There is this idea that if you join a sorority, you are an *insert stereotype* person. These MANY stereotypes tend to lean people away from sorority recruitments when they enter college. The societal perception and stories on the internet can be enough to convince a young college girl that sorority life is not worth getting involved in. Negative images are left in their heads and they completely blow off the rushing process altogether. Nevertheless, there are those who hear the stereotypes and still give the rushing process a chance, taking a leap outside of what they know into something unfamiliar only to learn what they knew was not reality.
Courtney Daly, now a junior at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, described having these very same feelings toward sororities. “I didn’t join at first because I got it in my head that it was going to be this long, hard process to rush and join, and that I wouldn’t really fit in,” says Daly. She was convinced to rush, however, by many girls on her club softball team who were members of sororities. Deciding to try the rushing process out, Daly found many other girls in her exact situation with her same fears. This helped her to stick with rushing and gave the experience a fair shot. In the end, Daly would become a sister of Delta Zeta, a new chapter at Sacred Heart.
This is a scenario that plays out nationwide, not just at Penn State. Girls go in with all of these thoughts, stories and judgements, but once they complete the process, they find a different result than anticipated. These sororities are not just full of vapid girls who wear designer clothes and drink all day. They are not all about frat formal Friday and social events.
So, where do these hesitations about sororities really spark from? Doubts about rushing sororities come from the “sorority horror stories” that have circulated for many years, whether from BuzzFeed articles, popular movies or concerned parents. Stories of girls being hazed and forced into uncomfortable situations makes the whole idea of Greek life seem unsettling. Even entering Penn State, the stories of Tri Delta being kicked off for hazing are endless among non-Greek life proponents. All of these components can make rushing and belonging to a sorority a very unappealing process for those not familiar with this type of college experience. Like Daly would realize, it is like judging a book by its cover, you can not judge all sororities because of the mistakes of one bad one.
Sororities are not all hazing and partying. Philanthropy is probably the biggest focus of many Greek organizations, however, the efforts made by the organizations in these realms go easily unnoticed. Without the effort of sororities and fraternities, THON might not be the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. Childhood cancer might not have as many Penn Staters canning on the streets along with the pursuit of other fundraising efforts throughout the year. Sororities are also involved with other organizations that continue to help combat diseases, mental health, self-improvement and other worthy organizations that are in need of dedication and motivation from inspirational, young women.
The benefits do not only come within community outreach, however. According to USA TODAY COLLEGE’s segment on the benefits of Greek life, those who are involved versus those who are not have a better graduation rate, 20 percent higher to be exact. With many Greek organizations holding a GPA requirement, this would come at no surprise to anyone. In order to involve yourself in philanthropy and parties, an academic standard is set and expected for all.
At the end of the day, the stereotypes about Greek life and sororities will continue to be passed on. They will continue to be considered a breeding ground for partying and outlandish behavior. Yet, they have made believers out of those who once did not think they would ever find themselves among a sisterhood. For these girls just like Daly, this leap into Greek life was risky, but worth it in the end. It was worth shutting out the things that they had heard and giving the experience a chance to prove itself wrong, granting them with the sisterhood they thought they would never have.