Photo by Jo Tulman

Big/Little Week; Photo by Jo Tulman

Regardless of how you feel about sororities, you’d be lying if you said you hadn’t seen PLENTY of social media posts from friends who have joined them. Before I joined my sorority, I was really confused when I saw friends post about “big/little week”, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. So if you have ever found yourself wondering “what the heck is a big…and a little…..and big/little week….and reveal….and lineage….and a family!?”, this is the guide for you.

Big

A big is an older sister in the sorority who acts as a mentor during the new member process. They are the go-to person for questions ranging from not knowing what to wear to an event to wondering if a sorority was the right decision for you at all, and also are often the sister who will initiate their little at initiation ceremonies. Outside of their official role, they also often form a very close bond with their little, helping to integrate them into sorority life. Although not all bigs and littles end up best friends for life, there is always a reason that they were matched with each other, and a big will always be there for their little to depend on.

Little

Picture from TP veteran (and future president)  Sarah Wiszniak

TP veteran (and future president) Sarah Wiszniak (bottom)  with her lineage!

After receiving a bid to a sorority, you go through a time called your new member period. During this time, it gives you an opportunity to learn about the sorority’s history, values, etc before you make the decision of whether or not you want to become a fully initiated sister. This is also the time where you will become a little, although it is a role that you will always carry with you.

Big/Little Week

Big/little week is a time when the big secretly showers their little with presents and love. Although it varies from chapter to chapter, generally it consists of the big sneaking into their little room and decorating and leaving presents like crafts, tshirts, and baked goods, as well as leaving (often untrue) hints for their little to try and decode. Another practice that is becoming more common is bigs making social media profiles as a way of interacting with their littles. For instance, one of my friends made a snapchat so their little could snapchat reactions to her surprises. Other girls make facebook profiles, which allows them to talk to their littles while still keeping up the secrecy!

Reveal

Reveal happens at the end of big/little week, and this is when all the new bigs reveal themselves to their new littles. Generally it is done in a cute way such as the big being wrapped up like a present or popping out of a box.

Lineage

Your lineage is your direct line in the sorority. It consists of you, your big, your grand big, your great grand big, etc. If anyone in your family has taken multiple littles (twins), then you will also have aunts, grand aunts, and cousins.

Families

Most sorority split up lineages into families, often surrounding a certain theme. For instance, in my sorority, most the family’s names are different types of animals. Family’s generally consist of a matriarch, who either founded the family or was chosen by the previous matriarch, and the various lineages that have sprung from the founding matriarch. Families are great because they help to make a large group of girls into a more manageable number (lets be real, a reservation for 150 probably isn’t going to go so well on a regular basis)

Whether or not greek life is for you, hopefully this guide makes the big/little frenzy you’ve seen on social media make a little more sense!



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the author

Mollie Yacano is a freshman at Boston University studying marine science. She works in a biogeochemistry lab that studies human impact on coastal ecology, assisting with various grad student projects. Aside from being a science nerd, she is a self-diagnosed college admissions addict, and has been writing for TP almost since its inception. When she isn’t writing for The Prospect, she can be found instagramming her nail art, pretending to be witty on twitter, ranting about harmful algal blooms, and of course, wasting copious amounts of time on her personal Tumblr.

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  1. Pingback: Big/Little Week Unplugged | straight off the tarmac 7 Mar, 2016

    […] about, and also the week that makes the sponsors want to rip their hair out. According to an article written by Mollie Yacano, “generally [big-little week] consists of the big sneaking into their […]

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