What You Need to Know About Greek Life
I was one of the girls who always knew she wanted to be in a sorority. I had two older female cousins and looked up to both of them. When I would visit them at the beach over the summer, I would meet their big and little sisters and I knew that was something I wanted for myself. I couldn’t wait for the day I had a “big” and “little” of my own. I always knew that I wanted to join a sorority, but when I got to AU I was surprised to learn that not everyone knew what Greek life was or what it was about. Whether you’re still in high school, a college freshman or even older and still confused about why people go through the recruitment process and what Greek life has to offer, here’s what you need to know.
The basics: Greek life is comprised of fraternities and sororities designated by Greek letters. Each organization brings together people of different backgrounds, and each organization has causes or organizations they support, social events, and other standard events like weekly chapter meetings.
The recruitment process: All schools do a formal recruitment process, whether it be in the fall or the spring. Each school has a different number of rounds and different dress codes, but for the most part, each formal recruitment starts with an open house where you meet sisters from every sorority on campus and ends with a preference round, a formal ceremony put on by the chapter, where you get a glimpse into their traditions and sisterhood. Since every school is different the best advice I can give you as far as wardrobe is concerned is be yourself. Every school has different recommendations of what you should wear for each round, but work within their recommendations and make it your own. For example, we had to wear specific t-shirts they gave us, but you could wear ripped jeans and sneakers if that was your vibe, or nicer jeans and riding boots if that was more your style. If you go to a school that gets more dressed up but you hate the color pink, don’t wear a pink dress. Wear something that you’re comfortable in and that fits with your personal style. The whole recruitment process is about finding people who will accept you and like you for you, so pretending to be something you’re not won’t get you very far. The same goes for conversations – be yourself! Talk about your passions, ask about the things you’re interested in and try to develop connections with the women you meet.
Why go through recruitment: I went through the process knowing my main priority was the sisterhood aspect but everyone goes through recruitment for a different reason. Whether you’re signing up for recruitment because your parents forced you to, because all your friends are doing it, or because you truly want to doesn’t make a difference. The most important thing is to go through it with an open mind. During the process you’ll make friends in your initial group that you go from house to house with and you’ll meet a wide variety of people from your campus. Even if you go through and decide it’s not for you, I recommend everyone give it a try – you never know who you’ll meet or how it’ll turn out. One of my best friends is a girl I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t gone through recruitment and joined the sorority that I did, and another is a girl who went through at the same time as I did and even though we ended up in different sororities we stayed best friends because our friendship strengthened from going through the process together.
What you can gain from Greek life: Besides meeting people in your chapter, Greek life also gives you the opportunity to meet people from other chapters on your campus and even other chapters of your sorority or fraternity at different schools as well. Many sororities and fraternities will come together to create a joint philanthropy event such as flag football or a pancake night to raise money for the organizations they support (whether it be locally or nationally). You’ll also get to meet more people by attending other organizations events. Every sorority and fraternity is student run. Besides having an executive board, most organizations have committees, general boards or chair people, giving you numerous opportunities to take on a leadership role that will help guide the chapter and give you skills needed to get the summer job or internship you’re hoping for. Most sororities and fraternities have leadership trainings as well where they bring together leaders of chapters in a certain region to share what events and programs worked for you and get advice from other chapters. Although I go to AU, I had an opportunity to meet some of the women who lead the chapters of my sorority at the University of Maryland, George Washington University, and other schools in the mid-east.
Besides learning about Greek life from my cousins, I heard about it from my dad as well. He was also involved in Greek life and he would always tell me about the professional opportunities Greek life can provide. By joining a sorority, you’re automatically connected to other women across the country who share your letters. Being in the same sorority as someone in a job or field you’re interested in can give you common ground (just like if you went to the same school) to start a conversation or reach out to them. At my school, many babysitting jobs and internship opportunities are also passed down from older sisters to younger sisters. I always believed my dad when he told me about the network, but getting to see it for myself I know he was right.
Being in a sorority will have its ups and downs just as any other organization you’re involved in would, but it will open up opportunities you didn’t even know existed. I hope this helps give you an idea of what you can expect from the process and why it’s worthwhile to go through recruitment; if you have any more questions please comment, email me, reach out to me on social media, or any other method that works for you!