Sororities welcome new members at colorful Bid Day

Inter-Sorority Council completes formal recruitment season

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Nameless Field was full of sights and sounds Sunday afternoon.

Aidan McWeeney and Raymundo Mora | Cavalier Daily

Despite the overcast day, energy was high as the Inter-Sorority Council swarmed Nameless Field Sunday for its annual Bid Day event.

The 15 ISC sororities gathered on the field to welcome their new sisters, with many students watching nearby from the surrounding hills and library balconies to cheer and observe. Each sorority group kept the field loud and energized in the minutes leading up to the event, with singing, coordinated cheers and dancing en masse.

The various sororities wore their respective chapter colors, donning coordinated outfits featuring clothing such as tutus, capes, jackets, and shiny leggings. Some groups even boasted animal mascots, with the occasional dog in a cape or colored clothing accompanying a group of sisters to the field. 

One by one, the addition of a new group of sisters to each sorority was signaled by the sound of an airhorn, with the new sisters running from Memorial Gymnasium out to their cheering sororities on the field. Although each group was welcomed in a variety of different ways, with some groups yelling and dancing, others sprinting out to meet their new sisters, and some shooting powder guns and silly string, each new group of girls was welcomed with cheers. 

The ISC Bid Day is the culmination of a five-stage recruitment process and almost a year of planning and preparation from the members of the ISC council. The five stages of the rush season are Round Robins, Philanthropy, House Tours, Preferences and Bid Day itself.

The first four stages of the process are meant to allow Potential New Members the opportunity to explore and acquaint themselves with the different chapters and their cultures, with Bid Day finally welcoming the women into their new sisterhood.

The recruitment process itself is led by the members of the ISC Executive Council, who oversee everything from publicity and policy to reserving and preparing Memorial Gym and Nameless Field for the event. 

“Recruitment is a team effort, and all 14 members of the recruitment team have been on Grounds working every day since Jan. 8 to ensure successful execution of the process,” said Rory Finnegan, a fourth-year College student and ISC president.

The ISC rush season saw an increase in participation numbers this year, with over 1,000 women registering for formal recruitment. The pledge class size for this year was set to 44, with some sororities falling slightly above and below this number. There was also a higher retention rate of women choosing to stay and participate in the complete recruitment process than in previous years. 

“Our goal is for all women who desire a home in the ISC to find one, so we have been working to ensure that registration information is readily available and that they have as much support as possible,” said Brittany Bolick, a fourth-year College student and vice president of Recruitment-PNM Affairs for ISC.  “I have been really pleased with the attitudes and demeanor of all of the women who have participated in this process and I am excited to see what the future holds for them.”

Finnegan shared a similar sentiment.

“One of the overarching goals we’ve worked towards this year is to make the Inter-Sorority Council more accessible and welcoming,” Finnegan said.  “Accessibility is a key issue when it comes to the membership intake process, and so we changed a number of things this year in the hopes of making recruitment more accessible for the wider community of women on Grounds.”

Several changes were implemented to meet this goal of increased accessibility. The application fee for ISC formal recruitment was lowered this year, and the registration deadline was extended three times past its original November deadline. In addition to this, an ISC recruitment video and sponsored advertisements across social media were created to raise awareness for the recruitment process. 

One notable change was at the recommendation of the National Panhellenic Conference, in which the ISC shifted from a three party preference model to a two party preference model during the rush season. Normally Preferences, or “Prefs,” is a critical moment in the rush process, in which potential sisters meet with their top chapter choices for a 60-minute discussion of the sorority and its sisters. This portion is designed to help the potential members in their decision-making process. 

The change of allowing potential sisters to choose two preferences instead of the usual three is “in the hopes of having more women receive — and importantly accept — bids from chapters that they are excited about,” Finnegan said.

For many, joining an ISC sorority is deeply significant to their experience at the University. 

“Many women — myself included — choose to join sororities for the wide network of women mentors, friends and confidants,” Finnegan said. “On Bid Day, that network becomes a reality — along with meaningful opportunities in leadership, service and more. Bid Day marks the beginning of a really exciting experience that extends far beyond one’s college years.”

Correction: The article previously misstated that 16 sororities were on Nameless Field during Bid Day. Instead, there were only 15.

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