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  #1  
Old 09-15-2013, 09:14 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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1990 Retro Recruitment/Affiliation - LIONS & TIGERS & BEARS, Oh my!!!

I decided (after retelling my recruitment story several times this year) to get this all typed out... so sharing it in print here for the first time.

A couple of housekeeping items:

1. The school in question will probably be easy to figure out by the time the story is finished. That's okay if you know it... but please don't post it here, as that's not what this is about.
2. Likewise the chapters in question will be obvious. When you are on a three-sorority campus, it's not hard to figure anyone out, but it's easier to refer to them by their codes.
3. Yes, there are a couple Panhellenic "irregularities" in my story. I promise they happened and were a known issue on that campus for many years.

So... without further explanation or rationalization....

Special snowflake, party of one, your college experience is ready….
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  #2  
Old 09-15-2013, 09:15 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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Before I graduated from high school, I was familiar with Greek life. My mother was a sorority member (charter class at her school!) and I had been reading her sorority magazine since I was young. I often played in her jewelry box and her beautiful pearl badge (with pearl chapter guard) was one of my favorite items, but one I was never allowed to try on as she explained that was a very special privilege. I remember watching her leave the house all dressed up on occasion wearing it though – always going to “help the college girls” or “have tea with her sisters”. It seemed like a very grand thing to aspire to – I knew somehow that being in a sorority made one special.

I grew up in a town with several local universities and knew a lot of girls older than me who had come home from college wearing Greek letters. Others (friends’ mothers and women I babysat for) would all talk about how being in the “right” sorority would determine so much about your adult life (who you might marry, what kinds of organizations you might be invited to join later in life, etc.) and how this big decision would make or break your college social life.

Me? I was an academic “involved” type who was looking to leave my town. I thought I would likely go to a private school somewhere, perhaps one of the all-women’s universities that regularly mailed me brochures or perhaps a prestigious liberal arts university on the east coast. Or the honors program at a state university. My SAT scores were off the charts, I had a 4.0, and my activities were anything but basic (traveling to Russia on a youth ambassador trip in the ‘80s was always a great resume builder!) and I was more concerned with interesting academics for college so I could get into a great law school. I looked at many schools without a Greek system so the thought of membership did not necessary align with my own plans.

Those plans did not come to fruition, perhaps because I had no realistic grasp on whether my family could afford to send me to one of those schools. I did not qualify for financial aid but also due to some other dynamics did not have family resources to pay for any of my college expenses. My parents also told me loans were out of the question, so I settled on a small private liberal arts college near home because they offered me a wonderful scholarship package (four years tuition, room, board, books, and a nice stipend that would pay for activities). They had a small Greek life on their campus – three NPC sororities, two IFC fraternities, one service sorority, and one service fraternity. (All seven functioned as social organizations.)

I will call the sororities Lions, Tigers, and Bears (as I felt a bit like Dorothy going down the Yellow Brick Road and off to college

My mother was on the chapter advisory board for Bears at this campus and they were the only one of the three chapters that I had heard of prior to selecting this university as none of my older friends were in any of these three chapters on their college campus. My admissions counselor was a beautiful woman who had graduated a couple of years prior. While she was recruiting me, she talked quite about Greek life on the campus and showed me photos of all her sisters in Tigers.
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Last edited by jenidallas; 09-15-2013 at 09:18 AM. Reason: cut/paste/spacing
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  #3  
Old 09-15-2013, 09:17 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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During the late spring of my senior year, I had the opportunity to attend a campus day at the college. They divided us into groups. We also made friends with an athletic girl from out of town who hoped to be a walk-on for the basketball team and a girl in our group who looked like a pageant queen, who informed me that her older sister was a former president of the Tigers and a past campus queen of everything (homecoming queen, Miss University, student government, fraternity sweetheart, etc.). Our guide for the visit was a Lion who was wearing her chapter letters and did not take well to this news when she found out she knew the older sister and this made things somewhat uncomfortable for us all. I also remember we walked past a group of Tigers all wearing letters having a lovely picnic on the lawn right by where our tour group was walking (I now know that was clearly planned), basket and blankets and all. This also agitated our tour guide and she seemed upset that the Tigers were waving at us as we walked by.

