soror baloonTomorrow is a big day for all you Sorority hopefuls out there: starting at noon, dreams will be made and hearts broken as new member bids become available for pickup in Lerner. This moment represents the culmination of nearly a week of Formal Recruitment events—the details of which, to many Columbia students, are nearly as big of a mystery as why anyone would want to join a sorority in the first place. To shed a bit of light on the situation, Bwog regales you with a run-down of the process, followed by the Cliff-Notes version of key pages of the Fall Recruitment Handbook (available here online; click on “handbook” at the bottom of the list of links).

On Sunday, all interested “potential members” started the pledge process by attending four different introductory parties, each thrown by one of Columbia’s four sororities, to give future members a taste of what each group was all about. Parties lasted one-half hour each and did not overlap. On Monday, all those who were still interested went to four more parties. Again, each was thrown by a different sorority, but this time, the parties had a philanthropic theme, meant to introduce potential members to the respective Sisterhoods’ highest standards of community service. On Tuesday, “Skit Night,” potential members were allowed to go to a maximum of three parties, chosen through “mutual selection.” As the handbook tells us, “During each party, members of the host sorority will put on a skit what will allow you to become more familiar with its sisterhood.” Fun!

Tonight, everyone who has stuck with the process throughout the week will get all fussied up in formal dress and attend a maximum of two parties.  At each party, potential members will “share in a special ceremony coordinated by the host sorority to mark your entry into the Greek community.” This is new member’s final chance to decide whether or not greek life is rigt for them.  At the end of the night, each recruit will a “preference card” stating which sorority is her first choice. Bids are made tomorrow at noon: those who receive one are totally in.

After the jump, we turn to the handbook.



Page 3: Letter to Potential New Members.

In which future sorority members are welcomed to the process, assured that it is one of “mutual selection,” and told not to be afraid. Main point: Sisterhood is da Bomb.

Page 4: Presentation of the Pan-Hellenic Council and the Pan-Hellenic Creed.

In which we are bored by pomp and officialdom. Main point: Sororities use the aforementioned process of “mutual selection” in order to ensure maintenance of their “highest scholastic and social standards.”

Page 9: What Should I Talk About?

In which the ever-wise Pan-Hellenic Council eases the social tension inherent to events such as sorority recruitment by giving potential members a list of topics of conversation, and in which potential members wonder whether or not the Pan-Hellenic Council is implying that they are socially awkward. Main point: Talk about charities!

Pages 10-11: Fun Facts About Sororities.

In which we learn that every sorority has a color, a flower, a jewel, a symbol, a motto and a philanthropic cause. In which we learn that three out of four sororities lay claim to the pearl. In which we wonder who that girl is whose face has been rubbed out of the Alpha Chi group photo. Main Point: Most sororities are a really great excuse to wear the exact same thing as all of your friends. If you have an individual sense of style, join Delta Gamma.

Page 12: Recruitment Counselors.

In which it is implied that, if you go through this process, you will probably end up in need of counseling. Main point: We’re here to help!

Page 13: Rules of Recruitment.

In which we learn the following:

1. “During Recruitment, current sorority members are prohibited from discussing with you the following topics: boys, alcohol, bars, and sorority housing. If any of these should be mentioned, or if you should be made to feel uncomfortable by a current sorority member, please don’t hesitate to speak to a Recruitment Counselor or to a member of the Pan-Hellenic Council.”

2. “While common interaction is allowed, no discussion about sorority life or Recruitment is permitted between current sorority sisters and Potential New Members outside of the recruitment parties.”

3. “No sorority sister may visit you at your dorm room, nor may you visit a sorority sister at her residence.”

Main point: You can’t talk about alcohol, but if Alpha Chi’s previously stated motto is any indication, then everything you’ve heard about sororities is true: “Together, Let Us Seek the Heights.”

Page 14: Potential New Member’s Bill of Rights, Non-Hazing Policy, Non-Discrimination Policy.

In which we learn that this is America, Damnit! Main point: We won’t (read: legally can’t) take advantage of you.

Now aren’t you sad you didn’t rush? For all those who did: Bwog wishes you nothing but the best of luck, tonight and for the next four years.