Sororities: to Join or Not to Join?

After months of deciding on roommates, housing arrangements, meal plans, and dorm decor, I finally feel like I have my life together, and a solid plan for my new life in the Fall. However, there is still one decision I can’t seem to make...do I want to join a sorority? To find out, I decided to talk to Lakeside teachers and alumni about their sorority experiences in college, as well as seniors that currently plan on joining a sorority when they go to school in the Fall. Turns out, there is no foolproof way to know whether or not joining a sorority would be a good fit for me because all sororities are a little different, but I did learn some important information about the general level of commitment and personality that are required to get the most out of the sorority of your choice.

There are two main different types of sororities. There are sororities regulated under the National Panhellenic Conference(NPC), and sororities regulated under the National Pan-Hellenic Council(NHPC). The NPC dictates recruitment rules and requirements on each campus, as well as investigates allegations of misconduct or illegal activities for the 26 main line women’s groups regulated under the Governance of the NPC. The NHPC is the group of historically black sororities, of which there are nine, often collectively referred to as “The Divine Nine.”

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Kicks and Giggles: Lakeside Alumna Ariel Schwartz enjoys laughing and lounging with her fellow Gamma Phi Beta sorority sisters.

Photo courtesy of Ariel Schwartz

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Sororities are a huge time and money commitment. There are frequent required meetings, fundraisers, and parties for all members. “Another expectation was that you needed to accept any invitation you received for things such as parties, meals, study sessions, etc. even if you already had other plans,” said Lakeside alumna Isabella Cantor. Of course, a lot of events are optional, however choosing to opt out of sorority activities can be frowned upon, and can withhold the full sorority experience. “I feel like the more you put in, the more you get out. But no matter how involved you choose to be, it is a BIG time commitment,” said Lakeside alumna Ariel Schwartz.

Commitment aside, sororities are an excellent way to meet new people, get involved, and make friends fast.“I loved being in my sorority, Sigma Alpha Omega- the Christian sorority at UGA, because it was another outlet for meeting some really sweet girls! It provided events that let me have so much fun and meet new people and friendships that led to me meeting my husband. I wouldn’t trade my experiences in my sorority for anything,” said Henderson Middle School teacher Jennifer Rockecharlie. If you’re like me however, the idea of making tons of friends all at once might sound more overwhelming than it does comforting. “An unwritten expectation of the sorority was that you had to absolutely love everyone in the sorority-even if you didn’t know them,” said Cantor. This might sound like a red-flag for introverts like myself, but for all of the social butterflies out there, it could be a perfect fit!

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"Throw out your preconceived notions about the group you ‘have’ to or ‘want’ to join, have fun and let the recruitment process take care of the rest."

- Lakeside Teacher Lenn Reed

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There’s no real way to know for sure if a sorority is right for you, because it depends on your own personal values, priorities, and personality, but there is certainly no harm in taking a look at the sororities your college campus has to offer. Unless you’re absolutely positive you don’t want to be a part of a sorority, I would highly recommend participating in the Rush process to see how you like it, and if it turns out it’s not for you, at least you’ll know you aren’t missing out! “Whether or not you decide to join or not join, your life will work out and ultimately, your decision probably won’t have a huge effect on the rest of your life.” said Cantor. If you’ve already decided that you want to join a sorority, but are worried about finding the right fit for you, don’t stress, “There should be a group to fit most any person but to find that fit during recruitment you must pay close attention to the focus of each sorority and your basic response to each chapter. Then throw out your preconceived notions about the group you “have” to or “want” to join, have fun and let the recruitment process take care of the rest,” said Lakeside teacher Lenn Reed.

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