Sorority and fraternity houses, sister and brotherhoods, seem to be an integral part of the college experience for many. As seniors at Wilsonville High School begin to think about college next year, many will think about whether or not they want to be involved in Greek life.
Most sororities are part of a Panhellenic Conference, a congress of 26 national and international sororities. Each of these sororities has a specific charity that they support throughout the year with galas, dances, and fundraisers help to raise money.
Colleges that have sororities and fraternities have many different houses, each with a different ‘personality’ so you really want to get to know each one. The first step of joining Greek life is rushing; this involves going to all of the houses, meeting the members, and hearing about their values and the overall personality of each house. This process is divided into different days; clothing typically gets more formal as the week goes on.
I interviewed four girls that graduated from Wilsonville High School last year so I could share their experiences being a part of a sorority.
Question 1: What sorority are you in and what made you decide this was the one for you?
Kiley Kaiser, a member of Alpha Chi Omega at Oregon State University “didn’t know anything about Greek life before rushing” and “chose a house based on its environment and how fun the girls at the house seemed!” It is best to go into rush with no specific expectations of what house you would like to be apart of as you want to meet all of the girls with an open mind.
Another member of Greek life at Oregon State University, Lindsey Hartford “knew about Theta going into recruitment”. But Hartford told me that when meeting all of the houses, the aspects of Theta that she liked the most did not seem to be present. Hartford also chose her house based on “the women I felt my values aligned most with and I got along with best!” Even if you do have a house you like going into rush it is always important to give every house a chance even if in some cases, like Lindsey’s, it ends up being the one!
Delta Gamma at the University of Arizona is where Sydney Carskadon felt she fit in the best! She told me “All the girls I met were so genuine and sweet, and I had so much in common with them! Also, I loved their philanthropy!” Their philanthropy is Service for Sight, which funds five schools the organization founded to help the visually impaired.
Lastly, Gracie Thompson, a fellow member of Greek life at the University of Arizona is in Kappa Kappa Gamma, she just trusted the process. “Every conversation I had with them I really enjoyed and I just knew that that is where I would be happiest” Thompson stated.
Question 2: How was the process of rushing for you?
Rushing can be stressful. You have to go back and forth from house to house every day for about one week. Kaiser added that rush was “way more stressful than I thought it was going to be! I was nervous but looking back I shouldn’t have been because everything happens for a reason!” Not only is Greek life a great way to get involved in philanthropy, but it is also a great way to make new friends! Carskadon confirmed, stating “It was definitely different than anything I’d done before, but still so fun! I met a ton of girls right when school started who were rushing too!”
If you are going to a school that is out of state, or you just want to meet a lot of new people rushing is a great way to meet girls whose values and personalities match well with yours!
Question 3: What is one thing you wish you knew before you joined?
Many people may have a preconceived idea of what a sorority girl should be. However, there is so much more to Greek life than just this! Carskadon added “You do not have to fit into the stereotype of a typical sorority girl in order to go Greek!! I never thought I would join one, but I found people who were so down to earth and fun, and I’m so glad I decided to rush!”
Additionally, this stereotype seems even further than the truth as Hartford stated, “I wish I knew it was a big commitment and it is super fun, but it’s not always fun and games. Greek life can have a representation of being super fun and chill, but that’s not the case all the time, it is more of a motivating group inspiring college students to become leading women.”
Thompson had family in Greek life, so she felt she had more information going into the process, however, she still added, “but I wish I knew how much time would go into the little things that we are required to do. Also, they can be pretty strict.”
Question 4: What is your favorite and least favorite part about being in a sorority?
Sororities are super fun and a great thing to be a part of! However, being a part of one is a lot of responsibility as they have required chapter every week to keep everyone caught up and standards that set guidelines on things like social media posts.
“My favorite part is all of the people I have met and all the opportunities I have already gotten and will continue to get. My least favorite part is how strict they are. They check your social media and make sure you are staying by all of the national guidelines.” Thompson states, confirming the idea that they can be strict, but they also provide amazing opportunities and amazing friendships!
Additionally, sororities come with dues that you have to pay. These go towards things like the house that the girls live in and all of the events that are held by the sorority. Carskadon added that she loves “how involved it’s allowed me to be within my school and how many friends I’ve made!” However, the least favorite part would have to be the cost.
Question 5: What is a typical day in your life being a part of a sorority?
Of course, life is a little different for everyone lately given the current situation with Corona. However, these circumstances have not stopped some socially distant events from taking place! Kaiser stated that “it’s different this year compared to previous but I hang out with the girls in my PC almost every day and we normally do chapter together and then go out on the weekends.” PC is a pledge class, which is the girls that joined the house the same year as you did.
Another important part of Greek life is chapter, which is a meeting that is held about once a week to catch everyone up on what is happening and share any important news. Hartford really enjoys these meeting adding “We have meetings at least once a week that is super fun and meaningful” Hartford also describes her week: “I go to school like normal and throughout the day I’m talking to my sisters a lot because they’re my best friends! On the weekends we usually try to spend time together and do something fun! It gives you something to look forward to every week.”
Question 6: What events have been able to take place/ what events are you looking forward to the most?
Thompson told me that many events they had planned, such as a basketball tournament to raise money for their philanthropy, or a food truck outside of their house were unfortunately not able to happen this year. However, she added “We have been able to have sisterhood events over zoom. For example, we got mini pumpkins and paint from the house then we went back home and joined a zoom call to paint them.”
Hartford is also looking forward to participating in both sisterhood and philanthropic activities, she also added that “I’m super excited to be able to participate in our philanthropy in person! It will be nice to finally have other chapters involved with ours in person and connect with the other members of Greek Life while supporting a great cause!”
Whether you decide to join a sorority or you go through recruitment and decide that it is not for you the whole process is a great learning experience and can help you to connect with so many amazing girls at your school.
Also, through these interviews, it became very evident that joining Greek life is so much more than the cookie-cutter idea of what a sorority girl should be and they are a great way to get involved at your school, find amazing friendships, and a great learning experience that provide so many amazing opportunities!