Over the past week, you may have noticed swarms of girls in sundresses or an excess of Greek letter-emblazoned T-shirts littering the College campus. I know when I was a freshman (and almost trampled by 200 girls in heels and pearls while attempting to enter the University Center), I was terrified and confused by what I now know to be sorority recruitment. Waste two weekends of my life getting dressed up and having awkward conversations? And I have to pay to do this? I thought people were crazy.
p. Of course, a year later I joined a sorority myself, and now I sit on its executive board. So, what instigated this change of heart? Blackmail? A lobotomy? No, just the realization that joining a sorority can be meaningful and benefit your college experience (I know those cheesy cliches make everyone want to vomit, but sometimes they’re true).
p. As mature and intelligent as we are, there are still weird perceptions that real sorority life is the same as sorority life in the movies. There are Greek systems at some universities that may have, well, questionable priorities. But at the College, I quickly learned that Greek life is what you make of it. I laughed when someone asked me to join a sorority my freshman year, and now I can say that being in a sorority has truly changed my life for the better.
p. Through my sorority, I’ve been able to take on leadership roles I never have held before. Because many sororities on campus have 70 to 80 members, there are a lot of ways to take on responsibilities and get more involved than if you were in a smaller club. If you want to dedicate your life to your chapter you can run for president, but there are committees, minor positions and events that allow everyone to get involved.
p. For some people, the service aspect of the Greek system is most important, so you can help organize fundraisers or plan philanthropy events. For others, the social aspect is more appealing, so there are sisterhood events and date parties. If you think about it, being a member of a sorority is a rare opportunity to work with an organization whose main priority is its own members. It may sound bizarre, but it provides a chance to learn how to lead, plan, organize and work with your peers before you enter the real world.
p. Joining a sorority has expanded my college experience more than I ever expected. No matter what type of people you usually hang out with, being in a sorority allows you to meet and make friends with students who are different than you. I’m sure that I never would have met most of the amazing women in my sorority if I hadn’t become a member.
p. Finally, because I can’t write an entire column without a little feminism, being in a sorority has given me the chance to participate in an entirely female-centered space (you know, besides Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood and the women’s studies department). In all seriousness, though, women often have trouble speaking up in co-ed or male-dominated organizations, and being in a sorority gives women the opportunity to be active in an organization without that barrier.
p. While these two weeks of recruitment may have destroyed my sleep schedule and infringed on my sit-around-all-weekend time, I am happy to be a part of the Greek system at the College.
p. __Devan Barber is a senior at the College.__