By Lanita Withers
The rip of an envelope. A shout of excitement. Then the real rush began.
Hundreds of women -- torn envelopes and invitations in hand -- ran toward Franklin Street on Wednesday to meet the members of their new sororities.
The rush to Franklin Street, a Bid Day tradition, signaled the end of recruitment, a 10-day intake and orientation period for potential members of the 11 Panhellenic sororities on campus.
Excited voices rose from the crowd of women as they hurried northward from the Great Hall. "I got Alpha Chi Omega," one voice said. "You did? So did I!" said another. The women embraced, then continued to run.
The jubilation that came after the rushees received their bids contrasted with the butterflies some had before envelopes were in hand. "I'm nervous," said freshman rushee Stephanie Smith during the wait in the Student Union. "It's a big decision. You've gotta know (the sorority) is the right one for you."
Others were just glad the day of decision had come. "I'm fine," said freshman Shannon Heery, another rushee. She said that while the recruitment process had been long and tiring, it was a good experience.
Recruitment activities included trips to all the sorority chapter houses and time with their rho chis, or rush counselors. Rho chis are current members of sororities who don't affiliate with their sorority for two weeks to give unbiased support and counseling to the rushees. The rushees don't learn what sorority their rho chi belongs to until minutes before they receive their bids.
While Bid Day is thrilling for the rushees, current sorority members display just as much excitement. Members were waiting for the new members on Franklin Street when they arrived.
A block of Franklin Street was blocked off in anticipation of the Bid Day rush.
Outside the Kappa Delta house on Franklin Street, members awaited the new members with flowers and string confetti. No longer rushees, the new members of the sorority donned green shirts, one of the colors of Kappa Delta, with their new Greek letters embroidered on them. Amid the screams and greetings, the women burst into song, gathering into a circle outside their house.
Just down the street, members of Alpha Chi Omega sorority waited for their new members with large banners and T-shirts. "I'm excited," said Jenny Hansen, social chairwoman of Alpha Chi Omega, as she rushed down the sidewalk to catch up with the new members who were making their way to their house. "It's overwhelming."
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