Looking outside at this cold winter morning I am remembering a warmer time…..summer… and more specifically Bid Day for my daughter back in August of 2010. I must admit I am EXTREMELY sentimental and for some reason this morning I keep thinking about the events of her Bid Day (oh and tearing up…sitting here hold the box of Kleenexes..LOL). I think it’s because I had a mom ask me not very long ago about Bid Day at the SEC where she attends. This mom (and her daughter) are trying to make a decision about where to attend college and Greek life is very important to them. Since they are from “the north”, they are unfamiliar with the competitive recruitment of the “southern” schools. So she turned to me to explain it to her. She wanted to know if parents attended such an event. Are you kidding me???? I would not have missed this day for the world!!! So after thinking about my explanation as to why she should (and MUST) attend, I thought maybe I would share my Bid day experience with you.
Bid Day culminates a week long schedule of recruitment events. Starting with convocation on Saturday night the girls attend 2 days of Ice Water Teas (visiting all of the NPC sororities on campus over 2 days), then 2 days of Philanthropy parties (a maximum of 11 houses can be visited on these 2 days), 1 day of Skit parties (a maximum of 7 houses can be visited) and finally Preference (a maximum of 3 Preference parties may be attended). After attending the Preference party the PNM’s walk silently to a designated ballroom where they sign their Preference card, putting the house they liked best in the #1 spot and so on.
I had flown in on Preference Day, meeting my second daughter at the local airport. We rented a car and killed time while my daughter attended her three Pref parties and signed her card. I have to tell you that I didn’t know how many Pref parties she had invites to when I left to get on my plane. Panhellenic had told us at Preview Weekend that if you were invited to 3 parties you were guaranteed at bid to one of the houses. On Skit Day (remember max of 7 parties) my daughter had only been invited back to 4 houses. This day was stressful off the charts!!!!! Ate 6 cupcakes in 30 minutes :). So you can imagine I was pretty nervous (ok no…I was VERY nervous!). In addition they took her phone for the day so she had no way to call and even leave a message as to what her Pref schedule looked like!
When we finally met up late that evening I was relieved to find that she had gotten invites to 3 parties..yay!!! We spent a little time together and then I headed back to the hotel to get some sleep before the “BIG DAY”.
The next morning my second daughter and I go up, had a bite of breakfast (literally a bite..was way too nervous to eat) and headed over to campus. I had been told to go and stand on the lawn of the sorority that my daughter had put first on her card. It was stifling hot and very humid..even at 10 am. I was shocked and amazed to find hundreds of parents and in fact whole families milling around sorority row. White wooden folding chairs were placed on all of the lawns, small children played in between them as parents sat fanning themselves in the heat. We found a spot at “the house” and sat in a chair. Sitting next to us were several mom and we struck up a conversation about how the week had gone for each of our daughters. Since we were all sitting on the same lawn we all had this common bond of our girls choosing this house….the question was would this house choose them?
It turned out that one of the moms had “connections” to someone who had “THE LIST”. This list was the listing of all of the girls who were still participating in recruitment (I guess I should add that appx 1650 girls had started this process and we had heard that as of this morning only about 1050 remained), and where they received a bid. She asked if we wanted to know where our girls had gone and OF COURSE we all said yes!!! She looked up my daughter first and tears flowed when she said that my daughter had received a bid to her first choice house, the lawn I was currently sitting on. I was relieved that I would not have to move. I should tell you we had arranged it so if my daughter did not get her first choice she would text me and I would scurry to the appropriate lawn.
Several of the other mothers were not so lucky and they were forced to gather their things and went off in search of another lawn. It was a few moments after this that the doors of the house opened and streams of sorority girls in blue dresses holding diamond shaped paddles, with names printed on them, came out the front door. In my obsession with “THE LIST” I hadn’t even noticed that the street was lined with fraternity boys, most wearing long sleeved button down collared shirts and khaki pants, holding bouquets of flowers. There was an excited buzz in the air as we all anticipated the “Squeal ” that would momentarily arise from the stadium just over the horizon.
