Big-Little week is a major part of sorority pledging season for new members — and their unaffiliated roommates.
During pledging season, an upperclassmen member of the sorority is assigned as a “Big” to mentor a new freshman recruit, who is designated the “Little.” This takes place after a matching process where the new and upperclassmen members rank their preferred options for mentors and mentees. The identity of the Big is only revealed towards the end of the week, throughout which the Big decorates her Little’s room and leaves presents in the form of food and sorority gear.
“Everything was decorated in the colors of the sorority. [Her Big] decorated the walls with posters and pictures and had balloons everywhere,” Wharton freshman Mindy Wang said. Wang’s roommate is in Zeta Tau Alpha.
“They left a lot of candy and gifts. She decorated the entrance of her room with streamers. On her bed there was sorority gear, passed down through their [lineage],” she said.
But for the Littles, Big-Little week is all benefits.
“You feel so loved the entire time by your Big who is constantly doing your favorite things,” Wharton freshman and Sigma Kappa member Angelica Zhou said. “Definitely the best Valentine’s Day experience so far and sets very high expectations for the future.”
Wharton freshman Jessica Nguyen is the roommate of an affiliated sorority member. She described the week as “fun and hectic,” but said she was, at first, somewhat apprehensive to having to leave her door open for her roommate’s Big.
“People came in and out of our room pretty frequently,” Nguyen said. “So I was a little concerned about my valuables because we had to leave our door open.”
Big-Little week sometimes allows for collaboration between fraternities and sororities, when sorority mentors ask fraternity brothers to do small favors such as getting their Little coffee or breakfast, or even performing a mock striptease for their Little.
“I think it’s a fun process,” Wang said. “It was funny seeing her get a striptease and getting breakfast delivered to her room every day.”
The that some sisters spend on average $500-$600 dollars on Big-Little week. Some mentors have even spent over $1,000 on their Littles.
Some roommates of sorority members said they were not surprised that some mentors spend so much money for the week.
“Honestly, considering the insane amount of food and gifts that Caroline got from her Big, I’m not even surprised they spent $1,000,” College freshman Amaral Gibson said.
However, most roommates agree that such spending is unnecessary. College freshman Jennifer Le, whose roommate is in Zeta Tau Alpha, said that she doesn’t believe that the amount a Big spends during the week has a significant impact on the eventual relationship that develops between a new sorority member and her Big.
“Spending $1,000 would seem like the Big is trying to buy the Little’s sisterhood, which shouldn’t be the point,” Le said. “I don’t think it’s necessary to spend a lot on this week because once the Big is revealed, the Big-Little connection is either instant or not.”
Even though most roommates had an overall positive experience with Big-Little week, many would not reconsider their decision to remain unaffiliated.
“I don’t feel like I’m missing out on something,” Amaral said. “I don’t think the sorority social life is for me.”