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  #31  
Old 10-19-2011, 08:15 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Originally Posted by melindawarren View Post
Another thing I've wondered about-and this is just speculation, and I hope I don't get jumped all over for saying this, but it's something I've thought about-how big are the groups we're talking about here? I mean, there've been monster pledge classes in the last few years. I just think that there may be girls who drop after a certain amount of time because they just don't feel like they can make any headway in such a large group (I don't just mean leadership-wise. How can such a large group mix with a fraternity? What about sisterhood activities?). I can't really speak to it because I'm not in something very big, but I can only imagine that, with a huge group, someone could get lost in the shuffle. But this is all just speculation.
I think that the girls who would drop out solely because of a ginourmous pledge class size are girls who were led to expect (by moms or sisters who attended VERY different type schools) a completely different experience. Ditto girls who were raised hearing about SEC size classes and then come to the Northeast for school and are flabbergasted by their "big" pledge class of 20.

The softer (I won't say shorter, because for many chapters, it HASN'T become any shorter) approach to pledging begain in the mid 90s. Greek life was in the toilet and I think this was a desperate attempt to retain members. It has backfired completely, IMO.

Much of what has been cut out has been the time available for the women to get to know the history, and also to get to know the chapter members (through interviews, coke dates etc). It's pretty delusional to rush the way that we do, and then not carry that on into pledging, i.e. "you joined not because you love the philanthropy or our values, but mainly because you liked the girls you met at this particular chapter. However, continuing to build that relationship isn't really going to be part of your pledging - everything is going to be focused on the national organization." In other words...the NPC groups are trying to rush like they always did, and then thinking they'll be able to get the kind of member loyalty the NPHC groups have. It doesn't work that way.
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  #32  
Old 10-19-2011, 08:26 PM
KSUViolet06 KSUViolet06 is offline
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Originally Posted by thetalady View Post
AMEN!!! I agree that the Big/ Little program is absolutely key to retention, a cohesive chapter and even involvement as an alum after graduation.
I'm glad I'm not the only person with that opinion.

It's SUCH a valuable tool that chapters don't use to its fullest extent/potential. So many positive things can come out of taking it to that mentorship level instead of letting it just be a presentfest.
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  #33  
Old 10-19-2011, 09:18 PM
melindawarren melindawarren is offline
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Originally Posted by KSUViolet06 View Post

Also, and this is just my own opinion here, I feel like there's a link in retention and the Big-Little Sis program. Too often, I think the Big/Little relationship becomes mostly about gifts and chapters don't use it to its full potential as a MENTOR relationship, which is what I feel it's meant to be. My Big did WAY more for me than just give me presents. I am who I am today in Sigma because she modeled involvement to me and I said "I want to be like that."
See, that's the thing. We didn't get any gifts from our bigs (that's a lie: we got a small gift during the reveal, but it's not like we got gifts throughout the week). Instead, we spent the week "getting to know" our bigs (without knowing who they were, obviously). I liked ours a lot, actually. I felt like, even though my big and I were close before, I didn't really know her that well until big/little week. But we also learned a lot about each other's bigs and our other "family members." In short, our big/little week was centered on bonding and getting to know each other better. It was really enjoyable and I remember leaving the revelation and thinking, "wow, I am so glad I got to know this group of girls!" I seriously loved them a million times more after that week. I don't know if I would have felt so close to everyone if I'd just gotten a bunch of gifts.

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Originally Posted by 33girl View Post
Much of what has been cut out has been the time available for the women to get to know the history, and also to get to know the chapter members (through interviews, coke dates etc). It's pretty delusional to rush the way that we do, and then not carry that on into pledging, i.e. "you joined not because you love the philanthropy or our values, but mainly because you liked the girls you met at this particular chapter. However, continuing to build that relationship isn't really going to be part of your pledging - everything is going to be focused on the national organization." In other words...the NPC groups are trying to rush like they always did, and then thinking they'll be able to get the kind of member loyalty the NPHC groups have. It doesn't work that way.
Wow, definitely. I mean, during rush, you're supposed to get to know the girls. You aren't supposed to become an XYZ because Heal the Bay is your favorite charity, nor are you supposed to fall in love with ABC because their values and mission closely align with your personal views. You're supposed to find the place where you fit best. But then, when you're a new member, as you said, it's all about the history and philanthropy and values. That's quite a disconnect, actually.

