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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Running of the Greeks

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Rita Lichamer / Arizona Daily Wildcat

As women took their seats yesterday in the Grand Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center, the room filled with excitement and nervous energy. Sorority recruitment counselors stood on chairs above a crowd of around 1,100 potential new members. They began a 15-second countdown to the final moment of rush week, Bid Day.

Liz Hudson, a psychology freshman  and Alpha Delta Pi new member, could hardly contain her excitement.

“”This whole week has been crazy and it’s nice to know it’s coming to an end,”” she said.

When the countdown reached zero, envelopes ripped open and screams filled the hall as the women discovered which house they received a bid from.

Taylor Hall , an accounting freshman, let out a yell as she climbed over chairs to reach friends’ rows ahead of her after finding out which sorority she had been accepted into.

“”I got in Pi Phi!,”” Hall said.

During rush week, women formally meet all the houses and use a process known as mutual selection — prospective members and sororities submit electronic lists of preferences and are matched by a computer — to find their ideal house. On Bid Day, houses get to welcome and celebrate with their new members.

Hall and her eager peers quickly rushed outside and began the run to their new houses while active sorority members lead them through the streets of the UA.

Fortunately, the University of Arizona Police Department was on hand to prevent any running-of-the-bulls-style chaos.

UAPD began working with the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership and the Fraternity & Sorority Programs a few years ago to make the event safer for the women, said Jenny French Nirh , senior coordinator for Fraternity & Sorority Programs , the branch of CSIL that oversees Greek Life.

“”Both Parking and Transportation and UAPD have a process for closing the streets that involves notifying the area residents or office buildings, creating safe plans and staffing structures,”” she said.

Nevertheless, for pre-physiology freshman and new member of Pi Beta Phi Jessie Oliver , the event was hardly a walk in the park.

“”I was afraid I was going to fall,”” she said. “”All the boys started throwing water balloons and we were dodging them while running.””

But a few balloons weren’t enough to dampen Oliver’s excitement.

“”I’m so stoked for meeting all the new girls, living there for the next four years and having a new family,”” she said.

Each sorority house plans a series of events for their new members to participate in. Alpha Phi for example, has active members drive the new women to a park where they have a barbecue, a DJ, inflatable slides and swimming to enjoy, said Alpha Phi member and speech, language, and hearing sciences senior Alexa Kramer.

Pi Beta Phi member and philosophy junior McKenzie Sheldon  said her sorority had other fun planned for the new members.

“”We’re tie-dyeing shirts, our cook is making Mexican food for us and (we’re) just spending quality time with our new girls,”” she said.

According to Nirh, student recruitment counselors are required to be disaffiliated with their sorority throughout the week so that they do not influence the decisions of the women going through recruitment. For these women, holding back during the week means there is more of a reason to celebrate the organization they are a part of with a special song performed before the bids are opened.

But the event is not a free-for-all. As with any other greek registered event, there are rules for Bid Day.

“”Some specific rules are that Bid Day activities are not to involve men or alcohol because they are celebrating getting to know their new sorority sisters,”” Nirh said.

A recent addition to rush process policy is an educational session on the first day of rush week for every potential new member, on the use and abuse of alcohol and the policies and laws concerning both alcohol and hazing. This education session is unique to the UA campus.

Also, there are set hours for the event to ensure that the new women attend Freshman Convocation, residence hall meetings and get rest before the first day of classes.

But despite anxiety, hectic antics, and rigid rules, Bid Day is still a celebration for most women.

“”I remember my Bid Day,”” said Gina Cesare a member of Alpha Phi and a communication senior. “”It was overwhelming and I was anxious but excited.””

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