Writer: Ben Yarberry
Is life in a sorority really like it is depicted in films? Are there non-stop parties and college students skipping classes, or is life in a sorority about job networking and everlasting friendship? After speaking with two current members and one alumni member of the Chi Omega Sorority of the Florida Gulf Coast University, these questions were answered.
There are many reasons why a woman would be interested in joining a sorority Kat Stamford said.” I was moving away from home, and I wasn’t going to college with anyone I knew. I wanted to join so I could make friends”. This was a reason given by the other members interviewed as well.
But making friends is not the only reason according to Peyton Turregano, a current member of Chi Omega. She explained friendship was an important part of joining a sorority, but she was also interested for future job networking. Turregano explained that most sororities are huge, and a fellow “sister” could help you get your foot in the door almost anywhere you would like.
Amber Hass said she disliked how people stereotype girls in a sorority. Hass stated that many girls who are not in a sorority perceive them as “partiers who have bad grades and use our parents money and buy our friends”. Stamford added that sororities are always in the public eye any time there is a case of hazing in the news. She knows this is touchy subject considering there have been instances of injury and deaths in some hazing cases. Stamford explained, “In Chi Omega you are more likely to be welcomed with smiles, hugs and presents than anything else“. Parties are also a large misconception in sororities the three members explained. Hass stated, “We’re in college, of course, there are parties. But it is not like what it is made out to be in the movies. We don’t go out every night”. Turregano said, “We are all intelligent and exceptional students”.
A sorority has rules that the members must follow or they will be reprimanded. These rules entail not drinking too much, low grades, drug usage, or acting “unsisterly” (being mean or talking behind another members back). When asked what rule of the sorority they would liked changed, Hass quickly answered that she disagrees with the rule that members cannot wear sorority gear while working out or drinking. “I think as long you are conducting yourself in an appropriate manner, you should be allowed to wear your sorority letters. It helps bring attention to your sorority any time you are out in public.
Many of the members have fond memories of Chi Omega. All of those interviewed for this article said one of the best memories was “getting a ‘Little.” A “little” is a little sister or new member that active members help mentor through their time as a chapter member. Stamford said, “I remember when I got my little. You go through a week to find out who your little will be through cryptic notes and cute gifts.” There are also sorority and fraternity get-togethers where you can meet many different people. Sororities on campus can have anywhere from 60 to 200 members. Fraternity will usually have upwards of 50 members. “Some of my best friends are from different sororities”, said Hass.
Sororities do public, or philanthropic, service. These events can raise money for specific groups or companies. “These events can range between kickball games between fraternities and sororities to even a chili cook off”, said Turregano. Sometimes a sorority will link themselves with a particular organization and raise funds for that group each time. Other times the group may be raising money to help a sister sorority or fraternity’s organization.
Family members sometimes have mixed feelings about their daughter joining a sorority. “My parents were afraid I was going to do poorly in school because of partying, but they did think it was a good idea for me to get involved in a new place”, stated Stamford. Hass said she had to educate her parents about sorority life because they only knew of the negatives from publicity. Each girl said she felt she had made the right decision joining the sorority. But they caution future members that it will not be like the movies. You will not be going to “Frat” parties every night. But you will learn what a real bond between sisters is, and for some it’s a lifetime friendship.