So how do you keep in touch with your families through the summer? The end of our semester is quickly approaching (finals begin a week from today), and my sisters and I were discussing a way to keep in touch throughout the summer.
We plan on having a few sleepovers to get together, keep one another from getting discouraged, and also plan for the fall, but we were also thinking of a letter writing chain. Do any of you do these things? The first person (alphabetically) sends letters to the next, who sends letters to the next, so on and so forth, and the final person alphabetically sends letters to the first person. The idea is that you'll always be receiving and sending for 3 months.
What do you do with your chapters? Anything special? How do you welcome everyone back in the fall?
Thanks in advance!!!
My name's Angie, and I'm in a strange situation. I belong to a sorority that the school calls a society (it was founded in 1851 and the College required it to be a literary society, and though it functions now as a sorority, we can't technically call it that), Belles Lettres, and we were "re-founded" a few semesters ago (the group fell apart for about 5 years).
My question focuses mainly around sisterhood. We have quite a few new members this year, which is fantastic for us, and they are all exceptionally close, because all our pledges who completed pledging live on the same floor of the same dorm...in fact, many of them are roommates. While they are all very close knit, they seem to be very isolated from the rest of the group. This has been a recent development, but it's something that the rest of the group is really worried about. The pledge process was fine--all the girls got along great, but shortly after initiation, the new actives began to break off from the rest of us. I feel very disconnected from our group...quite a few of us do. We're working on resolving this situation for the next semester, but we're a small group (30 girls), so obviously there's some hurt feelings and resentment that can't and won't filter out like it would in a larger chapter.
How do you handle these situations? Do these problems even arise in your chapters? How do you go about forming a sisterhood, and maintaining that sisterhood?
"too many chiefs and not enough indians" is what my chorus teacher in high school used to always say to our all-girls group.
I have been in a lot of girl-only organizations over the years - ballet classes, showchoir and colorguard in high school, a sorority now in college, and not to mention that most of my friends and co-ed activities are girls anyway. the last post made me think about how we all work together in my sorority. I think one of the things that has made me stay in my sorority is that we have the best cooperation of ANY all-girls group that I've ever been in. everyone works so well together as leaders, and we are all really supportive of each other. it's not just a certain few people are willing to take charge with everyone else mumbling jealously. Sure, we have those certain few girls who take on more leadership responsibilities than others, but no one begrudges them for it. (Perhaps this is because I come from a school that is chock full of overachievers - we are all used to having responsibility.) we understand what leadership means and what kind of support needs to come from our sisters. I see each girl as getting really involved in what she can do to help the chapter, but at the same time being thankful that other people are helping out to do what she's not as good at or doesn't have the time for. I'm not trying to say "my school is better than yours" - rather, I'm thinking of the reasons why people do or don't work well in groups.
At the same time, we are also very demanding of our group. We want perfectly flowing organization and expect everyone to be on top all the time. After we had some snafus during informal this year, I think a couple of my good friends got discouraged because having just pledged in the spring and this being the first big event for them as sisters, it didn't run as perfectly as they had expected. Even though we came together really well to smooth over what happened, I think my friends considered it "disorganization" that things didn't go as planned the first time. To some girls it is not the people that drive her away, but the fact that she is paying money to be a part of a well-running organization, and if it's not living up to her expectations, she doesn't want to spend that hard-earned cash for nothing.
Expectations, as everyone's mentioned, play a large role in the decision to stay or quit. I think the fault is partially with the recruitment staff, who play sorority life up so much that girls rush with very high, unrealistic dreams. Not only will they instantly have lifelong friends, but they will get super-involved, go to awesome and classy social events all the time, be totally popular, and feel 10000x better about themselves!! Right?!! not exactly. Being in a sorority is fun - but it won't give you a full body-mind-and-soul makeover. Girls need to realize that sororities are mainly social organizations, and that dues pay for social events, not personal fulfillment. Maybe if recruitment was a little more realistic, girls wouldn't feel "lied to" after they really got involved in sorority life. I'm not saying it should be downplayed as "just" some fun things to do on weekeneds, but it shouldn't be placed up on a lofty - and self-defeating - pedestal.
togetherness can also drive girls away who feel like outsiders. I thought about quitting earlier on because I felt like I didn't know anyone. Like you said, it does take awhile to make real friendships, real bonds of sisterhood. We take these words like "sisterhood" and "lifelong friends" to mean that we'll get them right away. Unrealistic? You bet. Sorority friendships aren't too much different from "regular" friendships in the sense that you have to dedicate yourself over time. I'm not friends with people I who met the first week of school who seemed cool but then never bothered to hang out with again, even though I saw them all the time in my dorm. Why would it be any different with sororities? I have learned that you have to make the effort to plan activities on your own, not just rely on scheduled meetings and events to make the friends for you. I don't think enough girls realize this.
Fights between friends are also a reason why people drop out. It's hard if you suddenly become mortal enemies with a girl in the sorority who you used to hang out with all the time, especially if she was one of the only people you were really close to. Along the same lines of being close to a certain few people - it's also true that a girl could isolate herself so much to just 3 or 4 sorority friends that she would lose the sense of community with the rest.
as for how to retain members - I think there needs to be a lot more openness, honesty, and communication. People drop out from a group because they're not really part of that group anymore - dropping out is just doing it formally. Find ways to bring your friends back in, get them talking and involved, and you'll probably be more successful.
well, I hope you enjoyed my, uh, essay. Now back to writing that real essay for finals week!
