Legacy -Panhellenic lists the definition of a sorority legacy as :  a woman who has a close relative who is a member of a particular sorority.  Each sorority has its own policy and definition of what a legacy is.  When getting ready to go through recruitment check with family members to see if any were in a sorority.  If the answer is yes then check on their particular website to see how they define legacy.

As I’ve mentioned before being a legacy has its perks.  If you are a legacy as defined by the sorority you have a relative as member of, then as a courtesy, you will automatically be invited back to the second round of parties..in other words they can’t cut you.

You should know that there’s a lot that goes into legacy status, some of which falls under member selection and so I can’t discuss it.  But what I really wanted to talk about today was the relationship between a PNM and her mother…especially when that PNM is a legacy to the mothers sorority AND that sorority has a chapter on the campus where the PNM is going through recruitment.

Whew!!!! that was a mouthful :).  I am going to use my situation as an example.  Our youngest went through recruitment at Alabama. I think that Alabama has probably one of the top three most competitive recruitments in the US.  Since I was an Alpha Phi, and APhi was on the Alabama campus that made my daughter a legacy.  The first thing I did when she decided to go through recruitment was to call my National Office and let them know.  I then reached out to the regional advisor and let her know and asked her to please contact the chapter at Alabama and let them know and to have the chapter president call or email me.  I wanted to make sure that they knew they had a legacy going through.  Everything went off just as it was supposed to and my daughter was invited to all of the pre-recuitment events for the APhi chapter.

So I know what you’re thinking..”wow…she really wants her daughter to get a bid for Aphi.”  That’s partially true…I would have loved her to pledge Alpha Phi.  I would have been able to go to initiation and she could have worn my pin.  I also wanted to make sure that if at all possible she had a “safety net” so to speak in case recruitment didn’t quite go as planned.

Now my daughter liked the attention that she got from the Alpha Phi chapter.  They really did a great job of treating her like a legacy should be treated.  Its my opinion that somewhere between “we have to treat her nice she’s a legacy” and recruitment this wonderful chapter of girls fell in love with my daughter….I wish I could say she fell in love with them.

You see this happens sometimes with legacies.

I was doing what my husband calls “sorority reading” and I came across a letter that chronicles a mother and a legacy daughters recruitment experience….I want to share it with you.  I made me cry!  After reading it I know you will understand.


(Musings from a newly educated Delta)

by Betty McAlpin Miller, Stetson

Every year around August 1, my phone starts ringing with hesitant requests for Tri Delta recommendations. Someone’s daughter or sister or friend is heading to college and could I…? Of course I could! I love hearing what these young women have accomplished thus far in life, I’m keen on being part of new adventures, even vicariously—and let’s face it, it brings back great memories!

The truth is that I put a lot of time and care into these recommendations. I still remember those recruitment nights listening to the Eagles—and reading what past Tri Deltas had to say about girls going through our recruitment. Sometimes we jeered, but sometimes we were amazed. And we always listened.

So for each of the recommendations I write, I am careful and honest, and I dream a little over each one. I imagine these superlative young women hurrying to party after party, finally opening their bid, touching their Tri Delta pin—and loving pansies forever! I imagine that I am young again.

Of course, if I’m honest, I admit that in recent years it is increasingly less often that my recommendations end with the planned, positive result. I don’t hear from those girls much, although I do generally hear from their moms! On a good day I think that’s because there are so many more sororities to choose from. And on a bad day, I think that girls have changed and so has Tri Delta. Worse, every year I listen to a horror story or three from a friend or colleague whose magnificent daughter, granddaughter or young pal goes off to college and gets harpooned during recruitment, regardless of recommendations or even legacy status.

And I wonder if we can fix that. These are honestly great girls, and the Greek system fails them. Which brings back the cold, honest truth of recruitment: that it’s just as hard from the other side, that there are hundreds of great girls who meet and hope, greet and pray. Every Greek knows that recruitment has got bone-crushing potential. Many have experienced it in some form.

But you don’t really know how bone crushing it is until it happens to you. You see, this year, my daughter grew up. I’m not sure how it happened so fast because I’m pretty sure she was a chubby third grader a second ago. But somehow, my beautiful, intelligent and friendly daughter went merrily off to college. She took her pillow and her smile nine hours away and recruitment happened.

