There has been a lot of “chatter” on line  lately about “bumping”.  For those of you that are old like me it’s not the dance that we did a long time ago where you bumped hips, then your tush and then the other hip. It is also not the word you use in a discussion board when you want the topic to move to the top of the board.

Nope!  Bumping is a process used during formal recruitment to allow a smooth transition between the sorority girl who initially has picked up the PNM at the door and the next sister who has come into the conversation.   I briefly touched on this in an earlier post but this is how a bump might go.

Let’s talk about bumping.  Day 1 and Suzy sorority girl picks up Patty PNM at the door.  As they walk in a casual conversation will begin usually having to do with move-in, the weather, why did PNM choose school XYZ.  Each sorority has a different bump schedule and so I am going to just hypothesize this scenario.  Since this is the first day of recruitment and a 20 minute party let’s say that there will be 4 bumps.  So.. about.5 minutes into the conversation sorority sister #2 comes up to the conversation, smiling expectantly and Suzy will then say, “Hi Sarah…this is Patty.  Patty is a music major.  Didn’t you take a great listening course last spring through the music department”?  Sarah will then respond and Suzy will politely excuse herself and go onto her next bump.

I bet you’re wondering if every time someone bumps do you again have the same superficial conversation.  Hopefully not!!!  Suzy sorority girl and her sisters have been practicing this process since last spring.   Using simulated recruitment parties with “fake PNM’s” they have been working on not only making sure that they bump through their whole schedule but also that the conversations flow and seem natural.

Bumping will continue through out your recruitment week.  As the week goes on you may experience fewer bumps and have more in depth conversations with the girls who you are chatting with.  I always liked the whole process both as PNM and on the other side.  As a PNM, if I was having a difficult time connecting with a particular girl, I knew that I would have another chance to connect with the next girl who came along.  The same became true when I was the one bumping.  I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I have had the unfortunate circumstance of being paired with a PNM whom I had NOTHING in common with.  I know you are asking yourself the question, “But I thought she said that the girls were picked up at the door by people who have something in common with them”.  That’s true for the most part but  mix ups can (and do) occur AND back in the dinosaur days we just picked up whoever cam up the walk next…(no recruitment rocket science back then :).

So how many bumps happen during a recruitment party.  During the first parties you may experience as few as 2 and as many as 4 or 5 bumps.  Some sororities want you to meet as many members as possible so that they can get to know you better.  Remember their first impression of you so far is just on paper, your rec and pic.  Now is their chance to talk with you and see those paper stats in person and to figure out if the can see you as a member of their sisterhood.  The power doesn’t only lie in their hands though, this is also your chance to asses them and determine whether this is the right fit for you as well.  As the week progresses you may find that bumps will increase or decrease, it just depends on that particular sorority.  Each sororities bump schedule is different.   At Preference you will not bump (let’s just say it’s pretty unusual if you do).  You will be paired with a girl who you have a connection with.  Remember, they are trying to make you see yourself as a member of their sorority.  They want YOU to feel the connection, to picture yourself wearing their pin and to write their name in that number 1 spot on that Pref card.  Emotions tend to run high and it is meant to be that way.

One last thing about bumping. There seems to be a misconception the number of “bumps” you experience is directly related to how much a sorority does /does not want you.  For the most part this is not true.  The number of “bumps” is only related to the bump schedule.   I supposed there is a random sorority out there that might “bump” a particular girl because she is a “top girl” on their list but this isn’t the norm.  If you worry about this you will drive yourself CRAZY…DON”T!!!!!!  You need to focus on the things you can control, great conversation, your smile and willingness to connect with the girls you talk to and most importantly being the best “you” that you can be.

Ok quick bump story.  During my recruitment as a PNM I had the worst bump experience ever.  Afer bring lead in to a particular sorority house, we were ushered into their formal living room where a very large double circle of chairs had been arranged.  Suzy sorority girl indicated that I should sit in a chair on the outside of the ring and she took the chair on the inside of the ring directly opposite me our knees actually touching!!!  A beautiful girl in a fabulous dress stood on the raised fireplace hearth with a small silver bell in her hand.  As she rang the bell one time Suzy leaned forward and began to chatter away at a terrific speed (speed talking!).  Feeling the urgency in the situation I also answered each question as quickly as I could, it kind of reminded me of the lightning round in a game show. Several minutes into the question and answer session the girl on the hearth rang the bell.  In unison the sorority girls in the inner circle stood stepped to the next chair to their right, the bell rang again and speed conversation number two began.   Talking about an unnerving recruitment party!!!  Needless to say I did not return.  Not sure if it was because of the look of bewilderment on my face each time the shift occurred or because I put them last on my list.

Good news is that this type of bumping does not occur anymore (at least I hope not)!  And well if it does then you will most certainly know if this is the right fit for you or not.  The bumping process is actually to your advantage although at times it may not feel that way.  Bumping gives you the advantage to see yourself.  Although you do not have control over who you talk to you do have control over the image you present.  So when you hit that first house on the first day of recruitment get ready to do “the bump”!