We toured a residence hall and the room we toured was one of a Lion and Tiger who lived together. It looked like an entire Greek store and the Ralph Lauren catalog had both thrown up in there… letters and generally Southern preppiness everywhere. I decided on the spot that I absolutely needed to be Greek because I wanted a room that looked just like that (yes, seriously… that was my first “I must join a sorority” moment – shallow, right?!). The pageant queen was going to live at home and athletic girl and I decided to change our housing reservations to be roommates, planning over lunch what our own room décor would be. We all three agreed to go through rush together in the fall.

I only met one Bear on my visit – she was a very quiet girl wearing giant glasses (she reminded me of an owl and to this day, which is how I remember her) and was president of the pre-law society as well as president of Bears. I was not left with much of an impression of her other than that and my mother scolded me for judging the chapters based on what she thought were superficial impressions and told me I didn’t see the Bears because they were all off getting ready for their chapter formal that night.

I secured recommendations for Tigers (a friend’s mom was president of the local alumnae) and I was a legacy for Bears but my mother also had two other friends write recs for me. I did not know any Lions and had difficulty finding a Lion via our local alumnae Panhellenic.
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Last edited by jenidallas; 09-15-2013 at 09:19 AM. Reason: cut/paste/spacing
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  #4  
Old 09-15-2013, 09:22 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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Over the summer I had an internship and made friends with many other college interns. One day one of the guys was asking if I planned to go through rush at my school and I blurted out that yes, I was and that I thought I would either be a Tiger or a Bear. This was received with some muffled giggles from the other end of the table. “Oh, we will have to introduce you to someone tomorrow!” one of them said with a laugh. The next day, a pretty petite perfect-looking blonde was at our table and the same guy introduced me – “she is president of Tigers on your campus, the sorority you think you might join.” I was mortified as I knew enough to know that you didn’t go around telling people what sorority you thought you would join… but luckily she was very nice. She gave me a bit of information about rush and her impressions of other groups on the campus (which to an impressionable 19 year old stuck with me for a bit). A lot of it was different than what my mother had told me but I soaked it all up anyhow. I went home that night and told my mother about the experience and she did not seem at all impressed and reminded me that I might want to be careful about talking to chapter members so I didn’t do anything to jeopardize my own rush.

I ended up having lunch with her a couple of times a week during the summer but tried to not have my mom find out about it. One day a couple of the women in my department saw us and that afternoon they paid a visit to my desk to ask where I was going to school in the fall. I told them and they smiled and said they were both Lions who had graduated a couple of years prior and they wanted to make sure their sisters got a chance to know me too as I seemed to be spending a lot of time with a certain Tiger. They also both offered to write me recs. Yay! The next week, a few of the Lion girls came to go to lunch with these ladies and they brought them by and introduced them to me. They did not invite me to lunch with them however - they said this would be "breaking the rules" and they didn't want me to get kicked out of Rush. This immediately made me paranoid about everything that had already happened that summer!

I also got invited to join a few of the Tigers one night to do something with them (a summer sisterhood, they called it). I was delighted that my pageant-queen friend was also invited and we made sure to also talk to them about my future roommate too as she lived too far away to come up on a weeknight and we felt bad that we were getting a chance to talk to actives while she was not there. I did tell my mom about that as I wanted to make sure I didn't break any rules. She sighed and told me that it would be the sorority that got in trouble, not me, since we had not even registered for recruitment but to be sure I knew what I was doing.

I met one Bear over the summer but she was a fifth-year senior and told me she was no longer active. She told me that the sorority reputations frequently changed and that “Bears used to be different” when she pledged. I wondered what she meant by that but didn’t think to ask her. I asked my mom who pursed her lips and told me to stop listening to gossip.
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  #5  
Old 09-15-2013, 09:25 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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Finally on campus!!!

We moved onto campus about ten days before classes started. Rush would not start for about ten days after that so we had almost three weeks before rush to get to know others on campus. We had three dormitories – one co-ed and one each men’s/women’s. The single-sex dorms were two rooms connected by a shared bathroom. The co-ed dorms had much larger rooms with big closets and moveable furniture but had older communal bathrooms. Most of the people in Greek life lived in the single-sex dorms but there were a couple of Bears and a couple of Lions living in our dorm. All the Tigers lived in the single-sex dorm. The co-ed dorm was largely exchange students and athletes. I found out after getting to campus that the co-ed dorm was NOT the desirable one for several reasons but I enjoyed the opportunity to live with a diverse group of students.

