Photo: Claire Albrecht / The Daily Gamecock

Sororities welcome 1,500 new sisters at bid day


Thousands of voices, raised together, respond in an unintelligible roar, filling Colonial Life Arena and echoing into the holding area where 150 women wait silently. Bid day is the culmination of more than a week of sorority recruitment — whole days of visiting houses, talking to new people and watching videos about sisterhood.

As the potential new members wait to pull their reveal shirts from behind their backs — with dancing, chanting recruitment guides, or Pi Chis, all around — their faces show a combination of anxiety and excitement.

“I’m really nervous,” one girl says to her neighbor.

They’ve been waiting for hours, first at Greek Village and then outside in a line reaching from behind Colonial Life to the intersection of Dawn Staley Way and Greene Street. With 1,497 women receiving bids Sunday after the largest number registered for recruitment ever, Sarah Jane Lowe was just happy to get through the week.

“It really shows the growth that our campus is showing and the interest in the Greek community,” said Lowe, the vice president of recruitment for USC’s Panhellenic Council.

Lowe’s planning started in November. On top of the potential new members, hundreds of sisters from each of the 13 Panhellenic sororities had to be organized and directed. She also coordinated bids with preferences from chapters and PNMs, which were submitted the night before.

“[It’s] a lot of planning, a lot of late nights,” Alpha Delta Pi Recruitment Chair Zoe Gertz said. “But it’s all worth it.”

The PNMs certainly seem to think so — their faces light up as they unroll shirts decorated to match the sorority’s theme. Suddenly their nervous silence turns into a frenzy, as women rush to pull on their new shirts and then sprint through a column of Pi Chi’s into the arena, where they face an assault of the senses.

Their eyes take in the rows and rows of people, decked out in rainbow costumes and dancing in unison. The sound of thousands of voices, each sorority screaming its own cheers, makes actual words difficult to pick out, but the pure excitement comes through loud and clear. When they reach their new sisters, they get surrounded by welcoming arms.

“Ideal bid day is happening,” said Bridgid Bowman, a third-year Delta Delta Delta. “We all came out, we look amazing and we’re gonna have a great day.”

The process is repeated again and again, with 10 flights of women receiving bids. The entire ordeal takes several hours, but the long wait doesn’t seem to have dampened anyone’s spirits as they flow out of Colonial Life toward Greek Village to celebrate and take pictures together for the first time.

The empty arena they leave behind feels dead and silent, but there’s still a trace — some glitter floating in the air.

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