But I Really Wanted My Daughter to be My Sister

It’s that time of year. The academic year is beginning and along with it, sorority recruitment is taking place on many campuses. Along with the majority of excitement and giddyness of Bid Day, the day when the Prospective New Members (PNM) find out which organization will be theirs, there can also be some heartache. Most of the time that heartache is felt keenest by the family members of the woman going through recruitment.

A woman going through NPC sorority recruitment who has a mother, grandmother, or sister initiated into a particular sorority is considered a legacy of that organization. Some groups also include other relatives and step-relatives in the definition of legacy. It is possible for a woman to be a legacy to several chapters. 

Several of the 26 NPC organizations each have a pair of real sisters among their founders. Alpha Gamma Delta has Marguerite and Estelle Shepard. Helene and Adriance Rice founded Alpha Sigma Tau. Frances and Almira Cheney belong to Alpha Xi Delta and Clara and Emma Brownlee founded Pi Beta Phi. Only one organization, Theta Phi Alpha, has two sets of sisters among the founders – May C. Ryan and Camilla Ryan (Sutherland), and Katrina Caughey (Ward) and Dorothy Caughey (Phalan).

The sad fact is that not everyone’s daughter, granddaughter, or sister is going to end up wearing the pin of her legacy organization. Perhaps the number of legacies going through is too large to invite everyone back for more than one day.  Or maybe, it isn’t a good match. The PNM might want to follow her own heart. 

Whatever the reason, dreams sometimes die when a PNM opens a bid card and on it is an organization other than the one to which her mother, grandmother, or sister belong. And the dream that dies is usually the one belonging to the relative(s) of the new member.

To the ones who suffer hurt on Bid Day, my advice is to change the dream. The experience your daughter, granddaughter, or sister will have in any of the 26 NPC groups is essentially the same. And chances are very good that if she dedicates herself to the organization, she will leave it with the same feelings and love for her organization that you have for yours. In the end, isn’t that what you want for her?

Enjoy giving her things with her letters or symbols. Send her flowers after initiation. Revel in your time with her and the chapter at Parent’s Weekend, Homecoming, and Mom’s Weekend, or anytime you visit her. If the chapter has a Mom’s Club, get involved.

Yes, feeling sadness when a dream dies is normal.  If your legacy was raised with your sorority songs being sung to her when she was a baby, to helping with alumnae club or chapter advising, to touring your organization’s chapter house on campus visits, then the hurt will sting a little more. Don’t let your hurt affect your legacy’s experience. Let her enjoy it just as you enjoyed yours. Genuinely support her. Help her leave her chapter on graduation day feeling the same love for her organization as you do for yours. That is one of the greatest joys you can give her during her time at college.

The New Members (formerly known as Pledges) of 1946


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