And she had fun! She loved the parties, the dressing up, the “who’d you meet” strategy sessions back at the dorm. And everyone loved her back. Invites and she whittled the list. Parties happened. She wasn’t absolutely dying to go Delta, but I figured that when push came to shove, the tradition and legacy of it all would send her right into Delta land. It would work out great. I tilled my pansy bed, ready to plant us a new crop.

Each of her calls catapulted me back down memory lane. I had sympathy pains, recalling the stiffness of smiling until your face hurt. And the joy of dropping those too-high heels back into the closet. She had the same brain cramps, trying to place names with faces. It was all so sweetly familiar.

The bottom line is that recruitment was fun and anxiety provoking and heart-in throat memorable, even way back when. Lifetime relationships were born. Bid day was filled with screams of joy, wild relief, grim faced never-let-them-see-you- sweat-pride—and always, a few tears of rejection. No system is perfect and we all learned character and composure from the experience, whether we saw it or lived it.

And then it’s gone. It all melts into a muddy puddle with a single call from your daughter—your life’s light—to say she’s been cut from Tri Delta. They didn’t love her after all, or enough, or whatever. But after the first shock of accepting that someone didn’t want her, she shook it off and moved on. My heart, however, was – and still is, a little – painfully reverberating. The light of my life blithely finished recruitment, happily pledged Alpha Delta Pi and joyfully moved on.

The truth is that she’s blissfully happy. She loves ADPi, and her whole new member class and her big sister and their woodland violets. And more importantly, they love her back. So I force myself to hear all about ADPi. I put a smile in my voice and I feel a small (though growing) flutter of elation for her.

And in the end, I see that it was she who taught me the life lesson. It was she who went out and earned hat I wanted for her all along—her own place. It was she who reminded me that life is not always easy, but it always works out. Instead, she’s part of a wonderful group of young women much like herself. Some will stay friends forever. Others will be lovely memories of an incredible time in life. And she will always be an ADPi.

Does it make a difference to me? Yes and no. I’m a Tri Delta. I wouldn’t change that (sure, I thought about it, but then I gritted my teeth and re-draped my Southern charm). But while everything is the same, everything seems different. Because instead of the lifelong, loyalty forever-and-at-any-age society of women that I believed in last week, I now know that what I have (and really had all along), is a bunch of great friends and memories of Tri Delta, a wonderful organization. I cherish them.

And the new, hard-found wisdom I have for the girls who ask (or even pause long enough to hear) is that today, recommendations are only an introduction. A legacy is just a piece of history. The Greek reality is that they’re all great organizations and they all have wonderful girls and they’re all a place to hang your hat and a shirt to wear. It’s you who has to get in there and make the memories great. Odd that it took my daughter and her new friends to show me that.

So, now there’s a new chapter in my life, complete with a new sorority to love. I won’t be at their pinning ceremony, but they will need my mom-isms, my financial support for their Ronald McDonald House charity—and my love. They can have it all, too, without reservation—because they love my daughter.

So yes, everything is the same, and yet everything is different. I am still a Tri Delta, but I have new loyalties to take pleasure in. I still have the most amazing daughter in the world. I will still dream a little over the recommendations that I write. But my gnawed-short fingernails are growing out and I have joined the mounting legion of Tri Delta (and other sorority) moms who no longer believe in legacies as a sure-fire invitation to join. Instead they believe in the power of daughters to recoup, recover and enjoy!

As for me, I have a houseful of wonderful young ADPi women coming for Spring Break, and new things to learn….And a brand new bed of woodland violets.

Story originally printed in the Trident of Delta Delta Delta (www.tridelta.org Winter 2008 The Trident of Delta Delta Delta)

It’s a tear jerker..agreed???  But I wanted to put it here because for some of you who read this..it will be your story.   Although not cut by her legacy house my daughter did not choose it either.  She just couldn’t get past the “safety net” idea that maybe they really didn’t the “individual her” but they just wanted the “legacy her”.  I was sad that we would not have that very deep connection but glad she found her letters and that we would experience her new adventure together.

For some of you though your daughters will “love” their legacy houses but perhaps that house just isn’t the right fit.  Please.. don’t feel like “your” sorority failed you.  Chapters are different all across the US and times has marched on since the days of you being a sorority girl.  I know it’s hard to get that phone call but dig deep, find those mommy words of encouragement that you recite so well.  My wish for all of you “legacy” moms and daughters is that the recruitment experience is a positive one.  I hope and wish for all of you to find you letters and your home.  If it’s your legacy home great..if not be open to sharing together a new adventure.