Our international organization is actually a fraternity, rather than a sorority, but I assure you it is a women's organization. But I won't get too technical on ya.
Beyond having been a collegiate member, active alumna, and volunteer - I was also a paid member of staff for a year after I graduated with my undergraduate degree. I had the amazing opportunity to travel the country, meeting so many of my sisters from different institutions and hear all about their varied experiences in the same organization that we all held dear. Some of the women I visited even turned around and became consultants themselves, which was about enough to make my heart burst with pride at the time.
After that experience, I headed to graduate school where I trained and learned how to be a student affairs professional, and worked in the Greek Life Office educating in various capacities with the entire fraternity and sorority community.
I have dedicated so much of my time, energy and emotion to "Greek Life", not just because I had a great time partying in college (it's true, we like to have fun together - like many college students who don't belong to any organizations), but because I truly believe in the changing and improving power of a positive fraternal experience.
Fraternity and Sorority, when done correctly, is truly an empowering force in a young person's life. The community gets a bad wrap sometimes from those who don't know much about it, and sometimes from those who do. Truthfully, a lot of members have made very real mistakes and poor choices that have resulted in that reputation. That being said, those examples are not what the vast majority of us experience or believe in.
We were founded as, and continue to be, organizations that believe in lofty ideals, meaningful values, and a consistent desire to strive for achieving those ideals and values.
I am committed to dedicating my time, talents, and any help that I can, really, to my organization continually staving for better things - even more so since now I have a little legacy.
Legacy = a direct relative of a member of a certain organization, i.e. a daughter. And look at that happy little legacy down there. Love her.
I so desperately want Evelyn to have the opportunity to belong to an organization that teaches her to be a better woman, and strengthens and challenges her in ways that other groups who may not have the history and tradition behind them can. I had no idea just how important it was to me that this opportunity continue, until I thought about she and I being able to share this experience someday down the road.
...You know, if she wants to - granted I am taking every available opportunity to get her excited about it. She has been around for two recruitment seasons and has been to two formal recruitments and bid days, not to mention a few other events - hedging my bets. Wink...
One of the biggest threats to that experience being available to my daughter and thousands of other young people is hazing. Did you know that this week is National Hazing Prevention Week?
I have seen some gems this week regarding this event:
While hazing is certainly not limited to Greek organizations, it has long been a train of thought within fraternal circles that new members need to "earn" their way into a full membership.
In my view, once we give an offer of membership to someone that we deem suitable, the best way for them to "earn" the right to the full rights and privileges of membership is through education, rather than completing menial tasks for members or any other horror stories that you may have heard about.
Don't we earn all the rights and privileges of a degree through education? Why should our membership certificates be all that different? True, we ask for a lot more from our members in a holistic sense than a university might, but that is the point. Continuing to strive for excellence in all aspects of our lives.
In any case, I assure you that hazing does not align with the oaths that we take or the values that we espouse as fraternal organizations. So, if for no other reason, shouldn't we not haze because it is in direct violation of everything that we pledge to hold dear? (Yes, rituals of organizations are secret, but we have some open mottos and sayings that are pretty obviously not in line with making someone find their way back to campus in the dark of night. For example.)
Those of you who read this may or may not have had a Greek experience in college or afterward, but I think that it is important for everyone to recognize the opportunity that lies in membership in such an organization and that there are tons of us, both collegiate and alumni, who believe in and fight for true fraternal values every day.
What we promise to do and what we actually do should align. It's as simple as that.
Evelyn Rae is 14 months old, I am 20 weeks along with Baby Ferris
...and if she looks this cute in sorority swag now...
...just imagine how adorable she could be in it in the future. Help us ensure that future is available. Kthanks.