Every year, a new wave of first-year students are invited into the realm of sisterhood. Through the four seemingly never-ending rounds of sorority rush, girls search for a place to call home. But this search does not end when they receive their bid.
Through lunch and study dates, a week full of being spoiled with surprise gifts and the final big reveal, sorority pledges go on the search to find the person to guide them on this new journey of sisterhood.
Hannah Duncan and Claire Pickering sit at a small brown table in the middle of Garden Dining Commons. The table is set for four people but the other two chairs have yet to be occupied.
They met during Hannah’s recruitment process. The two grew close and became very fond of one another.
“I took first-semester chemistry, but I’m gonna have to re-take it for grad school,” Claire said as she talked to Hannah about future goals and aspirations.
As they eat, they talk about what the future of being in Chi Omega would look like. Claire gives tips about how to balance sorority life and academics. What was the key? Always prioritize.
“You don’t have to go to every single thing. You have to find that balance,” Claire said.
The conversation bounces back and forth without skipping a beat and doesn’t stay on one topic for very long. The two recount stories from high school, funny tweets and discuss their lives as college students. As the conversation persists, Claire acts as a mentor to Hannah, whether she’s aware of it or not.
With every concern Hannah brings up, Claire has an answer or says something that asserts that she’s older and more experienced, such as offering to use her car to give Hannah a ride to Walmart — a privilege many first-year students don’t have.
Allie Koepeck’s phone pings with a new notification. Instagram’s colorful logo shines on her screen.
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As she clicks on the notification and opens the page, she is welcomed by old and embarrassing pictures of herself. Photos that only your mother or a close family member would have. Underneath each picture is a message from her big.
One photo, which showed her with an extremely excited expression, was captioned, “How my little felt when she found out I was her big!”
“It's so weird because you don't even know the people from the sorority that follow [the Instagram account] and [eventually] your friends will find out about,” Allie said. “But I think it's cool [to have] somebody to put that much effort into you and really care about you.”
Before the week had started, she had received messages from her big off of a fake number, most likely generated from a text app. Each day, she would get texts from her big like, “I can’t wait to spoil you!” and “So excited to hang out with you!”
Each day when Allie would return home from classes, she’d have a gift from her big waiting. Food, candy, passed down Chi Omega memorabilia and swag, water bottles and stuffed animals have been among the items Allie has received from her big.
Thursday, the last day of receiving gifts from her big, Allie received a white t-shirt with the character Sophie from the musical "Mamma Mia!" printed on the front along with the shirt she receives a note that reads, “Wear this to the reveal.”
For Megan Smith, watching the reveal process unfold is especially rewarding. As sponsor chair, she is in charge of pairing all the new sorority pledges with their bigs.
Over the few weeks after Bid Day, she has coordinated and matched up the girls in Tri Delta up by the ranks they gave after the first week of dates.
As a sophomore herself, this position allows her to resonate more with the first-year girls who await to find out who their big is.
“It definitely is a different perspective. When I was going through it, I was so nervous that I wouldn't get the big I wanted,” Megan said. “It's a lot of pressure, but at the end of the day, it's, like, really rewarding.”
At the reveal, the older members of the Tri Delta sorority gather into McGuffey Hall in their matching outfits to distinguish the different “families” from one another.
As the sorority pledges are brought into the room, their big is covered with a sheet held by an assortment of grand big and grand-grand bigs who are in outfits that match their respective little.
As the littles stand waiting for their big to be revealed, Megan stands on the stage directing the process. Their excitement fills the room as they watch for Megan’s signal.
“Three, two, one!” Megan yells into the room.
At the end of the countdown, the sheets are dropped, revealing the person the littles have been waiting for all week long.