This isn’t the post I had planned for today. I hadn’t even thought about writing it until my dad asked me what I thought about what happened at my alma mater, West Virginia University, last week. I am not going to give my opinion but I send my condolences out to that student’s family and friends. What I will give my opinion on is how Greek life is often mistakenly painted in a negative light.
The one thing I told my dad was that all of Greek life shouldn’t be punished for what happened. I feel like WVU might remove all of the sororities and fraternities from campus because that is the kind of rash decisions that are made after catastrophic events. Would you remove all freshman from campus if this happened in a freshman dorm?
Where else on a college campus can you find an entire community that requires their members be better people through volunteering, academics and holding themselves to higher standards than the average student? At WVU, members of Greek life have higher GPAs than those who are not affiliated with a fraternity or sorority. Study hours are required for new members and if you don’t have a high enough GPA as an initiated sister, you are put on standards.
Being part of Greek life is not all about partying. It’s what you make it. I really wasn’t into hanging out with fraternity boys (incase anyone hasn’t noticed, that isn’t my type at all) and I never lived in the sorority house, but being a sister of Sigma Kappa made me a part of something bigger.
No matter where I am, if I called any one of my “sisters”, they would be there if I needed them. I wasn’t necessarily close to every single girl in my chapter but I have never hung out with one of my sisters post-grad and not had an amazing time. I’m 3,000 miles away from school but I have plans to get lunch on Sunday with one of the girls who pledged my senior year. What other organization nourishes that kind of a bond?
I can’t tell you how excited and proud I was when my cousin Madison told me she was going to go through Formal Recruitment at Alabama this past fall. Although there wasn’t a Sigma Kappa on her campus, I knew that no matter where she ended up, she was going to have a rewarding and enriching experience. I ask any young woman who is entering college if she plans on rushing – and if she isn’t, I encourage her to at least explore joining a sorority.
During this conversation, I realized what I learned from being in a sorority. I learned to be a better version of myself. 19 year old me who walked into that house during formal recruitment in September 2008 was awkward, unconfident and a little high strung. The girl who walked out was way more laid back, self-confident and on the path to turning into the type of girl she admired. She knew how to walk away from a situation that wasn’t serving her, to be a friend and sister no matter what past events may have happened, and how to run in high heels. She learned how to be the best version of herself through the love and friendship of her sisters.
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