For the first time in three years, Bid Day for fraternities has returned to UVA’s Grounds. For the past two fraternity rushes, the University’s Housing and Residence Life has forbidden fraternities from delivering bids to the new members’ dorms. This left two years of men at the University missing out on one of the greatest traditions. But now, it’s back.
And thank goodness, because Bid Day was one year away from dying entirely. This year, the only students who had ever witnessed a Bid Day were the fourth years in fraternities, and they had only ever been on the receiving end. Luckily, UVA HRL made the wise decision to allow it this year, allowing the tradition to survive.
On the morning of Saturday, February 4th, more than 300 students in 30+ fraternities traversed across Grounds, welcoming their newest soon-to-be brothers. While every fraternity has different traditions, almost all consist of calling the new member to tell them to go outside their dorm / apartment, where their new brotherhood is waiting for them. Then, fraternities typically perform a unique chant before tossing the young man up in the air several times. Before the fraternities leave, they present the new member with a “bid,” a letterhead that denotes their place in the organization. Those who have experienced it describe it as one of the most memorable moments of their college experience, myself included.
There was some controversy regarding Bid Day this year – for the longest time, the HRL refused to allow the Inter-Fraternity Council to travel to dorms for the spectacle. When student IFC executives asked for rationale, one reason given was that it was exclusive to other organizations that may wish to perform initiation ceremonies in the same way. When asked if any organization has requested to perform the ritual in a similar way in the previous five years, HRL responded that none had. They were also asked if any injuries had been reported as a result of Fraternity Bid Day in the past five years, to which the answer was also, “no.”
Thankfully, order was finally restored, and Bid Day returned to Grounds before it was too late; now fraternity brothers will once again have the privilege of experiencing one of the best days of their college lives.