might be a challenge, Phillips said it is not the most challenging part of being a Pi Chi.
“There are a lot of hard aspects of being a Pi Chi, but one of the hardest is how much emotion you feel throughout the week,” Phillips said. “You get to know and care so much for these girls that when they are happy, you are happy, and when they are sad, you are sad.”
Phillips said it was hard to go from being really excited and dancing with one girl to comforting and crying with another.
Sara agreed this is the most challenging part of being a Pi Chi.
“The hardest part about being a Pi Chi for me was hiding my emotions from my girls,” Phillips said.
As Pi Chi, you aren’t supposed to show a lot of emotion toward the PNMs to encourage the girls to stay calm and positive, Phillips said.
“If I was super sad for one of my girls, I could empathize with her, but it was hard to switch that to looking at the bright side sometimes,” Phillips said. “It was also hard because we get little sleep.”
According to Phillips, the good parts of being a Pi Chi outweigh the bad by a ton.
“One of my favorite parts was being able to make 16 new friends and being a constant encouragement for them the whole week,” she said. “Seeing them walk through one of their first college experiences and being there to watch the whole thing is really cool.”
Phillips said for most Pi Chis, it is their experience with their Pi Chi when they rushed that makes them want to apply to be one themselves. Phillips is no exception.
“I applied to be a Pi Chi because I went through recruitment and knew how important Pi Chis were to that week,” she said. “My Pi Chi, when I was going through, was amazing.”
Phillips said she would not have made it through the week without her.
“It sounds cliche, but she answered all of my questions and really listened to what I had to say — recruitment and non-recruitment related,” Phillips said. “I applied because I wanted to be that person for a group of girls.”
Sara said she also applied because of how influential her Pi Chi was for her during recruitment. She said being a Pi Chi is deeper than just guiding a group of girls through recruitment.
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