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During big little week, many newly joined sorority members share a week full of gifts and surprises.

Credit: Courtesy of Elaine Chao

In the past few weeks, many girls have walked into their dorm rooms to be greeted by colorful posters, warm Wishbone chicken wings and cookies lying on their beds.

During Big-Little Week, many newly joined sorority members share a week full of gifts and surprises.

“Every day my Big pretty much showered me with ridiculous amounts of things in my room,” said Wharton freshman and Alpha Delta Pi new member Jaclyn Woodward.

For Zeta Tau Alpha Little and Wharton freshman Elaine Chao, the week is a period of enjoying being part of Greek life after the pledging process.

“During pledging you’re putting so much time to be part of something, and at Big-Little Week [you have] a person making sure you have fun,” Chao said.

While the sorority Littles treasured the moments of the week, it usually includes a significant time for their Bigs.

Most sororities have their Big-Little Week during weeks when their members are likely to have midterms.

I was definitely not focusing on school that week because I was trying to send her to fun activities, make sure everything got delivered to her,” said College sophomore and Sigma Delta Tau member Sophie Beren. “I had two midterms last week, so it definitely interfered, but not in a bad way because I know that after my test, I can do more fun things and send her to do more fun activities.”

According to the Alpha Phi Finance Director and Wharton junior Alexandra Spada, members often help each other out.

“They will coordinate throughout the week to find out time that works,” she said. She added that she prepared things for Big-Little Week for her Little-Little when her Little had a lot of midterms.

Besides the time commitment, the week also puts financial pressure on the sorority members. While sororities such as ADPi give money to each Big to spend on gifts and decorations, others including Alpha Phi and SDT leave it up to the Bigs.

“You do what you can and everyone appreciates that you’re in Alpha Phi, no matter how much or little you spend. It’s really about welcoming you into the lineage and the family kind of thing,” Spada said. “Big-Little Week is on the person [who] gets a Little — that being said, it’s what you make of the week.”

To alleviate financial pressures, many lineages pass on gifts from previous years.

“Throughout the weeks, it’s like your own type of thing, but a lot of it is essentially sponsored by the sorority because you’re handing down a lot of the gifts you got from the previous year,” Beren said.

Spada agreed.

“You’re not the only one paying for all of the stuff, things are passed down,” she said. One of her lineage’s traditions is passing down a necklace.

Even though members receive similar gifts, sometimes comparison is inevitable.

“They all give you food, apparel and posters and balloons. Some sisters might be more artistic, but you can tell each sister really spends a lot of effort. You can tell how much time your Big put in,” Chao said. “I don’t think there is one better than the other — people receive similar things.”

Since ADPi has a relatively early Big-Little Week, Woodward said there was less of an element of peer pressure.

“I don’t feel that there’s peer pressure because I was only focused on giving gifts to one person and at the end of the day we become good friends, so I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what everyone else is doing,” Beren said.

For many of the new members, the love from their Big is more important than the monetary value of their gifts.

“It is really nice, you feel like you have a older sister. I have a younger sister, so it’s nice to have an older one,” Chao said. “You have a lot of people who genuinely care about you. I got letters — hand-written, heart-felt letters. In a sense, it’s really nice getting people who care about you."

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