Two Alpha Chi Lambda sisters celebrate sisterhood on Bid Day by Miller Fountain.
For more than 75 years, Trinity has done Greek Life a bit differently. Unlike many institutions, the University's seven sororities and seven fraternities are all local, and don’t accept new members until the spring semester. This gives students the chance to acclimate themselves to Trinity's academic environment before taking on the responsibilities of membership.
But Bid Day, where students officially join their new “brothers and sisters” by Miller fountain for the first time, is worth the wait. New members, scattered across campus, wait eagerly in their dorm rooms for their bids to be accepted. Once they get the call, it’s a mad dash across campus, up Cardiac Hill, and through the Coates Student Center plaza to the fountain, where their excited friends await. Bizarre outfits, personalized jerseys handed down across generations, and contagious laughter are a must-have for any bid day participant.
While the term “bid day” was first coined at Trinity in the early 1990s, Greek societies on campus date back to the Tehuacana years when the University permitted fraternities Phi Delta Theta and Beta Theta Pi to accept members. However, in 1882, officials determined the groups were “a cause of more trouble than they had done good,” and from 1883-1932, Trinity’s Course of Study Bulletin read, “Students are forbidden to become members of any Greek-letter fraternity or any secret society or organization connected with the institution.”
Splash forward a few decades, and by the early 1960s, five local men’s organizations—the Triniteers, Theta Tau Upsilon, the Bengal Lancers, Sigma Kappa Epsilon, and Chi Delta Tau—and five local women’s organizations—Chi Beta Epsilon, Gamma Chi Delta, Kappa Psi Omega, Sigma Theta Tau, and the Spurs—joined a myriad of other honor and service fraternities present on campus.
Today, 14 local Greek organizations serve as a home-away-from-home for about 25 percent of the undergraduate student population. Graduate as a member, and you’re a member for life: The University now annually recognizes a fraternity or sorority advisor of the year for their dedicated service back to their organizations.