My roommate and I quickly became friends with two other girls down the hall. Both had been competitive cheerleaders in high school so I’ll refer to them as the cheerleaders. One of them dated a basketball player who lived upstairs. My roommate was friends with a baseball player from high school. Those guys plus their teammate/roommates became our little clique… the eight of us ate all our meals together in the one dining hall for the university and hung out together at all of the campus activities. We noticed similar cliques forming as we navigated campus – there was a clique of six girls from the women’s dorm too. I knew three of the girls (two went to my high school and one had gone to Russia with me) and so we talked to them often. The lived in the same wing of their hall (four were suitemates and the other two across the hall) and were all going through rush too. They would often make comments about being a “package deal” for whichever sorority they would join. This worried me as it was a small campus where quota would likely be somewhere between 6 and 12.

The men were already having fraternity rush and we were often invited to their events. The president of Tigers was the sweetheart of one fraternity and encouraged us to go to some of their parties the last time we talked to her before summer ended – and sure enough, invitations to various parties addressed to me started arriving in my mailbox. Silence started with campus move-in so we would see sorority women but they could not speak to us. They would do ridiculous things though like say things very loudly that they would hope we would hear (like they were talking to us in the third person) or tell someone else (usually one of the guys) to tell us something. It reminded me of junior high.

At fraternity events, I saw lots of Tigers and Lions but never any Bears. In fact, I still rarely saw Bears. This, my mother said, was because they actually followed Rush rules and were busy doing sisterhood things. I did not have a good impression of Bears though because I only had seen two of them – the owl-glassed president and a very awkward one who lived on my hall who always seemed to make awkward comments around us.

We started classes and registered for recruitment which would start at the end of the second week of classes. We would have Open House parties (20 minutes each) on a Friday afternoon, Skit parties (30 minutes each) on a Saturday afternoon, and Preference parties (45 minutes each) on a Sunday afternoon. Our university allowed up to three parties per round so it was possible for a rushee to never be released from a house. The chapters did not have specific numbers that the chapters had to release either. They also would allow rushees to decline any invitation after the first round so women could decide not to go back to a house or drop out of rush entirely. The bid list would be posted at noon on Monday and bid day would start at 4 pm.

My mom had been appointed chapter advisor of Bears over the summer so we agreed that we would not talk from the start of rush until Bid Day unless I saw her at a party so no one thought we were breaking rush rules.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:29 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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First Round - Open House Day

The first round started with an orientation – we went over rules for the weekend - our guides (six of them, two from each chapter) did a skit about the rules. They explained to us how invitations would work each day, what to wear for the rest of the week etc. The first round was casual dress – my roommate wore a t-shirt and shorts with cute sandals. I wore a t-shirt with a denim wrap skirt and cute sandals. I saw jeans, shorts, skirts, and even a couple of girls in work dresses (I later found out they were commuters who had “real” jobs and attended night classes.) As the university was small, the guides chapters were “known” and they would be allowed to join their chapters for the parties each round so their identities were not a secret. They divided us into three groups (based on alphabetical order) so I was split from all but one of my friends. Each group rotated to the parties (which were in classrooms on three separate floors of a building).

My first party was Lions. They greeted us with a loud chant and I remember being overwhelmed by the clapping and chanting as I did not expect it. Their room was decorated and they were all wearing matching t-shirts and athletic shorts - they seemed very sporty. I realized that several women I had already met on campus were Lions but didn’t realize it. They had lemonade and I was impressed that the cups and napkins were their colors. I talked to a few different girls and heard a lot about their social calendar. They kept telling me about how they were the favorite sorority of the fraternity where I’d been hanging out and that those guys preferred them to all others. I remember this bothering me. The party was over quickly and we left to them doing the same chant.

My second party was Bears. Their room was a lot calmer and there was no singing or chanting here. I was shocked because so many of the Bears were drop dead gorgeous. They did not have matching outfits but they were all wearing letters of different types. I swear I had never seen most of these women but they were all polished and mature. I recall having soda here in generic plastic cups. The only thing I remember about the conversation I had was that it three of us rushees talking to two women and they mostly only talked to us about national things (their colors, their symbol, their conventions). I also remember one of the other girls who was a rushee was VERY rude to them and kept making inappropriate comments. She was a junior who was going through rush for the first time. My mother was in the corner during the party and I was trying hard not to make eye contact with her.

