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Old 06-16-2012, 08:31 PM
brogamma2011 brogamma2011 is offline
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Matching Bigs and Littles in the Fall

I was recently elected to my exec board to replace a brother studying abroad, and part of my new job is to do big and little matching. I am really concerned about this. I do not feel that our big/little process works, and a lot of brothers in my bid class have ended up really frustrated with their bigs, including me. I really want to promote better big/little matching and also promote the seriousness of being a big. Yes it's a fun thing to have a little but you also shouldn't ditch them like 3 months after having them as your little. Bigs should also serve as a mentor and try to bond with their littles.

My fraternity does not really have a big little process, so we can do whatever we want. I am looking at some new options. Anything. I am even interested in what sororities do. I know my first step is waiting longer after we get the new guys. We had to preference 3 bigs 2 weeks after joining. I didn't know everyone at that time, so I know I am making the next bid class wait at least 6 weeks, toward the end of New Member Edu. I think they'll know more people.

Also, what does it mean to be a big in your chapter? Do you let seniors be bigs? Do you have twins in the same bid class?

Last edited by brogamma2011; 06-16-2012 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:42 PM
IUHoosiergirl88 IUHoosiergirl88 is offline
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I can only speak for my own chapter, obviously, but I can explain somewhat on how our big/little matching works. (I'm only using big/little for ease in speaking, I know they are terms we don't use anymore...but in this case, it's probably easier than 'diamond sister' and 'new member')

We have 'temporary' bigs that we receive the day we accept our bids, and we use them to help new members transition into sorority life, help them meet new sisters, take them to dinner/meetings/etc. We only have one 'temporary' big, whereas other sororities on my campus will assign each new member a series of these role models.

We have done big/little matching in a couple different ways, but one of the ways that seemed to work better was a mutual selection process. Each of the new members submitted 3-5 active sisters that they would like to be their big, and each of the eligible active sisters submitted 3-5 names they would like to be their little. Unfortunately, sometimes you had a million sisters that wanted a specific new member, or vice versa. In those cases, or cases in which lists didn't match, the new member educator and her committee would use their best judgement.

In terms of your last 3 questions:
1. For us, being a big is more of a friendship and mentorship role. A lot of the girls in our chapter are bff's with their bigs, but I don't think fraternities would be the same. In my BF's fraternity, most guys are 'bros' with their big brothers, but not close in the way that sorority girls are.

2. We don't let seniors be bigs unless it's a very special situation, like if the senior never got a little, or if the senior's little dropped, things of that nature. Our bigs tend to be sophomores or juniors, depending on when they went through recruitment.

3. We do have 'twins' in the same pledge class
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:28 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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The chapters i have advised(and the one I joined) did something similar to IUHoosiergirl88's chapter, except we assign one temporary big(t.b.) per week, beginning on bid day, for approx. 4 weeks. The temporary bigs should be members who want a little sister and are eligible to have one. A t.b. may have more than one temporary little during the 4 week period, but never two during the same week.

During the week of their assignment, the t.b. should contact her temporary little (t.l.) as soon as she is given her name and arrangements should be made to do something together sometime that week. They might go get ice cream, grab some coffee or just have lunch on campus. if the chapter has a sorority house and the t.b. lives in, she often invites the t.l. to leave her books and purse in her room when she is over at the house. The t.l. can hang out in her t.b.'s room. If meals are served in the house, the t.b. should invite the t.l. to sit with her during the meals. The t.b. will make sure that the t.l. knows what sorority events are going on the week they are assigned to each other.

After 4 weeks, the new member coordinator/pledge trainer will ask the new members to compile a list of their choices for a big sister, and she will also have the temporary bigs submit a list of their choices. Every effort is made to match up first choices. The big sister will be a mentor and someone that will help the new member feel connected to the chapter. She will also make sure that the little sister knows about sorority events as they come up and hopefully, they will be friends.

Usually bigs are sophomores and sometimes juniors-rarely seniors, because seniors who wanted a little most often already have one. If quota is greater than the previous pledge class, and big sisters are limited to members of the previous years pledge class only, some people may have to take twins.
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Last edited by FSUZeta; 06-16-2012 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:31 AM
pshsx1 pshsx1 is offline
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Okay, we all seem to share a lot of similarities.

For ease of explanation, I have to let you know that there are 3 stages of membership in SigEp that you'll need to know about: Sigma (new member), Phi (neo), and Epsilon (full active). Only Epsilons can receive a Little Brother.