Admittedly, I'm the researching type (no duh) and I actually made charts with the name, founding date and location, colors, symbols, mascots, jewels, flowers and philanthropies of each sorority on the USC campus (I did one for Berkeley, too, because my best friend goes there and I hoped that she'd rush. She didn't), mostly so I didn't wear something I shouldn't wear (like anchor jewelry or anything with a fleur-de-lis), but also to familiarize myself with the histories of the groups. Most of my friends who rushed were kind of shocked to discover that they had to learn about the orgs they joined (not SC people; high school people).

There's definitely a disconnect, but I would assume that this disconnect would cause more dropouts right off the bat (like, the day that new members start new member education), rather than after initiation.
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Last edited by melindawarren; 10-19-2011 at 09:23 PM.
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  #34  
Old 10-19-2011, 09:58 PM
DeltaBetaBaby DeltaBetaBaby is offline
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Originally Posted by melindawarren View Post
See, that's the thing. We didn't get any gifts from our bigs (that's a lie: we got a small gift during the reveal, but it's not like we got gifts throughout the week). Instead, we spent the week "getting to know" our bigs (without knowing who they were, obviously). I liked ours a lot, actually. I felt like, even though my big and I were close before, I didn't really know her that well until big/little week. But we also learned a lot about each other's bigs and our other "family members." In short, our big/little week was centered on bonding and getting to know each other better. It was really enjoyable and I remember leaving the revelation and thinking, "wow, I am so glad I got to know this group of girls!" I seriously loved them a million times more after that week. I don't know if I would have felt so close to everyone if I'd just gotten a bunch of gifts.
You know, this just reminded me of something...during rush, you put the girls you want most with the best rushers, but during big/little pairings, everyone gets a little, so some "littles" are left with the girls who were not great rushers. But only one of them was my little; the other actually went to someone who had been on the computer committee. I took the other girl out for coffee or something shortly after the reveal, but it's just not the same. I would guess that maybe one-third of my class preffed more than two-thirds of the class below us.

This isn't to say that someone can't be a great big if they are a lousy rusher, but the better rushers are more likely to make the little feel like an insta-friend.
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  #35  
Old 10-20-2011, 12:02 AM
KSUViolet06 KSUViolet06 is offline
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My chapter didn't do "everyone gets a Little." NMs had a list of women eligible to be Bigs and listed their top 5 in a ranked order, potential Bigs did the same and they were matched as best as possible. This obviously leads to some people not getting Littles, as the more outgoing chapter members are usually the top choices.

I went 2 years without getting one (at the time it was "zomg I'll never get one and no one likes meee!!!" but looking back it was because I wasn't extra outgoing--I was an okay rusher, not the best) then I ended up meshing really well with my Little because she (like me) wasn't really super outgoing. So I think it just depends on how chapters do things.

Also, I've seen it happen where a chapter makes Big/Little all about "we only want the super cute blondes in our fam because our fam is the supercute fam, yay!!!" and that (again) sells the relationship short and reduces it to pointless present giving and "omg yayyyy cutest fam EVER!"

Sidenote: Murphy's Law of Sorority Life states that "zomg supercutest little EVERRRRR" type pairs WILL hate each other by senior year and nothing good will come of their pairing except drama which results in one or more people quitting.

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  #36  
Old 10-20-2011, 11:31 AM
AXOrushadvisor AXOrushadvisor is offline
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Someone mentioned the getting to know you activities that were dropped. In our Chapter they were called "coke dates". All pledges had a little book and they had to meet with every active in the Chapter and ask her questions. This took sometimes weeks, but it was a good investment IMO. This is now considered hazing.

In the early 80's the programs were very structured with exams throughout the program on different aspects of the sorority. You then had to pass a big exam at the end AND your grades had better be at or above the requirement to get initiated when you came back in January.