My last party was Tigers. Oh my gosh… they greeted us with a fun song and their room was just amazing. They all had fancy matching shirt and hairbows with denim skirts and looked perfect. Their room reminded me of that dorm room I saw during my campus visit – paraphernalia everywhere! They also did this fun clapping paddy-cake kind of song in a big circle where they went around and said all of their names. I met a lot of their officers including their rush chair who was the university president’s daughter (and a girl I knew of growing up locally and always admired as she had done similar things in high school to me and was on the same professional career path as the one I wanted to pursue). This party went by so fast that I can’t remember who else I talked to and I’m pretty sure I had to be forced to leave the room.

We were told to not talk until we got back to the library where we were told we’d receive our schedules in our mailboxes by 10 am the next day. Our rush guides reminded us to not talk to sorority women or we could be released from recruitment.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:30 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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That night, we went to a campus “luau” and the sorority women were everywhere and again doing the loud talking very near us without talking to us. At one point, the Lions and Bears got in an argument about it and it was rather uncomfortable for all the rushees so a bunch of us decided to leave and go play cards back at the men’s dorm.

There seems to be a lot of talking and a lot of the sophomores and juniors seem to have very set opinions about where they want to be (usually Lions or Tigers). There is also a girl on our floor who has said she will be devastated if she is not a Tiger. I’m not sure why none of my friends are talking about Bears much. One of the cheerleaders disliked Lions because she had a very uncomfortable conversation there that she said personally embarrassed her.

At the end of the first day, I love Tigers and feel like I could easily see myself there as they are what I pictured Greek life looking like. I like Bears and Lions and think I need more time to get to know them as I’m not sure how I fit yet.
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Last edited by jenidallas; 09-15-2013 at 09:30 AM. Reason: cut/paste/spacing
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  #8  
Old 09-15-2013, 09:34 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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Second Round - Skit Day

I checked my mailbox early in the morning and was thrilled to find out that I had a full schedule for day two. The cheerleader who didn’t like Lions got released by them but didn’t seem at all upset. My roommate commented that if we all had to stick together that only Bears or Tigers were still on the table. I wasn’t sure how I felt about all the talk about sticking together though… what if my favorite in the end was not the same as theirs?

I don’t remember the order of the parties but I remember I wore a blue dress with a white collar. (So strange that I remember this.) Here are my impressions:

Lions – same catchy chant as the first round. (I will say that 23 years later, that damn chant is STILL stuck in my head and I’ve used it as an example in recruitment schools with chapters of how effective chants can be.) Their skit was corny but showed definite sisterhood and I remember thinking that their style of dress that day was so NOT me. I had a couple of great conversations but I was not feeling very connected – the women were a lot more “home” oriented than I was (many were education majors and kept talking about things that made them seem more like wives and mothers than women a couple of years older than me). I felt like I might have to change to fit in here. I remember they had sugar cookies shaped like their symbol.

Tigers – more chanting and cute matching outfits. I swear, these girls always look like they walked straight out of a catalog. They seem like the popular girls in high school and I wonder if I would always be trying hard if I were here. Their skit was not very funny but everyone laughed a lot – it was really polished , but I felt like a lot of it was inside jokes and I was not sure if I was in on the joke. I was super impressed that they had monogrammed cups and napkins and everything seemed so grown-up. I also noticed that they had removed all the normal classroom chairs and brought in nice white rental chairs that looked fancy.

Bears – again, the Bears party seemed different than the other parties but I couldn’t figure out why. Instead of a skit, they did a funny song with parts that talked about activities. At one point the song discussed fraternities that were not on our campus and how they had mixers with them. That really confused me. I noticed that only the super pretty girls were participating and the others were sitting out with us and that made me uncomfortable as I wondered if you had to be pretty to be in the skit. I talked to another fabulous woman who I really connected with. I was really feeling a Jekyll and Hyde feeling about this chapter. Also, I’ve agreed to not talk to my mom that weekend as we were not sure if it would violate a rush rule but I’m just so confused right now as to what was going on as it seemed like two different chapters were present.

After the last party, the rush guides gathered us all together and told us that we would receive our preference schedules in our mailboxes by 10 am the next day. One of them also emphasized that it was critical that we check our mailboxes after dinner that night as there might be important communication coming our way. She winked at a couple of us when she said that and I didn’t understand what that might mean.