I'm Jen (Wine&SilverBlue" from GC) and I'm a Pi Beta Phi from the MO Beta chapter at Wash U.
I don't actually have a journal, I made this LJ name so I could read my friends' journals and so I could post in communities.
My name is Brittany Turner. I am a student in the MPS in Humanistic and Multicultural Education program at the State University of New York at New Paltz, and a Sigma Delta Tau alumna. For my Social Structure and Change course, I have chosen to do my thesis on hazing, specifically in sororities. I would like to focus on the following:
My research will include:
- specific incidences of hazing
- types of hazing
- the purpose of hazing
- why people encourage (or sustain) hazing
- how hazing specifically effects college women
- evaluating the goals and intentions of hazing
- how to eliminate or modify practices considered hazing
My sources will consist primarily of journal studies, books, articles and interviews, with varying degrees of anonymity (i.e. the individual, organization, school, etc. can all be kept confidential).
The second part of the thesis will consist of an action plan, including a sample new member process that incorporates tradition and education but eliminates hazing. It will (hopefully) encompass the goals intended by hazing practices, without the negative effects.
If anyone is interested in either being interviewed, or offering sample new member processes (either complete, or specific examples, of either hazing practices OR hazing alternatives), it would be greatly appreciated. You can e-mail me at Brittaful@aol.com, or comment if you feel comfortable. I will maintain complete confidentiality, and only include information you specifically permit. Also, if you would like to reccomend any sources, it would also be helpful. :)
(posted to _gdi, all_things_np, anti_hazing, greek_life, mitmit, newpaltzjunkies, scotchgodiva, sigdelts, sororityalumnae, sororitychat, sororitygirl)
It was brought to my attention a few things to edit in this, and so I've done so. I apologize if my slip in language offended anyone and also wanted to say that the reason I included the partying statement is because AJ and I are the kind of folks who are good whether we're watching a movie, studying, or at a swap. Sorry I didn't think about it too clearly-- thanks!
AJ: her drama
Me: let's promise that we won't get all catty and "no, MY sorority is the best!" during rush like some girls
AJ: please lets do
Me: because i would die if i turned in to that
AJ: its up to them to decide anyway
Me: and we'll look like bigger people for it ;o)
AJ: you think your sorority is the best for your personal reasons, and tri delts think theirs is the best for personal reasons, etc
AJ: and i really dont care
AJ: i just like to party
Me: exactly-- and the thing is that we all think ours is the best because that's where we belong
AJ: HAHAHA did i really just say that
Me: yes, yes you did
Me: i was going to let it slide, but hey, whatev ;o)
AJ: LMAO at myself
That was a conversation between one of my best friends at school and myself. I just thought that with school (kinda) around the corner, and with the most recent posts, it'd be a nice thing to throw out there. I'm an AlphaO and she's a ChiO, and there is no reason at all we can't all get along!
xposted to... umm... those other places (greek_life and sororitygirl)
Do any of your chapters have a problem with attendance?
No matter what we are doing, no one shows up. Our chapter is at about 130ish girls, and we barely ever make quorum (2/3)to vote. During informal spring recruitment last spring, we were 15 girls short, so we could not vote. During formal recruitment, constantly had to double-rush girls because we didn't have enough actives there. No one ever wants to show up for initiation. Hell, the last social we had, only 25 girls went! I personally am not concerned about socials, but I'm from a competitive school, and it really hurts us in recruitment to have so many girls just blatantly skipping out.
Now, the question is, how can we make people show up? Kappa doesn't allow us to fine girls for not coming to mandatory events, so there is not much of a reporcussion. All we can do is send these girls to standards, they get a little slap on the wrist, and then the go on their merry little way.
I know there are tons of Kappas in this community, but I'd love to hear from everyone on what they do about this problem, or if you even have it at all.
How much control should alums have over collegiate chapters?
Reading the interview with Melody Twilley in Pledged (the black Bama rushee who was not offered a bid despite relatively solid qualifications), it seems as though she pinned more of the blame onto the alumnae than the collegians, claiming that most of the actives would not have minded a black woman in their sorority but that the alums put their foot down. I have no clue if this is true, but let's assume for a moment that it is. I've heard similar stories from other schools on both racial and non-racial issues so, at any rate, it's not that far-fetched.
For most NPC sororities, we also have the no-rec system in place. An alum can write a recommendation or a no-rec for any girl coming through rush . . . if an alum writes a no-rec for a girl, the chapter cannot bid her under any circumstances. That means that if my best friend, let's call her Angie, comes through rush and she is a fabulous girl who I know would fit in with my chapter, but some alum writes her a no-rec because she heard through the grapevine that Angie was a slut because the lady she used to play bridge with's daughter used to date this boy who left her for Angie (etc ad nauseum), we can't give her a bid. Even if my entire chapter loves her and the alum in question has never met the girl.
And honestly, I think things like that are ridiculous. I would love to be able to trust most of my sisters, but as pointed out in a post below, we all have different tastes. And I'm not a fan of the rec system in general, but . . .
In cases like this, what do you think is too much power for the alums to have over the collegiate chapter? Are there other cases where you think they should have less power? Perhaps a situation where you think they should have more?