Inter-Sorority Council hosts annual bid day event

The week-long recruitment process yielded a 71 percent match rate between sororities and rush participants


Alpha Delta Pi sorority sisters May Robinson, Grace Clarke, Allie Blair and Clare Hammonds (left to right) pose at the 2019 ISC bid day event.

Christina Anton | Cavalier Daily

The Inter-Sorority Council gathered in front of Newcomb Hall Sunday afternoon for its annual bid day event celebration. Crowds watched the festivities from the Range and in front of Newcomb. 

The formal recruitment process consists of four rounds — round robins, philanthropy, house tours and preference — and occurred Jan. 8 through Jan. 12. At the end of the week, the 15 ISC chapters offered bids to 671 participants. 

Annie Dodd, a third-year College student, president of the ISC and former assistant vice president of recruitment,  said that matching more registrants to sororities was a focus of the organization.

“One of the ISC’s goals this year was to intentionally work to increase the matching rate, so we are excited to see that change!” Dodd wrote in an email to The Cavalier Daily.  “As for the lower participation rate, I think it is merely a reflection of the schedule this year and the way in which recruitment conflicted with all university J terms.”

This year, 898 potential new members started the formal recruitment process — a decline from 945 registrants in 2018 and 978 in 2017. Of the 898 who started the process, 71 percent were matched to one of the chapters — an increase from previous years. In 2018, 69 percent matched and in 2017, around 64 percent matched.  

As each round progressed, the potential new members’ choices became more narrow based on a mutual selection process. Participants visited up to two sororities during the final preference round.

Round robins — the first round — occupied the first two days of recruitment, during which the participants met each of the 15 chapters. In the following round, choices were narrowed and students learned about the sororities’ philanthropy efforts. The third round opened up house tours to prospective members, and the final day consisted of meeting for an hour with up to two preferential houses.

First-year College student Maslyn Pessner said she expected the formal recruitment process to be more difficult than it actually was for her.  Pessner joined the Pi Beta Phi sorority on bid day.

“I ended up in the place I really wanted to be, which is nice,” Pessner said. “But at the same time, when you go through the process you realize that it doesn’t work out for so many people — so many people drop, and no one tells you that — so that also made my expectations change and made me feel luckier by the end.”

Hundreds of young women withdrew from rush at some point throughout the process. Many found the process stressful after being dropped by a sorority they particularly wanted. Moreover, participants who only list one sorority after the preferentials round — rather than ranking all of the options — are not guaranteed to receive a bid.

First-year College student Kayla Guerch, who dropped out of the rush process, said that the structure of formal recruitment wasn’t the ideal way to fully connect with sorority members.

“I thought the process was really fun,” Guerch said.  “All of the girls were really nice and definitely not the stereotype you would expect, but I decided to drop out because I didn’t feel like I was making any connections with the girls, and I felt like, for me, the formal recruitment process wasn’t the best way for me to feel comfortable in a sorority.”

First-year College student Ester Rekhelman said that deciding to only choose one sorority on preference night, a choice known as a single intentional preference, was a risk that ended well for her.  Rekhelman received a bid from Sigma Kappa.

“Me and my hallmates were on edge the entire morning, but [the ISC] told me I should come to Newcomb at 12:45, so that meant I had a bid,” Rekhelman said.  “I was really excited, and after that — once you open up your letter and everything — it’s super fun. We went and had fun with the girls, and I got to meet so many new people.”

Formal recruitment has a structured agenda and regulations. Sorority women and potential new members abide by rules that dictate appropriate communication before and during rush season in order to avoid preferential treatment and ensure fairness throughout the process.  

Before formal recruitment, sorority women are not able to invite first-years to sorority houses or personal residences, or visit first-years in residence halls. First-years are not allowed to attend any social events sponsored by a sorority, but may attend philanthropic events. During the week of recruitment, communication between members of a sorority and potential new members is strictly prohibited outside of scheduled recruitment events.  

Rekhelman said that she did not approach rush season with heightened expectations. 

“I think that was the best way to go into it, because there’s a lot of stuff that happens — with getting cut from different sororities that you thought were great — and then it could be a messy process for some, because they get a little hurt from it.” Rekhelman said. “But you really can’t take anything personally. You really don’t know the system behind it.  My expectations were met because I didn’t really have super high expectations, and I was pretty happy with what I ended up with.”

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