Getting involved at your university can be a daunting task, and nothing seems more intimidating than joining a Greek organization. You just started your first year of college, or transferred in, or maybe you’re just trying to make sure you have a good school-life balance before jumping into such a seemingly all-consuming organization. Regardless of where you’re at in your college career, if you finally feel ready to take that big step and see what this whole Greek life thing is all about, then keep reading. Here’s some good news: here at UCR, Panhellenic (umbrella term for all seven social sororities) is a welcoming and positive environment. Bad news: formal fall recruitment has already come and went. Good news again: continuous open bidding (COB, or continuous open recruitment (COR) if you’re Alpha Delta Pi) is officially happening right now!
Formal fall recruitment happens at the beginning of the fall quarter and is a four-day process where girls register and meet all seven sororities to find where they feel like they belong. It is a very formal process with a lot of rules and regulations. For most, it is a lot of fun and gives you the best chance of becoming a part of a Panhellenic sorority here at UCR. But for anyone who was too nervous to go through this process or didn’t know about it, COB is for you!
Sarah Crawford, Fraternity and Sorority Life Advisor at UCR, explains that open bidding is “the informal process where Panhellenic Sororities are able to welcome new members into their organization after getting to know students via relaxed events” and that this “process is great for UCR students who may not have known about sororities prior or those who wanted to be sure they were ready”. Grace Rogers, Vice President of Recruitment for Panhellenic at UCR, describes this process as “a very relaxed, informal recruitment process that a few of our chapters are able to participate in where typically you get to know the chapter over a day or two of sisterhood events”.
During the COB process, happening over the next few weeks, all the eligible sororities will be hosting sisterhood events such as tote bag painting, picnics, and coffee dates, where you get to know the sisters and they get to know you. Each sorority has their own number of bids they are able to give out during COB, some as little as 3 bids and some as large as 20 bids (Note: a bid is an official invitation to join!) You can go to as many or as little sororities’ events as you want, they’ll be happy to have you there!
So you’ve read this far, and you’ve decided that maybe this COB thing is for you, that’s great! But now, how do you find out about these events or get involved? The best way to find out about each sorority’s COB events is to follow them on instagram (Panhellenic, Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Kappa). They’ll all be advertising their events via their instagram stories. If you don’t see anything there but you want to know about their COB process, feel free to DM them. They’ll be able to tell you whether they are COBing this quarter (not every sorority gets to) and give you information about their next event.
Another way is to come out to tabling. Have you ever walked by the bell tower and seen all the easy-ups and large wooden greek symbols? That’s Greek row! The professional and cultural orgs set up surrounding the belltower (some of them also have wooden greek symbols), but the social organizations set up north of Rivera on either side of the sidewalk. All the sororities table from 9-3 every Wednesday. Feel free to walk up to any sorority’s tent and introduce yourself! They’ll be happy to talk to you and will hopefully be able to tell you if they’re COBing and about their future events. This is also a great way to introduce yourself to sisters and get your name out there.
Now you may be wondering, why should I want to join a sorority? So many reasons! Grace Rogers describes Panhellenic as “a vibrant community of incredible, strong, and beautiful women who strive to better themselves, their sisters, and their community (both UCR and beyond) each and every day”. Sarah Crawford says that girls “gravitate to sororities to find friendships that last a lifetime and through joining, they end up finding that sorority life expanded their horizons by building tangible skills such as understanding organizational management, budget management, and contract and insurance processes with a national organization”. Sororities don’t only provide an incredible support system and amazing friends, but teach practical skills, allow for networking opportunities, and offer countless leadership roles.
If you’re looking for advice, here’s the best that I can offer you: be yourself and have an open mind! These girls are wanting to get to know the real you, just like you want to get to know the real them. Be authentic and true to yourself, and they’ll do the same. Another word of advice: act quick! The length of COB is different for every organization, so if there’s one you’re particularly interested in, act quickly because you don’t know when they’re going to be wrapping up. Worst case scenario and you miss their COB window, there’s a chance they’ll be COBing again in the winter and spring (but, no guarantee!).
If you’re still nervous, take this final word from Sarah Crawford: “you have nothing to lose and a lifetime of sisterhood to gain”.