Then they told us that it was important that we know that it was “possible” that a sorority could be using members from another chapter and/or young alumnae to help with recruitment that weekend and that only chapter members/advisors would be present at preference the next day so we needed to keep an open mind as to what we had actually experienced during rounds one and two as that would be more representative of what a full chapter would be like. This confused a lot of the women and there was a lot of chatter. Several folks said it was Bears and they had bussed women in from another big chapter. Others said it was Lions and they were using women who had just graduated and passing them off as chapter members. Someone even said that Tigers had women who traveled around who were perfect and hired just to do rush parties. I tried not to listen to the talk but my mind was racing.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:38 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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After dinner I checked my mailbox as instructed and found a white envelope inviting me to a top secret off-campus party that night. With all the fraternity rush parties going on, maybe this was for them? But I felt weird about this being so hush-hush (isn't that how hazing happens?!) and I didn’t have a car so I wasn’t sure what to do. My roommate got the same invitation as did one of the cheerleaders. The other cheerleader did not get invited but we told her to come with us anyway and decided it was worth driving to go see what this was about.

We got to an off campus apartment about 9 pm to find a party full of various guys we knew and a few of the members of Tigers along with a bunch of other women I did not know. Of course, silence was still in effect and they were doing that same talking near us but not with us thing. In addition to the four of us, there were two upperclasswomen rushees (including the one who was so rude to the Bears on day one) and a few of the rushees from the all-girls dorm who had said they were a “package deal”.

One of the girls there (I didn’t recognize her and had not seen her at any of the sorority events) very loudly asked one of the guys why someone would come who was not invited. The cheerleader who wasn’t invited ran out of the apartment thinking they were talking about her. The girl then laughed and said “I wasn’t talking about her” and then pointed to another girl – the one who lived down the hall from us. I found out later than only a few of us were invited and it seemed to me to be like some kind of test to see if we would follow instructions or something. In any case, the men as well as the women I didn’t recognize were all drinking and my friends and I decided to leave as it seemed like an uncomfortable situation. Technically based on the rules of how the rush rules were written I don’t think they broke a campus rule but it still seemed like dirty rushing and inappropriate for the night before Preference. (I also found out also that night that there were a couple other similar parties and that it was a campus norm back then – other chapters were also involved, not that it made it okay – some people got invited to more than one party as we found out from other girls as we were leaving the one we had been at - they were coming from a party with Lions.)

I didn’t sleep well as I was so conflicted… was Bears the sorority I met or a chapter on another campus? What should I do about being a legacy? Did Lions not inviting me to their secret party mean they didn’t like me at all? Were Tigers great girls or rule-breakers? What was going to happen if my clique ended up in different houses?

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Old 09-15-2013, 09:44 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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I was very nervous the morning of preference and went for a walk to clear my head. When I came back to get ready our schedules were in our boxes.

There was wailing and sobbing coming from my floor when I walked back up the stairs. The girl at the end of the hall (the one who was set on Tigers and who was spoken to rudely the night before at the secret party) had only been invited back to Lions. My roommate and I both still had full schedules. The cheerleader who had been cut by Lions the day before was going back to Bears and Tigers. The other cheerleader had a full schedule but had decided she did not want to revisit Bears. Our pageant queen friend was only invited back to Tigers and Bears as well. So it looked like unless we all went Tigers we would not be in the same chapter.

I was starting to get irritated by this day especially by all the talk back and forth and decided to only talk to my roommate and pageant queen as we got ready. This apparently upset one of the cheerleaders (the one who was not invited to the secret party but got the full schedule) and she said something nasty to me as we were leaving to go to pref parties. For preference, we all met in a central location on campus. Women who were not going to parties for a particular block had to sit in silence there. Each chapter held two parties so the PNMs were split in groups – there were on average 6-11 women per party. We were told there were 31 women remaining in recruitment all together. I remember seeing the rude rushee there and she told us that she was ONLY going to Tigers as her boyfriend was vice president of one of the fraternities so she knew that was the only “socially acceptable” choice and therefore she was not going to waste her time elsewhere so had turned down invitations to the others. A lot of women had decided not to go to Bears.

