The George Washington University Panhellenic Association sororities welcomed 509 new sisters to GW Greek life at the annual Bid Day on Tuesday.
Students representing the 11 sororities chanted in bright colors, hoisting their letters in the air on the National Mall, as the new members ran toward their chosen sorority, signifying their acceptance of their “bid” or invitation to join the organization.
“Bid Day is a great celebration to welcome these women to the start of their life-long sorority membership,” Director of Student Involvement and Greek Life Christina Witkowicki said. “Hosting the celebration all together in such an amazing location as the National Mall helps to show all of our women what a large community they are a part of and some of the special opportunities that comes with being Greek at GW.”
“As a sister, the most exciting part of Bid Day is seeing all of the new members running toward their new home,” Chelsea Dern, president of Alpha Phi said. “I love watching every sorority screaming and jumping and sometimes crying with their new members.”
Rachael Abram, president of Panhel agreed, adding that the high-energy event is a great release after formal recruitment.
“The most exciting part of bid day is the moment when your chapter's new members first arrive to the National Mall and join the chapter for the first time,” she said. “Everyone is singing and cheering, and there is such a great energy of positivity and excitement once formal recruitment ends.”
Bid Day is the culmination of the five-day formal recruitment that includes four sessions: the open house, philanthropy, invitational and preference rounds.
This process allows the sororities to express their unique characteristics and match themselves with women who exemplify their values as an organization.
“Kappa Delta looks for strong, confident women who live by our open motto, ‘Ta Kala Diokomen,’ meaning let us strive for that which is honorable, beautiful and highest,” Joanna Rodriguez, president of Kappa Delta, said. “We want sisters who strive to meet their greatest potential in all aspects of life, and also want to instill confidence in others to do the same.”
Following these rounds the sororities and potential new members make a mutual selection of one another and the sorority extends an invitation or “bid” to join the organization.
But Bid Day is just the beginning for the new sisters. The goal is the make the new members feel welcome in their new family, Zoe Valentine, president of Alpha Delta Pi, said.
“We already know a lot about them through recruitment, but they have only been able to interact with a few sisters during rush,” Ms. Valentine said. “In Alpha Delta Pi we assign our new members a ‘violet sister’ to be their go-to person, give them shirts with their letters and a handbook. After the event we also host a few activities to get to know one another.”
Each sorority plans a full calendar of events, including philanthropy and social activities, to strengthen the bonds between members and take an active role in the GW and Greek life community.
“Greek life is a community of students who share the values of friendship, scholarship, philanthropy and service,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “We work together to spread these values to others and to always remind one another of our commitment to these in our own chapters and in our greater Greek community here at GW.”
Panhel is a part of GW Greek life, a cohort of more than 3,000 undergraduate students representing 43 active national fraternities and sororities. GW will celebrate 155th anniversary of Greek Life on campus this year.
The diversity of the organizations is exemplified in the newly released “GW Greek Life: More than our Letters” a video sponsored by the Center for Student Engagement and the governing Greek counsels.
“To me ‘more than our letters’ means that I'm a part of something greater than myself, or just my chapter,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “Greek students strive to be leaders in all areas of campus life and the D.C. community.”
“We're not just Greeks, we're athletes, honor students and leaders both on and off-campus, serving on executive boards, in internships, or with nonprofits throughout the city,” she said.