Hammond, LA – While students are out buying school supplies and getting prepared for the next semester to begin, sorority women remain excessively busy preparing to accept provisional members into their sorority. This past month, the five panhellenic sororities on Southeastern Louisiana University’s campus opened their doors to a phenomenal group of women who chose to go through formal sorority recruitment.
On Aug. 8, the women of Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Sigma Tau, Phi Mu, Sigma Sigma Sigma and Theta Phi Alpha began a five-day long process of getting to know a group of 150 potential new members. These new members were guided through the recruitment process by Gamma Chi’s. Gamma Chis are made up of women from each sorority who disaffiliate from their sorority for the week in order to help the potential new members make unbiased decisions on what sorority is best for them.
Sorority recruitment seems so glamorous and fun from the outside looking in, but what most people do not see is the hard work and preparation that goes into making everything glamorous and perfect. The week before recruitment, every sorority spends countless hours cleaning their sorority houses and learning how to professionally get to know each potential member. Brooke Licali, a junior in Alpha Omicron Pi, says, “Recruitment practice is very tiring, and a lot of hard work goes into practicing every single day. It’s a long week, but it’s time I get to share bonding with my sisters and making memories and getting ready for the exciting week ahead of sorority recruitment because then I know all of our hard work will finally pay off when we get new members on bid day.”
Excitement fills the air when the first day of formal recruitment finally approaches. Every sorority has the same theme each day. The first day’s theme is fraternal values. On this day, the women in each sorority inform each potential new member about what their sorority stands for. This way, each member has an understanding of what group of girls they best relate to.
The second day is titled “Philanthropy Day.” Each sorority has its own philanthropy near and dear to its heart. Hannah Ford, a junior in Sigma Sigma Sigma says, “Our national philanthropy is the Robbie Paige Memorial, and our local philanthropy is Susan G. Komen. Our national philanthropy is special to the sorority because Robbie Paige was a past national president’s son who passed away from polio. The philanthropy started out as a fund to find a cure for polio but now that it’s been cured, we focus on supporting play therapy for hospitalized children.”
Many potential new members choose which sorority is right for them because of personal experiences with an organization supported by a sorority. Coffee Talk is the theme for the third day of recruitment. This day is more casual and relaxing for the women trying to decide which sorority they want to choose. Although this day is more relaxed, it is quite stressful for the potential new members because they may be feeling torn between two sororities and do not know where they should affiliate. On this day, the panhellenic women of each sorority attempt to help the potential new members see more clearly where they would feel more comfortable and help ease their decision.
The final day before bid day is preference day. This day is solemn and emotional. Potential new members must finally decide from which sorority they will accept a bid. After attending their parties, they must report to their Gamma Chis and choose the sorority they liked best.
Finally, bid day arrives. This is the day everyone has worked so hard for and the day that each potential new member finally has the opportunity to “run home” to their new group of sisters. Bid day is equally exciting for the panhellenic members as well as the women running home. Every sorority is anxious to see which women are running home to them and the women running home have wanted nothing more all week than to have a relaxing party with their new sisters. Each sorority holds a party for the new members.
This day is rewarding for the women who served as Gamma Chis throughout the week because not only are they able to re-affiliate with their sororities, but they get to watch the women run home whom they counseled all week.
Rita Guthrie, a Gamma Chi and member of Phi Mu Fraternity says, “Bid day was exhilarating! It was probably the best experience I’ve had since I joined my sorority two years ago. It was so rewarding to help the women find their homes and see their faces when they finally ran to their new group of sisters.”
Each sorority welcomed home about 27 new women making each sororities chapter total number between 75 and 93 girls. Formal sorority recruitment was a remarkable success for the five National Panhellenic Conference Sororities on campus.