My first party was Lions. It was a lovely party in an old house on the campus. It felt very southern-feeling and old-fashioned. I remember all the girls were wearing matching pastel dresses and they reminded me of a show choir in all that taffeta. They all kept talking about finding their fiancés and I remember in my head thinking they were the MRS degree chapter. This seemed like the kind of chapter I’d go into if I were ready to settle down after college and something about the chapter to me seemed like they were very set on their campus identity. Their ceremony was moving but I looked around and had trouble imagining myself spending four years there. Lots of girls cried but I didn’t quite understand what there was to cry about.

My second party was Tigers. I was picked up by the president of Panhellenic who I’d met earlier in the week. She made me so comfortable and asked me if the party the night before had thrown me off as she thought we seemed a bit bewildered and that perhaps no one had told me that might happen. She said they wanted so badly for the group of us to know we were wanted since other chapters had done those parties in the past which I thought was a plausible explanation. During the party several officers stopped by to talk to me and I felt very special. Their ceremony was beautiful and two of their songs were to tunes I knew from camp so it made me feel warm and fuzzy. I felt like I wanted this chapter because of who I envisioned myself becoming but was not sure if it fit me today – they were all so much more polished and popular than I was in high school but that was who I wanted to be in college and I felt special that they liked me.

My last party was Bears. I looked around and immediately knew there was something wrong… all the girls I had met were gone. I didn’t see a single one when the door opened. I saw the owl-eyed president and the awkward girl from my hall and a couple others and that was it. Period. I was double-preffed (me plus another rushee) and the awkward girl picked us up. She started by telling us we could be on exec as soon as we were initiated if we pledged them and then recited a list of reasons why we should give them a chance. Then she turned to me and told me that I was a legacy so they were counting on me to be loyal to that. “Your relationship with your mother will never quite be the same if you don’t pledge Bears – you can’t do that to your mother or she will never feel the same about you” she told me. This smacked me in the face because I hadn't really thought about my mother in all this and she had told me to keep an open mind... but to hear all this made me question whether she really meant it! And at this point all my confusion and lack of sleep caught up to me and I started sobbing. My mom saw this from across the room and came rushing over and asked if I wanted to sit in the corner and talk. And boy, did I ever. I told her want the girl had said and how my week had been going and she said “jenidallas, I love you no matter what… and while I’d be honored to have you as my sister, I want YOU to be happy… and I think you’d make a great member, wherever you are - if you want to be a Tiger, you'd fit in fine. But if you want to come here, you'll have a home too... but you have to follow your heart and make the decision that is going to help YOU become the better woman. This is your campus, not mine. And whatever you do, you need to be ready to do it for life.”. Hearing her say that and thinking of what she taught me, I suddenly knew exactly what I needed to do. The preference ceremony was starting so she grabbed my hand and let me over. And I smiled because suddenly my path was clear and I knew what I actually wanted to do.

After the last party, we went one by one into the Student Life Office. There were two doors – you walked in one and closed the door, signed your card, and the walked out the other. My friends agreed to wait on the other side so we could all walk back to the dorm together. Pageant queen walked out and we all started discussing what we had done. Rude rushee walked out behind her and overheard me telling them what I had done and looked at me like I was an idiot and said “well, I hope that wasn’t a stupid choice on your part” and then walked off. We all actually were very happy with what we had done and decided to go have dinner off campus to celebrate rush being almost over!
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Love, labor, learning, and loyalty -
Gamma Phi Beta means so much to me.

Last edited by jenidallas; 09-15-2013 at 01:19 PM. Reason: Correct # of women still on recruitment.
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  #11  
Old 09-15-2013, 09:46 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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Posts: 265
The four of us found our friend pageant queen and all went to check the bid list to see if our names were on it.


My roommate and pageant queen and I were all listed which meant we had bids. (And, because of legacy policies and/or how we each filled out our card, we were 99% certain we knew what our cards would say.)


Neither of the cheerleaders received a bid… it turned out they had both decided to SIP the only sorority they both preffed (Tiger). Both started crying but the Panhellenic president (a Tiger) came out of the student life and told them to be available for a phone call that afternoon as one sorority did not make quota and would be snap bidding. And if not, to come to the student union at 4 pm anyway because none of the sororities was at total and therefore they would likely all be handing out COB bids. Quota was 10 and we counted 25 names on the bid list – so from what she said, two sororities took quota and one took 5.


