Wednesday, November 21, 2012

HBCU Vs. PWI (Historically Black College/Universities vs Predominately White Institutions)

So as you know from my Blog Entry entitled "My Journey to Greek Life" which talks about how I became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., I attended a PWI- Predominately White Institution. Although I was accepted in three Major HBCU's I decided that my going to a PWI was a better choice for me because of my major (Opera Vocal Performance). Since I knew I was going to be competing among the best and that Whites dominated the Opera world, I felt it was in my best interest to attend a College that would prepare me for those challenges. So is there differences in pledging an HBCU vs a PWI? Yes. Although I did not attend an HBCU, I had tons of friends that did and pledged and they shared their experiences with me.

So what are the differences???

HBCU- Historically Black Colleges and Universities!

PWI- Predominately White Institutions

HBCU's have caps on their lines, whereas PWIs do not. What is a cap? A Cap simply means your line cannot exceed a certain amount. At HBCUs their are generally large turn outs for Rush/Informational. For example for Delta, you might have 400 people attend, and half of them might qualify/apply for membership. Instead of picking all of them, the university may have a cap of only 75 members.

PWI- (Predominately White Institutions) do not have to worry about caps because they do not have the same type of turn outs at Rush. The University that I attended for example the average amount of attendees are around 20-40 (for sororities) and 15-20 for fraternities. The Deltas however always had an average 0f 40-60 basically because at the time when I was a student we were the most popular on our campus.

In the past people have compared PWI's BGLOs to HBCU BGLOs. Some from PWI feel that there is no way anyone who pledged a HBCU had a "process" because there is NO WAY you can pledge a line of 40+ members.

Pledge lines- HBCUs typically line their members by height, and that is how you get your quote unquote "line number" So if you are the shortest on your line, then you were the ACE, and if you were the Tallest, then you were the Tail.

Pledge Lines- PWIs typically your line number is given to you based on your knowledge and was considered "earned." For example the person who is given the number 1 is considered the Captain and NOT the Ace, because they are quick thinkers, or very smart. The last person on the line is considered the "Anchor" and not the Tail.

There are also typically other "positions" that exists at various PWIs such as Co-Captain, the Rock, Mid-Ship, Navigator (which was my position, I was the Deuce as well as the Navigator on my line) and many others......


  1. At predominately White institutions pledging does not always occur how you stated. I attend a major PWI in Texas and we still hold true to the traditional line numbers and not all of the other stuff like Captain, Navigator, etc. Although usually we do have Rocks.

  2. Tradition Is Tradition. Simply Because Some Schools Are PWI, Does Not Mean They Don't Uphold The Same Standards And Traditions A HBCUs. I Understand What You're Saying, But I Would Have To Disagree. The Whole "ACE" And "TAIL" Things Still Apply At All High Education Institutions, Regarding Height And The Amount Of Work Someone Online Has Put In. Line Memebers At PWI Work Hard, If Not Harder Sometimes To Earn Their Letters. This Situation Is Most Commonly Argued As A "Respect Issue", Yes, ISSUE! Members At HBCUs Sometimes Feel As If They Have Worked Harder Than Member At PWI SIMPLY Because They Attended And HBCU And Feel Like They Should Be Respected More, Not The Case! As Long As I Went Through My "Process", And Didn't "SIGN" On The Dotted Line, I Rightfully Deserve As Much Respect As A Member From A PWI! You're Kind Of Contradicting Yourself With This Post Seeing As You Didn't Attend And HBCU. Did You "WORK" For You Letters?

  3. How are numbers given in an Alumnae Chapter?

  4. So instead of line names they get line numbers

  5. Actually, I have to agree with the blogger. I just crossed for at a PWI for a different NPHC sorority last week. We were not arranged by height. In fact, the shortest person was in the middle. I, someone who was a good foot and a half taller than my deuce, am the ace of my line. I was chosen for my knowledge and how well I represented the image

  6. I agree with the blogger. I recently crossed at a PWI for another NPHC sorority. I was the ACE of my line. My deuce is a girl that is a foot and a half shorter than me. Our tail had a few inches on me. I was picked to be the ACE because I had the most knowledge, leadership, best fit the image of the for my sorority. The line was in no way based on height