Story and Photos by Christina Kempster
People commonly say that everything is bigger in Texas. I guess what I will say about Georgia is that everything is grander. At least when we are talking about the University of Georgia Greek System. There are twenty-five fraternities and seventeen sororities at the Athens university. To put this in perspective, in Eugene there are fifteen fraternities and eleven sororities.
Currently, I find my residency at Pi Beta Phi on Greek Row. South Milledge Avenue is the home to most all of Greek Life—a literal Greek Row. Moving in at the beginning of August to the chapter house allowed me to participate in the formal sorority recruitment process, which is a six-day process during which potential new members visit the house each day to eventually receive a bid from one house. This year, the University of Georgia had 1495 women go through recruitment.
Recruitment here really embodies the stereotypical vision of sorority life. Each day, sorority members wake up as early as 5 a.m. to begin putting on makeup and doing their hair for the first party of the day at 8 a.m. Unlike at Oregon, these southern belles wear dresses each day to recruit. Each chapter practices diligently to perfect their sorority’s chant and compete with each other to be louder than the chapter across the street. Even in the heat and their high heels the sorority women remains composed, answering any questions a potential member might have and selling her sorority to the best of her abilities.
Bid day on campus is practically considered a holiday. The first day of school is when all the new members receive bids from different sororities. That afternoon, South Milledge starts to undergo a transformation. All the fraternity men set up lawn chairs and couches on the edge of their property so that they can have a front row seat as the freshman arrive, and the current sorority members get the party started with DJ’s on their front lawns. The sorority houses have all chosen a theme and have lavishly decorated the front of the house accordingly, in order to welcome all the women who have received bids.
Going through the recruitment process as a potential new member, as a recruiter, and now an observer has taught me about sisterhood. That long week of lost sleep, hard work, voting, smiling, and singing has shown me that the Pi Beta Phi community knows no boundaries. Coming into a new chapter I was able to see that even though I am from across the country, I am not so different from the girls here at Georgia Alpha. We are all down to earth, love to have a good time, value our friendships, support each other and love each other. Pi Beta Phi is our home, and we are all sisters in the wine and silver blue.
For more from Christina, read our first (Not So) Southern Belle!