The PNM’s, including my daughter, had arrived at the stadium about 15 minutes earlier and upon arrival found their Rho Chi group and were sitting impatiently waiting to be handed their bid cards. The cards were in sealed in envelopes inside of a manila envelope. The Rho Chi’s distributed the bids and my daughter was instructed to sit on it until the time came to open her bid. They divulged the sorority affiliation of each Rho Chi and then the jumbo tron counted down 5….4…..3….2….1….the bull horn shouted “open your bids!” and a squeal arose from the stadium that could be heard where we were sitting on sorority row and I think probably all the way across town.
My daughter then ran down to the bowels of the stadium, where she met up with three sorority sisters who held brightly painted Greek letters that symbolized her new home and the rest of the girls who would form her pledge class. One at a time the new pledge classes ran out of the stadium, behind their letters, down sorority row, to the lawn where we, the parents and families and their new sisters, waited in anticipation. I guess I should tell you that as we watched the end of the street it was really running but rather a pulsing of girls..kind of like an ocean wave as it meets the shore. By this time, each sorority had emptied its contents of girls and as you looked out onto the street you saw a sea of rainbow of colored paddles. The fraternity boys were poised and ready and as the wave of girls pulsed by they quickly thrust flowers into the girls hands.
By the time my daughter arrived on the lawn of her “new home” she held a bouquet of roses and a smile as big a Texas. Her “Bid Day Buddy” (the girl holding the diamond shaped paddle with her name on it ) quickly found her, placed her jersey (a heavy t-shirt in the colors of the sorority and appliqued with the sororities letters) over her head and gave her the tote bag she had on her shoulder. Not only was the jersey int the tote but there were also a variety of items that had her letters on them. Also inside were bracelets for all of us that would get us admittance into “the house” for a welcome brunch.
But first there were pictures :). A professional photographer roamed sorority row taking pics of the pledge classes of each house as well as pics of the whole chapter and individual pics as well. We were later informed that these would be available for purchase through their Purchase Fund account and proofs would up on the third floor. Needless to say I ordered all that I could and they hand in my daughters bedroom at the sorority house.
We kept our distance enjoying watching my daughter with her new sisters. I was all so overwhelming but also very exciting. I got to meet a lot of parents as well as many of the active members and their families. My daughter was so excited to find that her Rho Chi leader, who she had really bonded with, was a member of her new home!!! There was hugging, some tears, shouts of joys and chanting and singing. It was a memorable event and one that I am so glad I got to participate in!
Lining up we went up the walk, past the security guard at the door and into the foyer of the most beautiful house I had ever seen. Each sorority house on campus looked liked an antebellum southern mansion and this was not exception. We were led by our Bid Day Buddy into a large dining room and a table laden with food. I am not sure if it was the heat or the excitement of the day but none of us ate very much. I had to keep pinching myself to make sure this was all real!
After we had all eaten we gathered in the informal living room where we were given a packet of information, asked to sign a few things, introduced to the Exec board of the house (ok..so now I get to brag because this year my daughter will be introduced as VP on that exec board), and the alumnae board. This is the part where my husband always jokes and tells everyone that “you need to bring your checkbook”. We were not required to write checks that day though I have to tell you when I looked at the numbers for the cost of sorority life I had to do a double take and remind myself that when I spoke with my husband about the bill I might want to “liquor him up first”. I actually had a dream several nights earlier that my daughter had received a bid to another sorority whose symbol was a crown. When she arrived on their lawn they presented her with a diamond tiara and a bill for $5000.00!!!! We were told that we had to write a check right that moment or the tiara and the bid would be rescinded. I called my husband who said unequivocally “NO”!!!!! He told me to go get a plastic one at Party Hoo Hah. I woke up in a cold sweat. So although the bill was hefty it was not unmanageable.
By the time we left to go back to my daughters dorm and sit and talk about the vents of the day we were happily exhausted. It had been the “best day ever”! One that all three of us would remember for a long time. So sitting here this morning I just had to go back a relive those wonderful memories “one more time”. Yep..got the box of Kleenex sitting next tome..even after all this time it still brings tears to my eyes, the emotion of the experience bubbling to the surface.
If you want you can Google “bid day” on you tube but for those of you who want to experience it right now here’s a few links…better go get your box of Kleenex..you’re gonna need it :).