The first time a girl at university asked me if I was interested in joining a sorority, I smiled, nodded “no” and walked away.
It was right after Orientation Week, and she looked friendly and approachable in a colourful t-shirt by a booth for one of the groups. I was brand new to the campus, but more intrigued by the Model United Nations team and student newspaper. My knowledge of Greek life was limited and consisted of what I had seen in movies like Animal House and Legally Blonde. As an academic, slightly serious 19-year-old who loved to write and enjoyed following politics, I didn’t think a sorority was the right place for me.
Two years later, the tables were turned. I approached a sorority to inquire about membership, and in November 2006, was ecstatic to be initiated into Delta Gamma. A few years after graduation, I even became the president of the Delta Gamma alumni association in a nearby city.
There were a number of factors that contributed to my change of heart. One was meeting a girl through the Model United Nations team who was in a sorority, and defied the stereotypes found in so many popular films. Through her, I learnt about the networking opportunities, socials, and initiatives which motivated me to join.
If you have the opportunity to join a sorority, I encourage you to keep an open mind.
Some Canadian universities have chapters of large, international sororities such as Alpha Phi and Kappa Kappa Gamma that have recruitment each term. Greek life isn’t for everyone, but before you make a decision, here are some of the things I’ve learned about sorority life.
You’ll be busy
From charity events (each sorority has a focus on philanthropy) to study groups, there will be plenty for you to do each week. To be in good standing with a sorority, the members must maintain a specific GPA, so be prepared to hit the books. Social events happen throughout the year and are a way for members to engage with fraternities and other sororities. When I was an undergrad, my sorority hosted study groups before exams and I found myself at parties, fundraisers, and formals each term. You’ll learn how to manage your time, boost your grades, and meet new people.
You’ll get help
Being open-minded and exploring Greek life was one of the best decisions I made as an undergrad. The sorority has impacted my life in many positive ways. I’ve met some of my closest friends through it and it keeps me connected to a diverse and interesting group of women. Just like everything else, there are pros and cons to Greek life. However, sororities are ready and willing to provide you with help if you need it.
Whether it’s academic guidance or financial assistance, there are mentors to help you pick up those grades or apply for scholarships and bursaries.
A lifelong commitment
In many ways, being in a sorority is like being in a campus club. To be a member, you need to go through a recruitment process. You’re surrounded by people who have the same interests, but have a lot to teach you about other pursuits. You can even take on leadership roles such as president or vice-president finance. Yet, a sorority differs in one key way – it continues to offer members benefits and ways to be involved after graduation.
When I graduated from university and became a part of an alumni association for Delta Gamma, I was surprised to learn about members in their forties and fifties who kept in touch through lunches and meetups. I was invited to networking events, and learned about full-time job opportunities from women in different fields, from all over the country. In 2014, I got the chance to travel to Arizona for the sorority convention, and met women who had been attending events like these for over a decade.
If I hadn’t taken a chance on sorority life after years of saying no, I would’ve missed out on so much. If you’re looking for a great way to get involved on campus and make some unforgettable memories, this is definitely a great option to consider!