Big and Little Brothers

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The following is best practices regarding the relationship of Big and Little Brothers, the process for pairing, and other known Chapter processes.

Pairing Processess

Chapters utilize different practices for pairing a Big and Little Brother. Below are some examples and best practices.

  • Ranked choices: a popular system for pairing a Big and Little is to have both interested Big Brothers and the Initiates each submit a ranked list of whom they would like to be paired with. For example each submits a list of their top three choices. A Brother and Initiate who rank each other as their number one choice would be paired. Then the Chapter would match other pairs that are on each other's list in other orders. This may not always match everyone up perfectly. The Chapter should have a process in place for determining all the intricacies of pairing a Brother and Initiate and provide transparency on that process.
  • Personality pairing: Chapters utilize surveys of both Brothers interested in being a Big Brother and Initiates. In those surveys both groups are asked personality questions, interests, favorite movie/book/color etc. and Bigs and Littles are paired based off of compatibility from those answers.

Other Practices

  • Limitations: some Chapters limit their Initiate Advisors from having a little to allow them to be unbiased and provide equal support to all Initiates
    • Some exceptions may be made if a Brother and Initiate are both the first pick for each other
  • Weighted Preferences:
    • Chapters may give preference to a Brother who does not have a little, or whose little has transferred/left, to become a Big Brother in order to give more Brothers the opportunity
    • Chapters may give preference in determining a pair to a family line that is diminishing in order to help them remain an active family line
  • Needing more Big Brothers
    • If a Chapter does not have enough eligible Brothers to be Big Brothers other options include allowing a Big to take two Littles (often referred to as twins), others allow their Alumni who are active with the Chapter to receive a Little

Big/Little celebration activities

Big/Little Activities

The follow are activities planned for Big/Little bonding after pairing

  • Big/Little week where there is an activity every day- Monday is a bedtime story with a baked good (usually cookies) and milk, Tuesday is a small gift or card on an interview with a Brother, Wednesday Bigs decorate the Little's room and Thursday is the Big Brother Ceremony and Bigs put together a basket for their Little
    • Note: Universities may prohibit decorating rooms without the permission of the individuals who live there
  • Weekly gifts at Initiate meetings. Candy basket, a clue basket, decorate their door/car and a big gift for big little reveal.
  • Big Brothers provide their Little with their first set of letters. Sometimes a standard set everyone in the Chapter has, other times a family line pattern.


The follow are activities Chapters use to reveal Big/Little pairings.

  • Bigs pick a song and give the lyrics to their Little sometime during Big/Little Week, and then at the reveal ceremony, the Bigs hid behind a curtain while their chosen song played, and the Littles would run up to the stage and their Big would jump out from behind the curtain
  • Bigs wind yarn all through the Chapter room before the Littles arrive. This includes through desks, projectors, around chairs, across other Brothers, etc. Once the Littles arrive they have to follow the yarn to find their Big
  • Bigs buy two pairs of socks that match and give one pair to the IA. The IA gives the socks to the Little and at the reveal ceremony, the Bigs and Littles wear the socks and find each other (Bigs are generally hidden behind posters or cards).

Voting on Initiates

For information on best practices for Big Brothers during Initiate voting see Initiation Voting.


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