Once recruitment is over, new sorority members are eager to find their places in their chapters and begin forging bonds that will last a lifetime. But what happens after Bid Day?
After members accept their bid, they begin meeting and growing relationships with the other sorority women and learning more about their new sorority and expectations of membership all before they are initiated as full members of the sorority.
Most chapters have a system in place to help these women transition into sisterhood and cultivate a real sense of belonging. For many chapters, it starts with being partnered with an initiated sorority woman on Bid Day who welcomes a new member home and introduces her to others in the chapter. They may also pair up a new member with a different initiated sister each week to help her get to know as many sisters as possible. This allows potential members to begin growing relationships and have trusted women in the chapter who she can go to with any questions or concerns.
The New Member Process
Throughout the new member process, new members have the opportunity to connect with other sisters, learn the organization’s history, be paired with their big and prepare for initiation.
Connect with other sisters
Learn the organization’s History
Be paired with their big sister
Prepare for initiation
New Member Education
One important person in the chapter for new members is the new member educator. This sister may have a different role name depending on the organization, but her role as a chapter officer is essentially the same across all sororities. This is the sister who helps new members make connections with other chapter members and prepares new members for initiation by teaching chapter history, tradition and responsibilities. This is often called the new member education process. The new member educator is a key resource for questions, concerns and advice. Early on, she may help coordinate a new member retreat, allowing new members to bond together.
Going through the new member education process with other new members can create some of the deepest and most enduring friendships between sorority women. The new member class is made up of other women who you enter the sisterhood with and through this new shared experience, many strong relationships can grow. This new member class will soon be the sisters welcoming future new members and sharing the sorority experience with them.
Big and Little
For both new and active members, one of the most anticipated and exciting relationships is the big sister and little sister pairing. Social media images show happy duos celebrating at big and little reveals, working at philanthropy events and hanging out at socials and formals. While the big and little relationship can be a great friendship, it is first and foremost a mentorship.
A big sister is there to help her little sister acclimate to both sorority and college life. All the shared happy pictures and best-friend stories can put undue pressure on a relationship. With expectations running high, it’s important for new members to trust the process and put in the same effort that they did at recruitment. Chapters do their best to pair big and little sisters and some new members may feel some disappointment if she isn’t matched with her first choice. A big sister is chosen by her chapter because she is qualified to guide her little into sorority life. As in most relationships, an instantaneous bond is rarely the reality. New members who are open-minded, patient and intentional about cultivating this relationship are more likely to develop into something close and meaningful for both women. No matter what, give it a chance because this mentorship is all about ensuring the new member has what she needs to be successful.
All this relationship building is in place to prepare new members for full membership through initiation. During the new member education process, a chapter’s newest sisters learn all the public information about their sorority. During the initiation ceremony, they finally learn all the secret rituals, mottos, missions and symbol meanings unique to their sorority. Initiated sisters protect this knowledge as sacred and that creates a bond that connects sisters for a lifetime – not only within their own chapters but with those at different campuses and across generations.