Sticking Together: Davidson Eating Houses

I stood on a tabletop covered in sticky chocolate sauce next to 50 of my new best friends. Halfway through screaming, “I’m going down, I’m yelling timber!” my chocolate-stained shirt literally stuck to the arm of the girl next to me. Welcome to Self-Selection night, Davidson style.

Self-Selection is a process at Davidson that you can choose to experience if you want to join one of the four eating houses: Turner House, Rusk House, Connor House and Warner Hall. Although Davidson does have two sororities, the majority of girls who wish to be a part of Patterson Court organization (Greek life at Davidson) join an eating house. Eating houses are similar to sororities in that they bring together a group of girls to eat, dance, study and hang out. However, they are not nationally affiliated, and they are centered around a specific service cause. No one lives in eating houses, but as the name suggests, the houses are often hubs of activity during lunch and dinner hours as well as the weekends

The process of Self-Selection is another critical distinction between the traditional sorority system and Davidson’s eating houses. At Davidson, you get to rank your preferred eating houses in the spring, and an algorithm determines whether or not you get your top choice. This process takes away the stress that might occur for sorority bids. Self-selection means the power is in our hands and not those of the organization. Every girl who wants will get to join one of the four eating houses. You can choose your house based on food, friends and more.

Additionally, anyone can take part in Self-Selection, which culminates in Self-Selection weekend. The weekend starts on Friday, when a group of upperclassmen from your new eating house will wake you at up 6 a.m., screaming and announcing your new membership. Later that evening, those same girls will cover you in chocolate, condiments or paint (depending on your house of choice) – a ritual of initiation.

As I tried to un-stick my shirt from the girl dancing beside me on top of the table, it occurred that I would be dancing on sweaty tables with these girls for the next four years. We are, after all, stuck together — a community of girls that will share food, participate in service and tell funny weekend stories. Eating houses are a unique part of the Davidson experience, and the process of Self-Selection allows girls to choose who they want to be stuck with (or to) for the next four years.