Bid Day

The Friday Photo
August 15, 2014

Bid Day, Georgia College
Yesterday I had to meet someone at Georgia College in nearby Milledgeville. I snagged a great parking spot facing the campus quad shaded by tall trees and surrounded by beautiful buildings.

I happened upon sorority Bid Day announcements, a ritual that is taking place across college campuses now.

I’d never seen a Bid Day because my alma mater, Guilford College, doesn’t have Greek organizations.

A throng of young women stood together while shrieks and cheers erupted among them. They were standing in groups with matching t-shirts and tank tops while the newest members pulled their new shirt over what they had worn to the quad. Women around them hugged and smiled.

They were a homogenized group-slender attractive young white women, most with long hair, standing on suntanned legs below short shorts. They looked excited in their uniform colored groups.

I wondered about the young women who didn’t get their first choice,  who couldn’t participate because of the cost (it is easily thousands with dues, clothes for social events, etc), who thought they were too heavy, not pretty enough, too dark skinned, had no legacy to claim as leverage, or who didn’t make it to Bid Day at all.

A social worker told me she once worked shifts for the suicide/crisis phone line in Athens during Bid Week at UGA.  The phones rang off the hook with young women who were falling apart due to the outcomes of rushing a sorority. What a hard way to begin a college career.

I hope leaving the quad with a much coveted t–shirt won’t keep those young woman from really stretching themselves well beyond the confines of their sorority house and Greek life.

Worth reading again

The Friday Photo
May 30, 2014
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
I read ” I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” during my first semester at Guilford. All freshmen were required to take an interdisciplinary studies course, and the topic that year was Freedom. We worked our way through some challenging material that semester, which also included Dostoyevsky’s “The Grand Inquisitor” from The Brothers Karamazov and work by theologian Paul Tillich.

Most of the books I saved from college and grad school were donated to a library book sale a few weeks ago. I don’t know what happened to my copy of “The Grand Inquisitor” but I put “Caged Bird” and the Paul Tillich book in the box taken to the library. While I was in Augusta yesterday I bought a copy of “Caged Bird” to read again.

My classmate Dan Carpenter and I still talk about how high the bar was set for us that first semester by our professor, Jonathan Malino. Dan is still one of my dearest friends, Jonathan’s teaching still informs my work and ideas, and “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is still worth reading.