When you spend a semester to get initiated instead of 6-8 weeks you have a bigger investment and in my opinion more of an ownership of the Chapter and process. I do think the shortened period does lead to people quitting, not staying involved and really missing the true essence of sisterhood. And I do seem to remember the big push for a shortened period was hazing. My opinion on hazing though is that Chapters either do it or don't. Hazing, I believe, is based more on the traditions of the Chapter as a whole and there are still Chapters participating in hazing with shortened periods. One had their Charter pulled last year for it.
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  #37  
Old 10-20-2011, 11:57 AM
DudeFromAcacia DudeFromAcacia is offline
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In my Acacia chapter, the pledging process still take an entire trimester and our initiation week was after the break also beginning with week 1 of winter term.

From what I can understand, it all depends on how much stuff you can get done with the amount of time you have for the pledges to go through their pledging process. If you can fit in a lot of activities that allow you to dor more bonding and get to know each other better, then you're set. Sometimes you might have an entire term, but if the house doesn't take a lot of initiative to start planning events and activities, then it'll be harder to get a good grip on the pledges who are potential members of the organization. Having more time leads to more potential of creating a stronger bond with the house, but utilizing the time you have is all that matter in my opinion.

As for hazing, it's pretty subjective. I mean, I've heard of certain houses that holds "pledge meetings" and "pledge education" where they get to learn more about the house/organization and stuff like that, and some people think of it as hazing if it's forced onto the pledges and it's an absolute requirement for them to attend it. I think it's pretty silly but that's just my opinion, the pledges are pledging the house for a reason and if it's not important for them to be there to learn about the house that they will about to become a part of then what's the point of pledging in the first place?
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  #38  
Old 10-20-2011, 12:05 PM
DeltaBetaBaby DeltaBetaBaby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AXOrushadvisor View Post
Someone mentioned the getting to know you activities that were dropped. In our Chapter they were called "coke dates". All pledges had a little book and they had to meet with every active in the Chapter and ask her questions. This took sometimes weeks, but it was a good investment IMO. This is now considered hazing.
The thing is, nothing says this has to be done before initiation. I think it would be great if the older girls planned "coke dates" throughout the first semester or year or whatever. That would help to cut down on the "I just initiated and don't feel connected" that we see so often.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it has less to do with the actual length of the pledge period, and more to do with the way you pledge, initiate, and then....nothing...In housed chapters, you generally don't move in until the following year, and in unhoused chapters, you may not start to hold offices and stuff until later. I think a short pledge program is fine (if it really does cut down on hazing), but then it needs to be followed up with a new initiate program or something.

I know some NPC's are trying to restructure their member ed. to go all four years, and I think that's critical. How about NM programming, then New Initiate programming, then minor officer/committee member programming, then e-board programming, then senior programming? That's oversimplifying, but I think we have just as much trouble losing seniors as New-I's. Seniors may not leave, but they pay their dues and only show up to totally mandatory events.

I think SigEp really does a great job on this stuff in their Balanced Man program. I don't know much about it, but maybe it could be emulated elsewhere.
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  #39  
Old 10-20-2011, 12:08 PM
ree-Xi ree-Xi is offline
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Originally Posted by AXOrushadvisor View Post
Someone mentioned the getting to know you activities that were dropped. In our Chapter they were called "coke dates". All pledges had a little book and they had to meet with every active in the Chapter and ask her questions. This took sometimes weeks, but it was a good investment IMO. This is now considered hazing.

In the early 80's the programs were very structured with exams throughout the program on different aspects of the sorority. You then had to pass a big exam at the end AND your grades had better be at or above the requirement to get initiated when you came back in January.

When you spend a semester to get initiated instead of 6-8 weeks you have a bigger investment and in my opinion more of an ownership of the Chapter and process. I do think the shortened period does lead to people quitting, not staying involved and really missing the true essence of sisterhood. And I do seem to remember the big push for a shortened period was hazing. My opinion on hazing though is that Chapters either do it or don't. Hazing, I believe, is based more on the traditions of the Chapter as a whole and there are still Chapters participating in hazing with shortened periods. One had their Charter pulled last year for it.
In AXiD, we had something similar. We had to interview and get a signature from every active sister (at the time, there were 56). In addition to basic interview questions, we had to add our own "fun" questions.

The interaction had to last a minimum of 10 minutes, and could consist of any activity - lunch at the cafeteria, hanging out in her room, etc. It forced us - though I don't like the word "force" - to meet and at least get to know each member on a basic level. Twenty years later, I still remember little bits of facts such as middle names and hometowns. Sometimes, an active would give us a "task" to earn her signature, usually something silly like bringing a note to someone else and waiting for a reply or singing a song, or answering a question about fraternity history.