So, when you get your bid and come to Ritual and you are pinned, you become a Sigma. During that time, the chapter assigns you with a Sigma Mentor. Sigma Mentors are typically Epsilons, but are sometimes Phis as well. Anyway, we try to assign mentors based on personality match. Also, Epsilons without Little Brothers get priority. Sigma Mentors guide the Sigmas through their challenge and help them adjust to the University, the Community, and the Fraternity.

As a fun side note, every Sigma gives their Mentor a rock at the end of the challenge as a thank you that has been decorated in some fashion. Since we're guys, they're usually just painted.

Anyway, before they cross into Phi, they have to make a list of their top 5 Big Brother choices. Next to each name, they also have to give reason as to why they want them. That way, if we have choice conflicts, we can better assign Bigs and Littles instead of just assuming 2 people are a good match. The selection is done by the VP of Member Development and the Member Development Cabinet. That's like 15 people, so it's a pretty fair distribution. On occasion, twins occur.

Big Brothers function as mentors to the Phis during the Phi Challenge. Most Big and Little Brothers tend to become really good friends. Most Big Brothers are Sophomores and Juniors. The same reasons everyone else mentioned before apply to why the Seniors in my chapter received Big Brothers.

The Big Brother relationship lasts, though, once the Phi becomes and Epsilon. Unlike the Mentors, you are paired with your Big forever.

I think I covered all of the bases I needed to cover. Hope this helps as well!
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Old 06-17-2012, 02:00 AM
sigmagirl10 sigmagirl10 is offline
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Seems like there are a lot of similarities chapter to chapter. Just a note, what I'm about to tell you is from a sorority perspective.

The manner in which big and little ranking has a lot to do with chapter size, so keep in mind that what works for a 40-person chapter will not necessarily work for a 100-person chapter.

For us, we put a lot of emphasis on the little choosing her big, rather than the other way around. This helps make sure that the new member is happy and also avoids actives seeing one new member as less or more desirable than another. We want them all which is why we extended them bids.

New members are given a list of all of the actives who are available to be chosen as a big. This is composed of all of the girls who want to take a little during that pledge period (sometimes we have girls who aren't able to for whatever reason) and are eligible (some pledge-related positions can't take a little while serving). Generally we try not to have girls from the most recent pledge class take a little, especially if they are the same year in school. Ex: with a spring class of freshmen, freshmen who pledged in the fall would not pick up a little. Ultimately though it is up to the active whether she feels able to take on the responsibility of being a big sister (the financial aspect with gifts, but more importantly the time to dedicate to being a mentor and developing the relationship).

Anyway, the new members rank everyone who appears on the list. This generally happens a couple of weeks into the pledge period. Simultaneously the girls interested in taking a little rank the entire pledge class. The pledge master and assistants do the matching, and if there is some kind of trouble, the President or VP might help out.

Generally we tend to have 1-1 matches with most of our pairs, but we've also had a pledge request a girl who wasn't planning to take a little--that active was called, asked if she would do it, and they turned out to be a perfect match. I knew my little would be mine after the second recruitment event, and so did she. It sounds crazy, but we just really connected.

Hopefully that's helpful. I think in general if you want to encourage the big/little relationship, planning events for the pairs to do together as a group would be helpful, whether it's something casual (playing a sport or going to watch a game, whatever other things boys do together...haha) Family olympics with the whole family (if you do families) could be cool too.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:20 AM
NotSoOldAlumna NotSoOldAlumna is offline
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We have done things in two ways in the past.

Right after bid acceptance, our members are assigned Jewel buddies. It's a "temporary" big similar to what others have said. They are also assigned an Alumna sister-buddy. They normally communicate with their alumna sister-buddy via facebook, sometimes face to face if the alum is still in the area. This gives them someone "safe" to talk to about chapter operations, especially if they are feeling vulnerable.

As for permanent bigs/littles we've done the process two different ways as our chapter grew.

When our chapter was small (20 actives and less) this is how we did it

Each potential big had to fill out a survey with their major, interests, hobbies, class schedule, out-of-greek-life commitments, and a short statement as to why they wanted to be a big that semester.

New members filled out a shorter survey with their interests, hobbies, major, sports they enjoyed, etc. After about half of the new member period had passed, the membership committee looked at the surveys with the names of the bigs and littles covered, matching them based on interest. After we had made the matches, we looked at the names to determine if they were really a good fit (ie- we had seen them interacting at meetings and functions, etc)

After our chapter grew, we started doing lists with potential bigs ranking all of the littles, and all of the littles ranking the potential bigs. We gave highest priority to those who were a Top-Top match, but 99% of the time we were able to match a little to one of her top two choices for bigs. Same thing- we didn't do a reveal until about half way through the new member period.
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