EAGLES students soar through Panhellenic Recruitment

Published: September 16, 2020
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Making lifelong friendships, getting involved on campus and gaining acceptance were just a few things on the minds of the six EAGLES program students as they went through Fall 2020 Panhellenic Recruitment.

Just like every recruit who participated in the process, these EAGLES students completed recruitment virtually, meeting members from each Panhellenic sorority that met the requirements through Zoom recruitment parties.

However, unlike other participants who received bids from sororities, these six girls also made Auburn history by becoming the first EAGLES program students to join Greek Life organizations on campus.

Offered by the College of Education, EAGLES is a program that gives students with intellectual disabilities a two- or four-year college experience. The postsecondary education opportunity is a non-degreed program focused on providing academic enrichment, independence and integrated work experience, while strengthening the personal and social skills of the participants.

Auburn students are known for looking for ways to improve inclusion on campus, so it’s no surprise the idea for the EAGLES girls to join sororities came from the student body.

“In 2019, a sorority approached the EAGLES program director, Dr. Betty Patten, about a Homecoming platform that involved female EAGLES participating in Greek Life at Auburn University,” said Jessica Milton, academic instruction coordinator for EAGLES and liaison between EAGLES staff and Panhellenic.

According to Milton, each of the 18 sororities supported the idea of EAGLES girls participating in the recruitment.

“Over the course of a year, the EAGLES Program and Auburn Universitys Panhellenic Office worked closely together to make this dream a reality,” she said.

Besides being one day shorter, the recruitment process for Rosa Juan, Grace Davis, Lily DeLaney, Sadie Weldon, Anna Moates and Elizabeth Preston was similar to the experience of other students participating in the fun. All six EAGLES finished the week with a special surprise on Bid Day.

“The EAGLES students were able to open their bids in person in Jordan-Hare Stadium,” Milton said. “The Panhellenic Council worked very hard to make this happen, and the EAGLES females were thrilled for this special event.”

Although Bid Day was an exciting time for the students, they are more excited about what the future holds for them as members of sororities.

“I am hoping to gain strength in sisterhood and friendships in a support system,” Moates, a junior, said.

DeLaney, a freshman, is looking to feel more at home on campus.

“I'm hoping to learn time management and get more comfortable with knowing the campus, while gaining acceptance from people,” she said.

One thing they have in common is they are looking forward to participating in their sororities’ philanthropy and chapter’s bonding events.

“I am really excited to help and serve people when we do things with our philanthropy,” Juan, a freshman, said.

Davis, a freshman who credited making close friends as the reason she joined a sorority, is most excited about the sisterhood bonding activities.

EAGLES program participation in fall 2021 recruitment is dependent upon the interest of future EAGLES students who may wish to partake in the process. One thing is for certain though, these six trailblazers highly recommend joining a sorority to their peers.

“It’s good to put yourself out there and try something new,” Weldon, a freshman, said. “I joined a sorority to find a group of friends and have fun!”

With this year’s recruitment being such a success, Milton is hopeful the EAGLES program will continue to participate in Greek Life for years to come.

“If an EAGLES female is interested in participating in recruitment in the future, the EAGLES Program and Panhellenic will work together to make this happen,” Milton said. “Our hope is that EAGLES females make lasting friendships just as so many other young women on campus do.”

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.