At 4 pm I stood with my friends and opened my bid to....

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Tigers




Otherwise known as


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Gamma Phi Beta
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Love, labor, learning, and loyalty -
Gamma Phi Beta means so much to me.

Last edited by jenidallas; 09-15-2013 at 01:59 PM. Reason: cut/paste/spacing
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  #12  
Old 09-15-2013, 09:49 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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Wait, what?!

I know some of you are thinking... "wait, WHAT?!"

Yes, I decided that jumping into my legacy chapter and doing all that hard work was NOT what I wanted to do. I wanted to go somewhere that everything was already exactly the way envisioned it.

But more on that in a moment... back to the story....
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Love, labor, learning, and loyalty -
Gamma Phi Beta means so much to me.
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  #13  
Old 09-15-2013, 09:50 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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My bid day was still one of my favorite days in my sorority. At 4 pm, we ran outside but before I ran to meet my sisters in Gamma Phi Beta, my mom was waiting. She was holding a giant stuffed animal ( the mascot of Bears) but tied around its neck were Gamma Phi Beta printed ribbons. She said she had purchased the animal when she first thought I’d possibly pledge my legacy but modified her plan when she realized I’d end up where I belonged.

I love my mom for her Panhellenic spirit and I’m so excited that she’ll celebrate 50 years in her sorority this coming spring. When I bought my Gamma Phi Beta badge, I tried to mirror the style of my mom’s own badge as closely as possible. We’ve attended MANY mother/daughter events over the years in our “matching” badge. And that stuffed animal still sits in a chair in the dressing area of my bedroom.

My mom inspired me to continued service to my sorority. I’ve held a lot of alumnae chapter officer roles, served on three advisory boards (more on that in a moment), and I’m currently in a regional leadership role. I have told my recruitment/affiliation story many times since so it’s nice to finally share it here.

Ah, but it’s not QUITE over yet….
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Love, labor, learning, and loyalty -
Gamma Phi Beta means so much to me.
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  #14  
Old 09-15-2013, 09:55 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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So where did they all end up?!

Roommate, pageant queen, and I all pledged Gamma Phi Beta. The cheerleaders were both picked up on COB at 4:01 pm as were a couple other girls waiting to COB (including two who didn’t even go through recruitment at all). All-in-all, we ended with a pledge class of 17 (doubling the size of the chapter). Lions had a pledge class of 12-13 and Bears picked up three more to finish at 8 new members.

The girl down the hall was a new Lion and had a rough start. She did not want to go to Bid Day and spent a couple of months telling everyone she was supposed to be a Tiger but had an old “enemy” from high school who blocked her. (That part was later acknowledged to be true by all involved. What’s funny now, decades later, the Lion dated a guy for a long time and now her old enemy Tiger is married to him… but that wasn’t even a factor back then!) But back to her - she stuck with Lion and if you were to ask her a semester later, she would tell you that she never wanted to be anything but a Lion. We are still friends and still keep in touch.

I became friends later with the awkward girl in Bears and now understand just how nervous she was to be preffing the chapter advisor's daughtre that day. I came to have a lot of respect for those women. They basically had to build themselves back up from 3 initiated members and the women they took DID take on early leadership roles and turned the chapter around. They took both the girls from my high school (who apparently everyone was SURE would go Tigers) and the girl I went on the mission trip with (who everyone was SURE would go Lions) – the other three in that group went Tigers with us. Apparently late the night after round two (and the secret party - or parties, as these girls were invited to both!), they all came back and discussed the chapters and discovered they were leaning two different ways on what they wanted their campus experience to be. It just goes to show nothing is certain. Half of them decided that Bears would allow them to basically rewrite the rules for sororities on the campus and make things more level. And they did. They also COBed two women I really hoped Tigers would get so they had immediate impact on the campus. By the time I was a junior in college, they were the largest chapter on campus and the entire dynamic had shifted largely because of their one class.

The rushee who was so rude during recruitment also went Tigers which meant we were sisters. I did at one point tell her exactly what I thought of her behavior and that was a big poo storm in our pledge class. We did a few things together but never really became close and we do not stay in touch at all now. She is a good example that you do not have to be friends with all your sisters and can still survive.

The rush chair, who I so very much admired, was my first Crescent Sister on Bid Day and ended up becoming my big sis. We are still close! Sadly her dad (the university president) left at the end of my first semester and she transferred to the new college with him.

