A-L-P-H-A S-I-G-M-A Alpha Sigma Tau! This is an example of showing pride in your sorority! Bellowing chants like these are a part of what make being in a sorority fun. But, like most fresh-out-of-high school-students, joining a sorority was the farthest thing from my mind when I first came to college.
I entered my freshman year at Bloomsburg much as any other freshman had: with a mixture of nerves and excitement. I was excited to experience a ‘college party’ and nervous for the work load I knew I’d accumulate in no time. I was ready to meet new people, make new friends, and get a taste of what it would be like to live on my own. At no point in my whirlwind of excited thoughts did I ever consider the prospect of joining a sorority. I didn’t even really know what a sorority was! But, as second semester rolled around, I had become accustomed to seeing girls sporting there letters on campus. I was even beginning to get a little curious. So, as RUSH week was soon approaching, I had made up my mind that I was going to Rush, and I am so glad that I did.
Typically, sorority life is viewed with two vastly different attitudes: those who feel joining a sorority is a vital part of being in college, and those who cringe at the mere idea of being classified as a ‘sorority girl.’
Being in a sorority is not what you see on television or in movies. Yes, there are social gatherings, fraternity boys, and visitors from national organizations, but thats not ‘all there is to’ being a part of a sorority. There is so much more!
First of all, you’re not ‘in’ a sorority. You are a part of something that is bigger than yourself, that without the other women beside you, you aren’t a part of anything. The idea that you are a tiny part of something that is bigger than you is inspiring to many, including myself.
Sorority life encompasses all kinds of things from community service projects, to dance performances, to volunteer work. It is certainly not all about partying and looking ‘pretty.’
Becoming a member of a sorority is allowing yourself to form close bonds with women who share common interests with you. Because you have similar views on particular matters, friendship is created, not bought, as many feel it is.
Lauren Scott said joining a sorority changed her entire college experience, “My college experience would have been completely different if I had not joined a sorority. I would not have gotten the opportunities to be as involved in campus affairs as I am, or have gotten to participate in Greek Sing, which is one of my fondest memories as a sister.”
Scott told me that, just like myself, she never pictured herself as a ‘sorority girl.’ Why? Because, again, just like myself, she had been making her judgments based off of television, movies, and the opinions of others. Once she had gotten the opportunity to judge for herself, she realized she belonged right where she is.
Another positive of being in a sorority is that you get to know so many different types of women from other sororities too, not just your own. Taylar Thompson, a sister of Chi Sigma Rho, tells me “If I weren’t in a sorority, I would’ve never gotten to know and appreciate such diverse women. I have learned something from each one, and feel fortunate to consider them sisters.
Now, many non-Greeks make the claim that “I don’t want to have to pay for my friends.” It sincerely angers me when I hear this because they are making accusations about things they are only mildly informed about. Adrienne Slutzky, a fellow sister of Alpha Sigma Tau, commented, “I hear that a lot and every time I do I can’t help but to shudder at how misinformed people are. You are paying to be a part of something positive!”
Well said, Ms. Slutzky. I completely agree with her. You’re paying for something positive, not to ensure you have people to ‘hang out’ with. The money you pay (different sororities have different amounts) gets paid only once per semester and the majority of it is for National Dues. A small fragment of that money gets stowed away for events like date parties, fund raisers, projects, and other events.
I personally feel that BU students and Bloomsburg locals in general have a negative view of Greek life. There is so much stigma surrounding sororities and fraternities due to what is observed on television, that it’s no wonder students are reluctant to get involved. However, if it weren’t for Greek life, campus itself would be rather different.
Every fraternity and sorority on campus is required to complete a certain amount of community service hours. If your frat or sorority exceeds that amount, a banner with your letters gets hung in the Kehr Union for any passerby’s to see.
The community service events both sororities and fraternities participate in, both on and off campus, are endless. So far this year, my sorority and numerous other sororities and fraternities participated in countless events. The blood drive that was held in September was attended by almost every fraternity and Sorority. My job was to help hand out food and drinks to donors. There was recently a breast cancer walk that was also attended by many fraternities and sororities.
Last year, my sorority also took part in Bowling for Kids Sake which is organized by the national Big Brothers Big Sisters program. We went to a local bowling alley and bowled with little kids for an entire afternoon! It was very rewarding.
This year, like almost every previous year, both fraternities and sororities constructed floats for the Homecoming parade. Phi Sigma Sigma, Theta Tau Omega, and Kappa Sigma all made spectacular floats that went in the parade.
By joining a sorority, you will gain more than you expect, I guarantee it. I asked Katie Elliott, a sister of Sigma Sigma Sigma, why she joined a sorority. She responded, “I wanted to gain life-long friendships. I wanted to be a part of a sisterhood. I don’t have any real sisters, so being a member of a sorority has given me what I felt I needed.”
Along with gaining ‘the sisters you never had,’ being in a sorority will help you to become responsible. Again, sororities are not focused on partying. Most here at Bloom have a certain GPA that has to be met in order to even participate in sorority-held events, or even to pledge in the first place.
However, joining a sorority does not only expand your social life, it is most beneficial when it comes to getting a job and starting a career after graduation.
You can make valuable connections by joining a sorority. Often times, the alumnae of sororities come back to Bloom to say hi and meet new members. If you know one of the alumnae in a specific career field that you yourself are interested in, having them as a reference is priceless. Now of course knowing someone ‘on the inside’ isn’t all that is necessary to get the job you want, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
Lastly, being able to include that you were a member of a sorority on your resume will look impressive. Even though the media have successfully distorted the public’s view about sororities, business professionals know the benefits that come from being in one.
I am very proud to be a member of a sorority. I truly feel I have made friends I’ll always cherish. Without my sisters, my college experience would not only be drastically different, I feel as though it would have been utterly boring!
I encourage anyone who is even mildly interested in sororities to participate in Rush week. It won’t cost you anything, and if at the end you still feel sororities aren’t for you, then at least you have gained some knowledge you would not have otherwise.