A recent headline on the front page of the O-A News proclaimed “Auburn Panhellenic hands out 1,433 bids.” The article states that 1,617 women were intent on receiving a bid to join a sorority. Out of those, 1,433 will become new sorority members. That means that 184 – nearly 200 – of those young ladies were rejected.

My knowledge of this whole process culminating in Bid Day has me confused. I also admit to a certain bias as I explore this topic, justified by the facts in the paragraph above.

Via the web, I have learned that “rush” is the time period when potential sorority members explore the various groups and decide which they’d like to pursue. Recruitment counselors help and advise the girls as they proceed through the process.

Some websites included advice for those recruitment counselors on how to deal with girls who are not given bids. It sounded like a tough experience on the part of both the counselor and the girl who is rejected.

One advice site said that this awful experience can be offset with a half-gallon of Ben and Jerry’s and a marathon session of “Sex and the City.” Rather a superficial response to what I’d assume could be a traumatic experience. Hopefully, there is advice on better ways to cope.

When we attended college, my future husband’s roommate invested a lot of energy into rush and deciding which fraternity he wanted to join. I don’t know how he decided, or what occurred during those weeks, but he was devastated when he did not receive a bid.

When I was a freshman at Virginia Tech, I was ignorant regarding the Panhellenic system. I’d heard about fraternities and sororities, but not having known anyone in either, I was not interested. What did interest me was to learn about organizations related to my major or interests.

Joining the Forestry Club ensured that I’d have friendships centered around a common interest (my major), and that I’d learn leadership skills and community focus.

Apparently, fraternities and sororities serve much the same functions as my Forestry Club did. However, there was no rush and no bidding involved – everyone was welcome. There was no threat of being rejected.

It’s not that I doubt that the sorority experience is worthwhile. It’s just that the risk of rejection makes the whole system less than desirable, in my opinion. Also, fraternity and sorority membership can be expensive, as much as several thousand dollars a year. There were few costs associated with my club other than dues and trip expenses.

My initial attendance at club meetings and activities informed the group of my interest. Someone helped me created a wooden ax, which I carried around for a week getting signatures of members.

The week culminated in a “Possum Hunt” when all the new pledges (Possums) were toted out to a secret location in the woods, teased mercilessly, subjected to non-demeaning, non-dangerous pranks and finally, initiated. All in serious, but good fun.

A young woman in our family was in a sorority in college, and now, several years after graduation, she is still close with many of her sisters.

That is something not only associated with the Greeks. I’m still in touch with my Forestry Club friends, and though we don’t live near one another, a couple of reunions have proved that we still appreciate our friendships.

To Greek or not to Greek? Thankfully, that is a question that I never had to address.

Susan Anderson lives in Opelika with her husband. Contact her at susan12anderson@gmail.com.

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