Sorority Life: A Backbone for Success
When looking at the young women in sororities as a whole, they are a group of individuals that share a common interest of not only succeeding in college but also making the best of the entire experience. In 1851, the Adelphean Society marked the establishment of the first collegiate sorority, later becoming Alpha Delta Pi. Since then, there have been many sororities created. At the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) there are ten sororities women can pledge into. As Sandy Rodriquez, the student director of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) says, “Each chapter has unique, specific missions and value systems but ultimately the goal for all is to create better woman.” All sororities focus on teaching women leadership skills and pushing academic success.
The first goal of the sororities is to achieve academic excellence. Academics are of major importance to the foundation of a sorority. All require a substantial GPA to join and to maintain enrollment. For example, Pi Beta Phi has a minimum of a 2.75 GPA to be involved in the chapter at UNR. Each sorority is always striving to have the highest GPA on campus within the local PanHellenic community, which is the umbrella for sororities nationally not including the multicultural sororities who are under the Multicultural Greek Council.
There is a lot of academic support when a woman decides to join a sorority. If an individual drops below the house minimum GPA, she is not automatically kicked out. She goes on “academic probation” during which she must show she is trying to improve her grades. This includes adding on tutoring and study hours. The extra hours put into academics must be recorded and turned in to her house. If a girl falls below a sororities required GPA and does not show improvement, this can be ground for expulsion.
People that join clubs or organizations on campus, including sororities have a higher chance that they will graduate from college. Looking at the statistics on the University of Nevada, Reno website, “people in organizations and clubs are 60 percent more likely to graduate compared to people unaffiliated with the university in someway.”
A sorority is a “home away from home” for many women. As Kiera Newman, a 21-year-old Pi Beta Phi describes it, “We work hard, keep our grades up, and have a sense of family away from home. It’s a support system, a group of girls who are working for a cause that is important.” The cause Newman talks about is not only empowering young women, giving them a network for life, and improving life skills but also improving the community through hands on work.
All the houses have either a hands on community service effort or at least raise money for an organization that helps improve the local community. Pi Beta Phi puts their emphasis on literacy for their community service initiative. The program they are involved in is called “First Book”, a non-profit organization, and the women of Pi Phi read to children in the community, mainly third graders in low-income families.
The bonds women make in sororities with other women that have similar interests are very powerful. The support system created by these sororities is something everyone should have in college. Yasi Saderi, a member of Tri Delta discusses the relationships she has made in the Greek community, “The girls I have met have impacted my life so much, and we have gone through so many high and low points together. They become your family in college. You fight like sisters and you make up like them too.” These women learn how to build meaningful, healthy relationships through the Greek system.
Networking is another major part of sororities. When an individual becomes part of a sorority, she opens herself up to many different opportunities. A woman in any sorority can run for office in the Greek community or become director of public relations, judicial affairs, or philanthropy. When a woman needs an internship, her sorority can offer her many. When she graduates she will have met many people and created many new networks that will help her for the rest of her life.
Sororities not only give young women networks that can help them navigate through life effectively but a backbone for success. It gives them support and a standard for academics, relationships, and community.
The PanHellenic Director of Judicial Affairs
Grace Geldmacher is the 20-year-old Delta Gamma who directs the judicial affairs of Greek Life at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Her major is political science with a minor in sociology. The position of director has been open two years in the Greek community and this is Geldmacher’s first month working in judicial affairs. She states, “ My goal is to focus on a PanHellenic bond and I am striving to bring the Greek community together.” She is the mediator between the sororities and the universities judicial system. She wants to solve problems for the girls in PanHellenic and to keep trouble in the houses at a minimum. She loves Greek life and if she could work for Delta Gamma and PanHellenic as a career, that is exactly what she would do.
“Greek Life.” University of Nevada,Reno. N.p., 2012. Web. 23 Feb 2012. .
“Sorority Life.” National PanHellenic. Indianpolis, 2012. Web. 23 Feb 2012. <http://www.thesororitylife.com/The-Real-Deal/index.asp&xgt;.