By Christine Baker, TSB Staff
The house is loud and filled with about 100 girls doing what they do best, talking. My voice is hoarse from talking so much the past four days. It is preference night and 300 girls must decide where they best fit in with a choice of eight sorority houses.
When most people think of sororities and fraternities, they think parties, fun, college … oh yeah … and parties. When it really comes down to it, making the choice to go Greek is all about brother and sisterhood, leadership, scholarship, dedication and community service. This past week, I took the opportunity to rush for a sorority at the University of North Texas and I can proudly say that I am now a member of Greek life on campus. What does the process consist of? Well that is the most exciting part…
“If your last name is A-L stand over here, M-Z over here!” Girls all dressed alike in green Panhellenic shirts try to guide a crowd of nearly 400 girls into one room. Once we are all in the auditorium with our green shirts the advisor begins to welcome us and congratulate us on our choice to go Greek. We are then introduced to the girls who will be helping us during the upcoming week, the Rho Gammas. Rho Gammas are girls who have disaffiliated from their sororities in May and have been training to help new recruits find which sorority is right for them. As they liked to put it, “We gave up our letters so we could help you find yours.” After the basic information was handed out, we split up into our Rho Gamma groups to know our group members and receive our detailed schedule for the week.
Dress: Green shirt that was provided at orientation the night before with shorts and comfortable walking shoes.
We met with our Rho Gamma groups for a brief meeting at 9:45a.m. and before we knew it, we were in front of our first house by 10:30. We were lined up in alphabetical order and chatting nervously, not knowing what to expect. Precisely at 10:30, girls started chanting and banging on the doors inside the house. I’m sure the looks on our faces were priceless. The houses all have themes every day so the girls are all dressed alike and the living area is decorated beautifully. We walked in single file. As we went into the house, a girl followed behind us and led us into a room full of chairs. We sat and waited for everyone to come in. When the singing subsided, the girls sat down and started talking. Every group spent 30 minutes at each house. “Hi, how are you? How’s your day going so far? What’s your major? What year are you? How do you like UNT?” These were only a few of the questions that I repeatedly answered at all eight houses. The routine was the same at every house (Pi Beta Phi, Zeta Tau Alpha, Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, Delta Gamma, Kappa Delta, and Kappa Kappa Gamma). The day ended at 6:30 p.m. with our Rho Gammas and our first eliminations. UNT has a mutual picking system where the girls rank the sororities and visa versa, and then the computer matches up the rankings and gives the girls their schedule with houses they are going back to.
Dress: Dressier than day one but not too formal. Nice shorts or sundress were appropriate.
The day began with our group meetings at 10 a.m. and then we were given our schedule for the day, which included up to six houses that required your attendance. If you didn’t attend all scheduled parties, you were dropped from recruitment. The routine of talking to different girls at the houses remained the same, but instead of small talk, things got a little more personal. The day ended at 6:45 with another set of eliminations and a Rho Gamma group meeting. Although eliminating two houses seems easy, it was very difficult for most girls. But that’s what the Rho Gammas were there for. They helped and counseled girls who were having trouble making a decision and were completely unbiased.
Dress: Dressier than day two but still not formal. A nice sundress was appropriate.
Day three is philanthropy day. Instead of talking and getting to know to the girls like the previous days, now the chapter shared their philanthropy with their potential members. Girls were only invited to no more than four houses on this day. This day is more serious than the others and can be a big factor in helping girls chose what house they think is for them. On this day, I went to four houses (Zeta, Alpha Delta Pi, Kappa Delta, and Delta Gamma) and each shared their philanthropy with me. Zeta’s philanthropy is breast cancer; they help raise money for research and are partnered with the NFL and Yoplait to help the cause. Alpha Delta Pi’s volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House Foundation to provide comfort and a home for families with ill children who must travel long distances for healthcare needs. Kappa Delta is partnered with the girl scouts and helps promote confidence in these young girls. Delta Gamma’s focus is on service for sight and they raise money to help those who cannot see. This day each group spent 45 minutes and each house and when the day ended at 3:45pm two more eliminations had to be made. This was one of the most serious and stressful days of the entire process.
Dress: Formal cocktail dress attire.
Preference night. Even though philanthropy day was stressful, this night gave every girl an ultimatum. The evening started at 6 and groups spent an hour in each house. Each girl’s schedule had no more than two houses. This night is the most serious and it is when each house gives you a special gift that represents their sisterhood and although you do not get to keep it, it gives you an insight of the sorority. Each house had a formal ceremony and tried to make the girls feel like they were at home, and some of them were. After the ceremonies ended, everyone went back to their Rho Gamma groups to make their final decision and pick their No. 1 choice. The Rho Gammas helped many girls through this stressful night and by the end of it, everyone had chosen where they would like to be.
Dress: Casual like day one.
This is bid day. Since we had classes, the event started at 5p.m. I swear they planned it that way so we could be nervous all day long during classes. A bid is a formal invitation to join the sorority/ fraternity. Names were called one by one and girls nervously took their envelopes. Within minutes, you heard girlish screams up and down the hallways of the Union building. It was like Christmas all over again. Everyone ran downstairs, where Rho Gammas were holding signs with the sorority’s names on them. Once all the new members arrived, the Rho Gammas took a group picture of the pledge classes and taught us all a chant. Afterwards, we all walked (well, sprinted) to our new homes ,where the active members were waiting for us with shirts and gifts to welcome us. After taking pictures and getting to know our new sisters, everyone attended the candlelight ceremony where the Rho Gammas told everyone what house they were from and re-affiliated. Each house did a skit or performed their sorority’s song on stage.
After this extensive process, all 300 girls found a house in which they belonged and I can proudly say that I discovered that I belonged with the Delta Gamma girls. I recommend for anyone who is considering it, to go Greek. It is so much fun, and you meet so many great people. Within my Rho Gamma group I met two other girls, we all stuck together and supported each throughout the week, and although we all pledged to different houses, we are still extremely close. Being able to promote letters that I can call my own is an amazing feeling and I hope that one day I can be a Rho Gamma and help other girls find their letters as well.
Christine Baker is a freshman at the University of North Texas. Read her thoughts, and those of fellow College Corner columnist Nikki Darling, on a regular basis on TSB.