By Shanna O’Mara
There is a familiar energy in Lawrenceville when students pour onto campus, ready for the start of spring semester. Some rush to their rooms to restock their closet, some head off to meet friends at the dining hall, and some are left alone. Some have yet to find their home away from home — until they reach out to Greek Life and find that what they’ve been searching for, or what has been waiting for them all along.
Over the past two weeks, Rider’s fraternities and sororities took part in bid week, during which the Greek houses participated in a “mutual selection process” to recruit new members, according to Amanda Eisele, assistant director of campus life for fraternity and sorority life.
“Spring is already such an exciting semester,” Eisele said. “Most students who join have been waiting for the opportunity since coming to Rider, so they bring a level of excitement and a fresh perspective to the Greek community.”
Although the process differs between the men and women, both groups have the same goal of making new members feel at home as they transition from their previous residences to a Greek house.
“For the National Panhellenic Conference sororities, all women interested in going through the recruitment process, potential new members, meet all four chapters on the first night,” Eisele said. “After that, both the potential new members and the chapters must begin narrowing their selections down to the final round, where a potential new member may visit one or two preference events. Our quota, which is the number each chapter strives to achieve, was 21 this year. We were really happy with that number and the number of women who came out to recruitment.
“For our men, the process is similar but less formal. We ask all of the men going through recruitment to attend a series of events to get to know the chapters and the members. At the end of the week, the men decided which chapter they wanted to receive a bid from and chapters chose their top candidates for membership. Everyone who matched received a bid.”
To catalyze the bonding process and benefit the cranberry community, the university holds several Greek-inspired events.
“We have a lot of big community and campus events in the spring, like Greek Week, philanthropy events and Relay for Life, so I think it’s awesome to have new people who really want to contribute to the success of our organizations,” Eisele said.
After the bids are complete and each new member has a house to belong to, he or she has certain responsibilities toward the sorority or fraternity.
“Now begins the process of learning the history and background of their new organizations,” Eisele said. “The new members will have a lot of opportunities to bond with their brothers and sisters through new member activities and meetings. New members will be paired up with an older mentor in the chapter as their ‘big.’ That is something everyone always looks forward to, and that will be coming up for everyone soon. We also have a Greek new member course that everyone attends. It is really important that we are building community relationships, not just chapter relationships.”