Let's Talk Greek: All About Sororities
My number one requested post is to talk all about sororities. I completely get it. Sororities are so complicated and what makes things more difficult is that each one is different. I will say though, sororities aren't for everyone and that's completely okay. When going into recruitment here at JMU I was completely overwhelmed. It was really difficult for me to pick houses that I liked and then be rejected by them the next day. If we're being honest, ADPi wasn't my number one choice but now I can't see myself anywhere else. It's too true when I say that the process will work itself out for you. If you aren't sure if a sorority is for you, I would highly suggest going through the recruitment process. If at any point you decide greek life just isn't for you (which is totally okay) you simply just don't have to show up the next day. For those who don't know what sorority life entails I outlined it all below. If I missed something, be sure to leave me a comment below or shoot me an email! I would love to answer any additional questions!
Let's first think about the cost of sororities. A lot of these will be in time, money, and commitment. To start, every chapter (pretty much across America) has a weekly chapter meeting. They are usually are held on Sundays and most last around an hour. These meetings go over all types of greek events on campus, internal sorority events and general announcements. If you are to miss a chapter you are fined a certain amount of money. My sorority charges $50 for every chapter meeting missed. Of course, if there is an emergency such as an illness, death of a loved one, a family event, or a specific schoolwork assignment you can talk to someone to be excused from chapter but you have to get those approved.Each sorority also has fees. These fees include initiation, chapter retreats, food if you have events, and general chapter fees like house renovations. I'm not going to sugar coat it, fees are expensive. JMU has generally inexpensive fees compared to more southern schools. Some schools in the south are very Greek heavy schools and are known to charge around thousands per year. These schools usually have extra amenities such as a personal chef for each house.
When it comes how much time is put into sororities, each one varies. For ADPi here at JMU, we aren't too activity heavy but there definitely are commitments! As a member I have to attend a few fraternity philanthropy events, a few outside sorority philanthropy events (Kappa Alpha Theta, Tri Delta, Sigma Kappa etc...) and some Panhel events. I am also encouraged to participate in greek wide events. ADPi also requires all of the members to be involved in two other on campus events or committees and earn community service hours. If I don't follow these rules I will not be allowed to attend formals.
Each sorority has it's own list of events. These events range from philanthropy (charity) events to social events. First, let's talk about philanthropy events. These change nationwide and throughout sororities. Each sorority has it's own nationwide charity; Alpha Delta Pi's charity is Ronald McDonald House Charities. Each year we hold two campus wide charity events: a barbecue and a baseball tournament. Each sister is required to be there participating and spreading the word.
As for social events each sorority differs. Some things are true to *most* sororities around the nation. Semi-formals and formals are held at most schools. These are basically nights where the girls get dressed up and have the option of taking dates. They are usually held somewhere off campus either at a fun winery barn or a bar if you're on a campus located by a city. ADPi here has Mallard Ball, which is an ADPi tradition nationwide. Everyone gets dressed up in camo but has a great time dancing the night away with sisters. Some sororities have "mixers" as well. These are parties that are hosted by a fraternity and a sorority in a collaborative effort.
Most greek life across the country also has Greek Sing. This is an event where sororities compete against each other in song and dance for awards. People outside of the greek system don't understand it but it's more about strengthening your sisterhood and supporting your chapter. When fraternities compete in Greek Sing it's the funniest thing!
One of my favorite things about being in a sorority is the sisterhood that comes with it. I know that I have 232 sisters that I can go to for help. When I'm in trouble on a Friday night and need a ride, someone will come and get me. When I need to study with someone there is always someone there for me. Whenever I want to get something to eat for dinner I can always call up a sister and ask. If I don't end up calling a sister to study or great a bite to eat, there's a great chance that I will see someone in the dining hall or in the library anyways. I also love that there is always an ADPi in my classes that I can sit with and that there are ADPi's living in my dorm.
I also really enjoy having a big! Let me explain what big's and little's are in a sorority family. I understand, it can get really confusing! So, new recruits after a period of time will be assigned a "big". A big is a sister, usually a pledge class above you that will answer any questions you have, be with you through initiation, and just be a friend. You can rank who you want as your big and they will rank who they want as a "little". This big will have a big as well, and her a big, and so on. For example, my big is Sarah and her big is Cassie. So that makes Cassie my g-big (grand big). Think of daughter, mother, and grandmother relationship. Anyways, big/little reveal is so much fun! Not only do you get the opportunity to create amazing friendships within your sorority but you also get a basket full of free t-shirts and fun little goodies! #freestuff
Like I mentioned earlier, each sorority has a national charity. ADPi's is Ronald McDonald House Charities. Each Friday, a handful of sister travel down to the closest RMHC and volunteer for a few hours. We also raise money and host events (as talked about earlier) to help benefit the charity as well. I know Kappa Alpha Theta raises money for CASA, Tri-Delta raises money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, and Kappa Delta raises money for Girl Scouts. Each sorority is different and each has a different level of involvement but nevertheless, each sorority is somehow involved in philanthropy.
This was the thing that I was most scared about when going through recruitment. Here at James Madison, the entire campus is hazing free as are most campuses. This is the same for almost every campus nationwide. ADPi itself nationwide is hazing free. I have heard stories of greek organizations hazing member and those sororities are breaking the rules as set by Fraternity Sorority Life (FSL). My best advice is if you are hazed throughout the pledging process and you feel uncomfortable, please speak up. Each campus with Greek Life has an FSL office where you can voice your concerns. Also, if you are in a sorority that makes you feel uncomfortable, picks out your flaws, or makes you feel lesser of yourself than there is no business for you to be in that sorority. Those are not real friends and no matter that they say does not "make your bond stronger" if anything it leaves you with bad memories with the sorority.