I initiated in January of 1991. I was honestly not sure if I was ready or not as I felt like something was “off” – I was head over heels with the sorority in general but still felt like something was not right about my campus experience. I suspected it was not the sorority but the college and told my parents I would give it until spring break and transfer if I still felt “off”. The university was not what I expected it to be and over the holidays I realized I was not having the same college experience that other friends were having, partially due to my schools size but more due to changes going on at the school that were affecting academics and student life.

I will say also that while I was a freshman, I felt a lot of pressure to “reinvent” myself – to dress more like the women in my chapter, to do my hair differently, even to do things that might be out of character for the old me in order to be liked. I don’t blame sorority for that – I think that’s just a part of growing up.

Ironically WHILE I was at initiation, there was a series of armed robberies in my dorm as well as the men’s dorm. (By armed, I mean gang members with semi-automatic weapons.) My parents decided I could come home to live for the rest of the semester and pretty much my mind was made up that I would transfer at first opportunity. I packed a bag and started sleeping at home and driving to school and slowly moving my things out of the residence hall as I didn’t want to alarm anyone but my sisters figured out what was going on anyway and some of them distanced themselves from me.

My mom was very worried that I’d initiated and THEN decided to transfer so we decided it would be best to look at schools that had chapters. (Smart idea, mom!) I decided I wanted to also go visit both schools I narrowed down to for several days to get a feel for the campuses (and what life would actually be like since my freshman year was not at all what I thought it would be).
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Love, labor, learning, and loyalty -
Gamma Phi Beta means so much to me.
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  #15  
Old 09-15-2013, 09:57 AM
jenidallas jenidallas is offline
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I ended up deciding to be a sophomore transfer to a large state school that had a chapter. I also dropped down to mostly correspondence classes for the semester so I could start working full time and saving money since I was losing my full ride. Roommate and pageant girl also both transferred after our freshman year, both to schools without chapters so our year together was their only time in Greek life.

I got to the new school (which I loved immediately and still do to this day) but the chapter was not at ALL like it had been at my first school. They were not a strong chapter and the women were very different than my old chapter. I hedged on whether or not I wanted to affiliate, listening a lot to other girls (outside the chapter) and to men (both Greek and non-Greek). I was kind of snotty about it too which I now regret – at 19, I had the attitude that the sorority was about the reputation or ranking on campus. I had friends from back home in most of the other chapters but not my own and began to think that I’d made a huge mistake to not wait and go through recruitment there.

I dragged my feet on declaring my intention to go through affiliation - but those sisters persisted and let me know they liked me anyway because I WAS a sister. Their continued acts of sisterhood (which included visiting me in the hospital when I had a bad car accident a few weeks into school) and unwavering friendship helped me realize that sisterhood is not about aspiring to be someone else – it’s about being the best version of yourself. At the end of the day, my then-boyfriend (a member of a very popular house on campus) is the one who pushed me over the edge – he reminded me that college would be SO much better if I was in ANY chapter and participating than if I were standing on the sidelines just watching everyone else. So very true.

I affiliated and made several wonderful friends. The chapter helped that process along by pairing me with the latest new member class and including me on all their “extra” activities. I even got an “adopted big” so I could be folded into the chapter’s “families”. I went on to serve the chapter in various leadership positions and was so proud to see my chapter continue to grow while I was there. I am still in regular contact with probably 40 sisters who I shared time with while on campus. I also am happy to note that I went back to dressing the way I liked to dress and marching to the beat of my own drummer – and my sisters supported me there too.

Of course, all this retro thought leads to a lot of revelations and discoveries about who I am today. Would 41 year old me go through recruitment with the same eyes she did at 18? No. And if not, I might not be a Gamma Phi Beta today.

I believe I was led to the sisterhood where I belong… the one that grew with me and that I never outgrew. Sometimes there really is a master plan and I do believe that we end up where we ultimately belong and that sometimes it takes time for it to become that lifelong love affair.

I also firmly believe that choosing a sorority should not be an aspirational thing – joining the blonde haired cheerleader sorority will not turn you in to that if you are not that person. I think I love the most that my sorority allowed me to be who I was especially at my second school which is the chapter where I spent all my initiated time.
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Gamma Phi Beta means so much to me.
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