I was part of an interesting discussion yesterday….several parents were debating whether sorority and fraternity membership was on the upswing.  This conversation came in light of a recent article stating that The University of Alabama had the surpassed the The University of Illinois as the largest greek population in the US.

Here is a link to the blog article for those that are interested, NEW #1, ALABAMA TAKES OVER AS NATION?S LARGEST GREEK COMMUNITY » Phired Up Recruitment Blog.

The subject of colonization came up.  Colonization is near and dear to my heart these days since my sorority, Alpha Phi, was just approved (and accepted) to colonize at LSU for the Fall of 2013.  In the past 4 years  Alpha Phi has colonized on the campuses of Kentucky, FSU, Clemson and Alabama.  I am excited to seeing their growing presence on campuses across the US.

Due to huge amounts of girls going through the recruitment process and massive cuts during recruitment The University of Arkansas is allowing TWO sororities to colonize this year.  They are hoping that addition of these two houses will relieve the “bursting at the seams”  at Arkansas.  Many chapters have close to 350 members!  Unbelievable!

So how does colonization work?  I am going to use the Arkansas model to explain, mainly because in most cases this is generally how a colonization works. I saw it in action at Alabama and both are very similar with the exception that two sororities will be colonizing at one time at Arkansas.

Here is the schedule :

Alpha Chi Omega and Phi Mu schedule for colonization:

Aug 12-13 Phi Mu and Alpha Chi participate in Open House, both then withdraw from recruitment

Aug 14-19 All other houses complete formal recruitment and bid process

Aug 19 Marketing begins

Aug 22 Joint Info Sessions, 2 one hour parties

Aug 28 Alpha Chi Events, 2 one hour parties

Aug 29 Phi Mu Events, 2 one hour parties

Sept 4 Phi Mu Events, 2 one hour parties

Sept 5 Alpha Chi Events, 2 one hour parties

Sept 7 PNM Decision Day

Sept 9 Bid Day

Important: PNMs are not required to go to all of the parties, they are required to have an interview.

Here are some articles about the colonization:



So now lets talk about how this works.  During Open House Days A Chi O and Phi Mu will participate in Open House.  what that means is that PNM’s will have parties for those two houses on their party schedule.  Since neither sorority will have a house the parties will be held in a ballroom or designated area.  There will be door songs and bumping just like a regular sorority would do.  The PNm’s will get to meet and talk with actives from both sororities who have volunteered to help but are from other campuses.  In Alabama’s case with the DG colonization last fall, members from Ole Miss came over to help with the colonization process.

When Open House day is over both sororities will pull out of recruitment.  The PNMs will not rank these two houses .  After Formal Recruitment is over then both houses will begin the marketing phase of colonization.  There will be chalking, tables set up with information for both sororities, a media blitz of sorts. Both sororities will be working very hard to get “their information” out to possible PNMs.

A Joint Information Session will then follow on August 22nd.  Usually during the marketing phase sign ups  are held to attend this session.  In some cases sign ups are not required and PNm’s just choose to attend.  In Alabama’s case there were two separate info sessions and a PNM could simply choose which one to attend.  During the info session information will be shared about how the colonization process works, how much membership in each sorority costs, housing and meal plans…lot and lots of info!!

There are 2 one hour parties planned on this day as well.  Usually during this time a series of “interviews” takes place, sometimes concurrently with the parties.  In the case of Delta Gamma at Alabama PNMs were asked to sign up for a particular time slot on one of 4 days.  The interviews lasted approximately 15 minutes.  Think of these interviews as a mini recruitment conversation of sorts.  The PNM will be asked the same type of questions that she would be asked during recruitment….why are you going through colonization, what can you bring to this sorority…..tell us about yourself ect.

After the interview and party process then the PNM’s are asked to asked to rank their personal choices on September 7th.  Bid matching will occur and a Bid List will be constructed with Bids being issued on September 9th.  Bid Day activities will be planned for PNMs for both houses…jerseys given out as they are welcomed into their new sisiterhoods.

Sot that’s the general idea.  Arkansas is interesting because it is two houses doing the process simultaneously. I will anxious to see how this plays out.

So the question then arises do you need recs for colonization..of course you do!  Especially if it occurs on a campus that is already a competitive recruitment campus. Contact the national organization for each sorority.  They will give you the contact info.  Each sorority also has a website, Facebook page, a twitter page and there is also information about Formal Recruitment, including a link to their Look Book (which has a page devoted to colonization) on the University of Arkansas Greek Life website.

That’s the process of Colonization…..simplified.  Each sorority does it differently.  Each campus does it differently but it generally follows a pattern like the one discussed above.  tomorrow I will talk about who chooses to go through Colonization and why it’s a good choice for some girls and not such a good choice for others.