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New member process

Monday, September 01, 2014

After the excitement of Bid Day ends, the new member experience begins. A new member is a woman who has accepted a bid from a sorority but is not yet an active member of that chapter. New members participate in education where they learn about the history of their sorority, experience formal pledging and receive a big sister. The culmination of the new member experience is initiation.

Each sorority has its own version of new member education. Some organizations have new members complete online training modules and  others conduct in-person education sessions. Often it is a combination of both online and in-person information. The content of the new member education programs typically focuses on the history, symbols values and expectations/standards of the organization. Many sororities have a new member educator who is an initiated member who guides the new members through the education process.

Fun sisterhood events and retreats may be part of the new member period. These provide new members a chance to get to know and learn from older chapter members and each other. Although many of the fun activities are not mandatory, they are a great way to get more involved in the sorority.

There are some ceremonies that new members participate in during this first phase of membership. Formal pledging is a service where new members ‘pledge’ their word to the sorority. There is also a big and little sister service. A big sister is an older member who serves as a new member’s mentor and guide throughout their sorority experience.

Initiation is the culmination of the new member experience. Going through initiation means that a woman is ready to make a lifetime commitment to her sorority.  After initiation, the new member period ceases and the woman is an active member.

The new member period is arguably one of the most exciting times of undergraduate sorority involvement. New members are the future of sorority leadership and the possibilities for new members to get involved are endless.

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