There were also requirements for things to be done as a pledge class, which essentially ensured that we spent time together.

Obviously, there is room for these sort of things to get out of control and be labeled as hazing, but I think that these type of "requirements" gave us plenty of opportunity to get to know each other.
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  #40  
Old 10-20-2011, 12:35 PM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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Originally Posted by ree-Xi View Post
In AXiD, we had something similar. We had to interview and get a signature from every active sister (at the time, there were 56). . . . It forced us - though I don't like the word "force" - to meet and at least get to know each member on a basic level.
Not NPC, of course, but we did very much the same thing. In our case, it was a hat that had to be signed. By the end of the probationary member period (about 6 weeks at the time), your hat had to have the signatures of all active brothers. The only brother who would offer to sign your hat was your big brother. For all other brothers, you had to approach them and at the least have the kind of conversation you describe to get to know them. Some brothers would sign the hat at that point, while others might say something like they'd sign the hat when you gave them the answer to a fraternity trivia question. That sent you off to learn more about the Fraternity.

It's been decades, and I still have my hat.
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  #41  
Old 10-20-2011, 01:12 PM
Mevara Mevara is offline
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Originally Posted by AXOrushadvisor View Post
Someone mentioned the getting to know you activities that were dropped. In our Chapter they were called "coke dates". All pledges had a little book and they had to meet with every active in the Chapter and ask her questions. This took sometimes weeks, but it was a good investment IMO. This is now considered hazing.
I really like the idea of "coke dates" and wish they would bring it back. I wonder if you did it as an entire chapter (since you are not singling anyone out) that it would not be considered hazing.
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  #42  
Old 10-20-2011, 06:27 PM
AOIIalum AOIIalum is offline
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Originally Posted by KSUViolet06 View Post
I'm glad I'm not the only person with that opinion.

It's SUCH a valuable tool that chapters don't use to its fullest extent/potential. So many positive things can come out of taking it to that mentorship level instead of letting it just be a presentfest.
YES!!! It's so not about presents, although it's nice to get a bunch of letter items or sorority gifts. It's also not (necessarily) about being best friends, either. If you get your New Member programming correct--and continue to build on that throughout the years I believe it'll be a lot easier to retain those members. Member education and attention just doesn't end after initiation!
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  #43  
Old 10-20-2011, 08:18 PM
melindawarren melindawarren is offline
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Originally Posted by ree-Xi View Post
In AXiD, we had something similar. We had to interview and get a signature from every active sister (at the time, there were 56). In addition to basic interview questions, we had to add our own "fun" questions.

The interaction had to last a minimum of 10 minutes, and could consist of any activity - lunch at the cafeteria, hanging out in her room, etc. It forced us - though I don't like the word "force" - to meet and at least get to know each member on a basic level. Twenty years later, I still remember little bits of facts such as middle names and hometowns. Sometimes, an active would give us a "task" to earn her signature, usually something silly like bringing a note to someone else and waiting for a reply or singing a song, or answering a question about fraternity history.
Aside from the bold portion, I see no reason why chapters shouldn't expect everyone to do this. How else do you get to know people?
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  #44  
Old 10-20-2011, 08:21 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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I really like the idea of "coke dates" and wish they would bring it back. I wonder if you did it as an entire chapter (since you are not singling anyone out) that it would not be considered hazing.
If you do it as an entire chapter, it kind of defeats the purpose. Some people don't shine in a group situation and I had interviews one on one with sisters that were WAY better than they would have ever been had it been everyone together, going around the room answering questions or something.
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  #45  
Old 10-20-2011, 08:25 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Aside from the bold portion, I see no reason why chapters shouldn't expect everyone to do this. How else do you get to know people?
Because of the bold portion - this is why interviews were banned by NPC groups. Too many people went overboard with what you should have to do to "earn" the interview or signature. We NEVER used them in that way, even something mild like what ree-xi mentions makes me uncomfortable.

Of course, it would have been nice if the people abusing them would have been the only ones punished with their elimination and everyone else could have kept what was for many people their favorite part of pledging...but that would make too much sense.
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