Seriously…these weeks are flying by and I can’t believe it’s already Friday again! This week I am so very excited to introduce you to Anne, who blogs at RockyMtnBliss. Before college, I truly believed that I would join a sorority because they were so idealized on television, however, once freshman classes were in full swing I realized I wouldn’t have time to join. I have always wondered what really goes into being a member of a sorority, so I’m glad to have sorority life explained to not only me, but to you as well!
From wild parties to horrifying hazing stories, fraternities and sororities have been sensationalized by pop culture since their founding over 100 years ago. If you think fraternities and sororities are anything like Animal House I hope this post helps you see Greek Life from a different light.
One of the best parts of college life is finding a place where you belong. A home base where your friends become family throughout hours of study sessions, pop quizzes and broken hearts. For me that space was through the doors of my sorority chapter house. As a first generation college student everything I knew about sorority life was shaped by the stories told by television and movies, but after a semester on campus the women I saw proudly wearing their Greek Letters had piqued my interest and I wanted learn more.
What I’ll be explaining applies primarily to the twenty-six National Panhellenic Sororities. There are other groups that operate differently in some areas (like recruitment) but for the most part all fraternities and sororities stand behind a similar mission.
Every campus has different structures for recruitment, most offer 2 types of recruitment at different times of the year. Formal recruitment traditionally takes place in the fall and requires committing a few days to learning about all the sorority chapters on your campus. You register for recruitment at your campus involvement office or Fraternity Life office (if you have one).
Formal recruitment is time for getting to know each of the sororities by getting to know some of the women, touring their houses or meeting spaces, and learning about their philanthropies. Throughout the process you will work with a woman known as a recruitment counselor (or Rho Chi / Rho Gamma) who is there to answer your questions.
Recruitment counselors are sorority women who have been selected to help potential new members throughout recruitment. During this time they disaffiliate from their chapters, meaning that they will not show preference towards any chapter or another, and they will not tell you which chapter is their own. This is to help you make the choice that’s right for you and not influence your decisions.
Recruitment is a process of mutual selection. You pick which chapters you feel most at home at, and the sororities select who they wish to invite to join. This doesn’t mean people are gossiping about you or looking through your facebook page – it’s more like a job interview.
Do Sororities Haze?
Hazing is illegal in all 50 states and if a sorority (or any organization) if found to be hazing they would be shut down immediately and may face legal prosecution. National sororities have gone so far to prevent hazing that many are no longer allowed to do things that could be interpreted as hazing, including scavenger hunts. If a sorority is asking new members to complete any one thing, they must also ask the active members to do the same (at the same time). You can’t give new members a test, and not give that same test to the other members.
There are no weigh-ins, no required drinking, no reduced diets, no mandatory dating of a specific fraternity. All of those items are fiction created by the movies and tv.
Sororities encourage strong leadership and academics
Sorority members take on leadership roles, such as directly managing and overseeing budgets and their peers. Chapter leaders learn how uphold policies and procedures set by their national organizations and work side by side with alumni who assist with the interpretation of the rules and regulations.
Sororities require a minimum GPA and on many university campuses sororities have a higher average gpa then the rest of the college population.
What are the rules about drinking?
If your campus has chapter houses where members live, no sorority will allow alcohol on the premises. This is due largely for insurance purposes. Members who are over 21 may choose to drink, but they can not bring alcohol to the chapter house.
College is a time when a lot of people drink underage, but that doesn’t mean it’s encouraged by being a member of a Greek organization. Both Fraternities and Sororities may have parties where alcohol is present, but underage members are not allowed to drink. Events with alcohol are required to have a team of individuals who are sober and responsible for the safety of the event.
Is being in a sorority expensive?
Sororities are just like any other organization and they require funds to operate. Membership dues vary largely dependent on if the sorority has a chapter facility to maintain (someone has to keep the lights on) and what types of events they do throughout the year. Membership dues will often help pay for local staff who assist the collegiate members with things they may not otherwise be able to do (for chapters with living facilities, that may include a house director and a chef). Sorority dues are typically comparable with other student organizations and if the sorority has a living facility, they may be less or the same as living in student housing.
What are the benefits of being in a sorority?
Sorority membership is a great opportunity for finding a group of friends with a shared purpose. Everyone in the sorority has an understanding of why they are there: to fulfill the mission of the larger organization, hold themselves and others accountable, and grow and develop as young women.
Sororities help fundraise for non-profit organizations and consistently donate nationally to groups like St. Jude, Make a Wish and Children’s Miracle Network. Membership in a sorority teaches time management and helps you learn skills that you may otherwise not experience until your first job outside college.
I hope that this provided some insight to what sorority membership looks like and helps dispel some of the myths that surround Greek Life as a whole. Feel free to leave any questions or comments you have about sororities, fraternities or Greek Life as a whole and I’ll be happy to answer to the best of my abilities.
Annie is the blogger behind RockyMtnBliss.com and an alumni member of Delta Delta Delta. As a Colorado native she loves spending time in the mountains. At RockyMtnBliss she covers diy projects, home decor, and helps demonstrate how to live a blissful life full of creative opportunities. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Bloglovin’!
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More COLLEGE CHRONICLE Posts:
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- Why You NEED to Get Involved in College
- A Beginner’s Guide to Studying Abroad