Greekin’ Out is a series designed to inform and advise all Barnumbians interested in joining Greek Life. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be producing content aimed to answer all G(r)eeky questions, but if you think we missed something, email your inquiries to email@example.com, and we’ll get on it ASAP.
Last week, we gave you an overview of all the Panhel sororities on campus. Yesterday, we told you the know-hows of Philanthropy and Development Day (happy first day of Philanthropy Day, btw). Like day follows night, here we are today giving you the deets on Preference and Bid Night.
If you need a recap before we dive in, here it is: On Philanthropy Day, you have to go to all six sororities’ parties (in 25 minute sessions) to learn a bit more about them. Afterwards, you’ll list four sororities that you’d like to be invited back to. If you’re mutually selected, you’ll attend up to four parties on Development Day (in 40 minute sessions), after which you’ll rank your final two. (Don’t like my non-eloquent recap? We’ve written an entire article about it.)Preference Night
For Philanthropy Day, you had to attend six parties for 25 minutes each; for Development Day, you attend a maximum of four parties for 40 minutes each. Preference Night is known as the more “serious” event of rushing week, so the parties will be longer—each is 60 minutes, and you’ll attend a maximum of two parties. Prepare to block out a bit more than two hours. (Like all the other days, you have to go to all the parties that you’re invited to—failure to do so will mean that you get the axe.)
“So what does ‘serious’ entail?” you ask. For one thing, the heavily-worried about dress code. (Sidenote: Don’t fret too much about what you wear though—they’ve told you everything you need to know in the PNM Handbook sent to your email.)
Preference Night’s dress code is described as “formal attire of any color except black.” Read: except black. Yes, yes, you’re very chic, but look alive, this is supposed to be fun.
Each party on Preference Night is 60 minutes, which means that the conversations that you’ll have will be even more in-depth than they were at the previous party. According to Ama Kwarteng (BC ’17, outgoing president of the Panhellenic Council, and our source for today and yesterday’s article), you’ll also get to learn a bit more about the sisterhood and what it really means to be in a sorority.
Don’t worry about being stuck in a room with no one to talk to though. “Usually the way [Preference Night] works is that a sister in the chapter will preference a PNM, usually someone you’ve spoken to in the previous rounds,” Kwarteng said. “You [will] have a deeper conversation [with them], they’ll tell you a little bit more about why they joined their chapter. It’s a lot more serious than the previous two rounds.”
As always, come ready to talk, and especially come ready to talk sorority stuff—if you’ve come this far with a sorority, they must have seen something in you. Look and act engaged and curious—if you need some social, scholarship, philanthropy, or new member education conversation topic inspiration, look to your PNM Handbook.
After you’re done with all the party-going, your Rho Gamma (a woman who has temporarily disaffiliated with her sorority in order to be like an OL for her PNM group) will lead you to a place where you’ll fill out a Membership Recruitment Acceptance Binding Agreement. (They’ve abbreviated it to MRABA, pronounced like mis-er-a-ba.)
What does this cheeky piece of paper bind you to? Basically, you’ll rank and write down the sororities that invited you to attend their Preference Night. By signing that agreement, you’re saying that you’ll accept a bid from that sorority should they chose you. If you don’t sign the agreement, you’re basically taking yourself out of the recruitment process.
(Also important to note that you might even receive a bid from a chapter that you didn’t go to on Preference Night. Let’s say that you went to four Development Day parties, and everyone unanimously agreed about how great you were. Since you’re only allowed to attend a maximum of two Preference Night parties, that means that two sororities missed out. However, if they’re really certain about you, you might still see them on Bid Day.)
Of course, if you get invited to two Preference Night parties, you could always just list one on your MRABA, but Kwarteng really recommends that you don’t do this. “There’s a lot of rumors and people have heard things from their friend’s friends about chapters… We really emphasize that [PNMs] keep an open mind. It’s an individual process and you should go into it based on your gut and the conversations you had. If a chapter invites you back, it’s because they saw something in you and could potentially see you in their chapter.”Tl;dr:
- You’ll be invited to a maximum of two parties; you have to go to each one that you’re invited to.
- Each party will be 60 minutes each.
- This is a more “serious” event—discussions and dress code will be more formal.
- Afterwards, you’ll fill out your MRABA and list (in order of preference) the sororities that you were invited to for Preference Night. When you sign, you’re basically saying that if you receive a bid from that sorority, you’d be happy to accept.
Bid Night, or otherwise the day where you’ll 1.) Figure out if you’ve made the cut, and 2.) Meet your new chapter. This will happen Monday, Jan. 30. The amount of time you should block out for this event depends on the chapter you’re placed into.
So, after the long three or four days of Philanthropy, Development, Preference, and the signing of your MRABA you’re officially done with recruitment. The next day, you can go to Satow Conference Room (on the 5th floor of Lerner Hall) to pick up your bid card. You can do this anytime between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Some schools do a thing where everyone opens their bids together. Not Columbia—they ask that you do this on your own time. “[Opening bids together] can make people feel uncomfortable or awkward, so we usually have them open their bid on their own and then we ask them if they want to accept or decline their bid.”
Once you’ve ~officially~ accepted your bid, you’ll go to Roone Auditorium at a designated time for celebrations and jest. You’ll get t-shirts from your new sorority (looks like Spec’s not the only one with cool free swag), the Panhel Executive Board and Rho Gammas will be reaffiliated with their chapters, and each sorority will go off to different locations on campus to celebrate no longer the PNMs, but just plain ol’ NMs.Tl;dr:
- Pick up your bid from the Satow Conference Room anytime between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- Open your bid in private.
- Go to Roone Auditorium at a time that you’ll be told later for merriment, cheers, free swag, felicitations, etc.
And thus ends your recruitment adventures! Don’t think that this will be the end of Greekin’ Out though—there are still many things that you’ll be dying to know (what happens after rushing, the ins and outs of pledging, can you rush again next year, etc.) and we’ll be ready to tell you about it.
Veronica Grace Taleon is Spectrum’s editor and a Barnard sophomore. She would automatically be disqualified from recruitment because the only items of clothing that she owns are black. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quotes edited for clarity.
Miles Greenspoon contributed reporting.