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Contact CU Independent Opinion Staff Writer Alexis Kantor at Alexis.Kantor@colorado.edu.
During one intense week of September every fall semester, thousands of girls scramble all over the University Hill in Boulder in hopes of becoming a sorority girl. Negative stereotypes are often associated with sorority life. I would like to highlight the unfairness of making generalizations about sororities and bring into view the silver lining that comes with being a member of the Greek Community.
Joining a Greek chapter is not the same thing as joining a student club. Sororities are ritualistic, organized and have strict disciplinary actions for bad behavior. Not to mention, every organization has national headquarters maintained by a governing body of grown adults. The founding women of female fraternities (circa late 19th century) were audacious, scholarly and cooperative. Founders chose Greek letters because they are symbolic of excellence, and women came together to feel included and powerful. Modern day letters, chants and philanthropies are not arbitrary. By being a member of a sorority, a woman can feel independent, yet bonded with the women around her through a deeply rooted legacy.
Sororities are great communities. The most influential factor in my decision to joining a sorority was that I transferred to CU in the spring of my sophomore year. The timing of this transition was awkward and difficult. I was so thrilled to be at CU, and I didn’t know where to plant my feet. Did I want to be a lab rat, a ski bum or sip tea and work on my poetry? And then I went Greek. My friends from home knew I was excited to make new friends in college, but were shocked that I actually went through with rush week.
At first glance one might think committing to a sorority would take away from other interests. But my experience has proved the opposite. So many of my sisters are involved with other clubs as diverse as sports teams, religious associations and journalism. I can always find a sister that wants to go skiing as badly as I do. There are always girls in the house who are as stressed out about homework as I am. All in all, the benefits of sorority community is twofold. It is a safe house away from traditional campus life and a way to feel part of a miniature society, yet at the same time it is an enabler for getting out and being active on campus and in Boulder.
Sororities are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. At what point, other than college, can someone live in a mansion with more than 70 girls her own age? When else would it be acceptable for her to decorate her room with ridiculous crafts and fancy letters? Never again in life will it be so easy to have a blast with a wide variety of women on a moment’s notice. I adore fancy sorority events that push me to look my best, just as much as I adore a movie night in sweatpants with my sisters.
Allow me to spill the beans on this next topic: there is drama in the sorority house. But tell me about a group of people, male and female, who do not go through drama? Honestly, we are all far too busy with the demands of college to dwell on sorority house drama.
Being in a sorority comes with demands that can be overwhelming (tell me about an involved college student who isn’t overwhelmed). In my opinion, all of the perks of Greek life enormously outdo dealing with a headache every now and again.
Even more surprising for some, I believe being in a sorority has helped to foster my academic achievement. By having 205 sisters, I am always bumping into women in my classes, or women who have taken the class before. I can arrange study groups in minutes. Almost any sister will be there to pump you up again when a test goes badly. And when burnout kicks in, you can bet there is a sister waiting at Starbucks.
Even better, Greek houses can use their power in numbers to improve to the community. My childhood friend at the University of Kentucky is in a fraternity, and I love the example he provided me with the kind of reputation he and his brothers want to create for their chapter. Every brother pledged to always hold the door open for a woman, no matter her age or appearance. This is step one in the kind of potential every Greek chapter has to spread kindness.
I can say wholeheartedly that I am proud to be a coffee-loving, selfie-taking, pedicure-getting sorority girl. Many of the fun experiences that I will take away from college would not be possible without a sorority. All weekend ski trips, formals and having a friend to drag me to yoga has made my experience at CU what it is. In a nutshell, Greek life is FUN! But here is the shock value: There is no sorority girl gene in our DNA. Quite honestly, I went through high school thinking about sports and punk rock concerts. Joining a sorority never really crossed my mind. If it wasn’t for the “why not” moment I had when a friend told me about a Greek life orientation, I may have never walked more than a yard up University Hill.
Since my initiation into a sorority, I have felt completely optimistic about the rest of my time in college. I know that I have people who are looking out for me, people who will push me and people I can be my absolute self around. If all negative stereotypes were true about sororities, there would be a lot more girls dropping out and a lot less sporting their letters.