I was a freshman when a new Panhellenic chapter was being colonized at my school. I was reluctant to join at first. I was listening to the naysayers and I didn’t think I was cut out for a sorority. But when I went out for recruitment, I knew with 100 percent certainty that this was the chapter for me. In this chapter, there were no stereotypes. No “sorority girl” mentality. This chapter was created and based off of true sisterhood, friendship, and fun times, making this the perfect fit for me.
Becoming a founding member was the most rewarding and exciting experience of my college career. But as a founding member of a chapter I have heard it all from fraternity men who think they’re entitled, sorority women who are territorial about their 20-year foundation on campus, or just people who hate Greek life in general. Fraternities and sororities alike colonize tons of chapters a semester, giving more and more people the chance to be founding members. But with that opportunity comes some setbacks, some compromises, and a lot of misinformation.
1. Are you considered a real sorority/fraternity? Because anyone can join, can’t they?
Much like your organizations, they all start somewhere. Some chose another path and join organizations that were founded on a campus many years ago. But I can tell you, your organization didn’t just start out as a top tier chapter who wins it all. They started exactly where we are — new, timid, and doing our best to be up to par with everyone else. Anyone can join a sorority or fraternity or any other organization. You know why? Because we’re grown members of society and if someone is a down-to-Earth, genuinely nice person and knows how to bathe themselves, chances are, they have a good opportunity of joining ours and most other organization on campus.
2. So, you didn’t get hazed?
No. That doesn’t, however, discredit anything. Hazing is illegal federally, in your state, at your college, and through any and all organizations. Meaning that even if hazing was still lowkey accepted, how would that even work? None of that makes sense to me or pertains at all to founding a chapter.
3. Well the other sororities/fraternities haze.
4.What exactly do you guys do? Don’t you just show up?
Not only is the founding class creating the chapter’s new bylaws and constitution, they’re also attending chapter every week, along with committee meetings, new member education programming, establishing the philanthropy, starting up new chair positions which are completely foreign to everyone, and still making time for homework, other organizations, clubs, jobs, and internships. So, no, you don’t just show up.
5. I didn’t even know you were a sorority/fraternity.
Also see: “I thought you were in [other fully established sorority on campus].”
This comes from individuals, mostly in Greek life, who are trying to bring you down to compensate for their own insecurities of being a member of their own organizations. Being in a new sorority gives the chapter a chance to establish themselves and really turn into an organization they can be proud of for generations to come. Just because you don’t know who we are it doesn’t mean we don’t exist. Bitch.
6. Everyone who’s founding are just the ones who didn’t get picked during rush, right?
First, there are a few members in every founding chapter who went out for formal recruitment before deciding to found a chapter. Whether they didn’t get picked, pledged another organization and dropped soon after, or didn’t think any of the organizations were the right fit for them doesn’t matter. Right now, in this present moment, in this organization, those individuals fit this chapter and fit with us. Most of our chapter never went through recruitment before. And that naivety to all things Greek life allows us to build together and create something truly unique.
In my sorority, we’re not just new. We’re not girls picked up from the street. We’re leaders in our community — brave enough to do something as bold as founding a new chapter on a university campus. Strong enough to forget about what people say, forget about the stigma, and forget about judgments. We’re determined enough to believe in a legacy and follow it through 100 percent. Bold enough to stick with the women like us, to create something bigger than ourselves. Our chapters are brave enough to face our first recruitment, our first Greek Week, our first social, our first philanthropy event and the criticism that comes with it. We are accepting enough to be ourselves and to not have to live up to stereotypes or tradition of the campus. Passionate enough to change campus and Greek life, for the better. That’s why we’re founding members. That’s why we’re Greek women..
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