Vita Dadoo Lomeli
S elf-Selection Day is one of the most widely anticipated events in the spring semester at Davidson. A tradition that has spanned several decades, Self-Selection Day celebrates the induction of new members into the four Eating Houses on campus: Rusk, Turner, Connor, and Warner Hall. In the past, Self-Selection Day festivities have taken place on a Friday and consisted of two major activities: a morning reveal of one’s Eating House followed by induction ceremonies, all which take place during the night. Self-Selection Day is preceded by several recruitment events, which include a service event in the fall, an education event in the spring, and a series of sisterhoods catered to prospective members of Eating Houses. Currently, around 63% of the female student body is enrolled in an Eating House.
revealed that Self-Selection Day would be held on a Saturday January 30, due to a conflict with the athletic calendar. The initial date for self-selection falls on the same night as men’s basketball’s nationally televised game against VCU. Since the athletic calendar was released, Cristi Hovet ’16, Eating House Ambassador, has worked closely with Erica Urban, Patterson Court Council Advisor, and self -selection chairs in each house to plan for Self-Selection Day and the events leading up to it. “We met with house Presidents and Deans to try to fix a new date for self-selection,” Hovet explained. “We thought about splitting self selection day between Friday and Saturday, or even moving it up one week, but that would severely shorten the recruitment process.” With that in mind, Hovet and her peers set a new date and a new schedule for Self-Selection Day.
In the new Self-Selection Day schedule, morning activities will be conducted an hour later and evening activities an hour earlier. Additionally, this year’s self selection day is introducing a partnership with Dining Services in Vail Commons. “Commons was really excited about self-selection and reached out to us and asked us what time should they open… they were really enthusiastic about self selection and wanted to see how they could be a part of it,” Hovet explained.
The change in the date for Self-Selection Day resonates with changes in the recruitment process that are being orchestrated by Self Selection Chairs. These changes aim to demystify the interactions between Eating Houses and blur the differences between them. For instance, self-selection chairs are hosting a panel to provide prospective Eating House members with information about each house. This informative panel is taking place instead of the Eating House Walk-Around: an open-house event hosted in previous years for freshmen to visit and interact with members of different Eating Houses. “We felt as if the walk through was an ineffective way to introduce freshmen to Eating Houses,” Claire Kane ’18, self-selection chair for Turner House mentioned. “The goal for us this year us to eliminate the stereotypes associated with each house.”
Although the change in date for Self-Selection Day sprung from a scheduling conflict, VITA DADOO LOMELI Staff Writer self-selection chairs agree that having self-selection span an entire day can change the dynamic between Eating Houses and their newest members. “The Saturday aspect will give people who didn’t get into their first choice a chance to bond with all the girls in their house and know that regardless of the house they’re in, they’ll be surrounded by a great group of people,” Olivia Strader ’18, self-selection chair for Connor House commented. Specific plans for Self-Selection Day – other than the traditional events – are still in the works. However, as the date approaches, self-selection chairs are mindful about retaining and expanding the traditions associated with this event.
The Eating Houses pride themselves on being open and inclusive. Self-selection chairs, as well the female Paterson Court organizations, continue to encourage the growth of the system and provide a positive social experience for its members. “We’re trying to move past the stereotypes. At the end of the day we want to make girls feel that regardless of which Eating House they join, or which they’re placed in, they’re going to have a great time,” Strader ’18 concluded.