Sororities on Sisterhood

Jasreen Gupta | New University

We’ve all seen the movies where college Greeks spend their time gulping alcohol from red party cups, hooking up with each other in abandoned hallways and showing up to their classes extremely hungover.

Hollywood has sensationalized fraternities and sororities by hiring muscular actors and stick-thin actresses to act arrogant and unintelligent as a way of clearly depicting the tiers of the college social hierarchy. If you’re in the Greek system, you’re automatically rich, spoiled and stupid. If you’re not, you’re either average or a nerd.

Some films, television shows and books have conditioned us to think that the point of the Greek system is to party and blow off school. But in reality, thousands of college students “rush” every year for what the fraternities and sororities truly condone: brother and sisterhood, community service and active involvement in campus life. UC Irvine is no exception.

In terms of UCI’s own sororities, what makes rushing less intimidating is the fact that there are ten  Panhellenic Association chapters at UCI, all associated with different philanthropies, so it’s not difficult to find a chapter that’s the perfect fit for you. There isn’t just one “cool” sorority at UCI that dominates over the others; there’s a multitude of them to choose from.

For Sami Kobara, a second-year psychology and social behavior major, the perfect fit was Delta Delta Delta.

“The thing about Tri Delta that really appealed to me was their diversity and how down-to-earth they are,” Kobara said. “I am not the typical sorority girl: I don’t put on makeup or do my hair every day, so I was worried about fitting into that beautiful cookie-cutter mold that I had seen of the Greek system, but my sisters really showed me that I don’t need to be someone else because being myself is what they saw in me and made me special. I love them.”

Hazing is another misconception affiliated with sororities; people often conjure images of new pledges being forced to take a certain number of shots of alcohol or change their appearance from head to toe in order to cross over.

Alex Burton, a second-year business economics major and a member of Alpha Phi, asserts that hazing is not acceptable in the Greek system.

“If there was any form of hazing, I would have dropped out in a heartbeat,” Burton said.  “The girls in my chapter and in the Greek community say the only thing we do to our new members is spoil them with love; they weren’t joking. Immediately after recruitment the active members of the chapter really took the time to get to know us new members, such as taking us out to lunch, dinner, coffee, Yogurtland, etc. There is absolutely no form whatsoever of hazing.”

There is the myth that once you cross over into a sorority, you’ve sold your soul (and, more importantly, your social life) to the Greeks. Goodbye non-Greek friends, extracurricular activities and good grades.

“I’ve found that going Greek is actually a great way to keep up my grades and stay on top of my work,” Burton said. “We have assigned study hours and I’ll always have girls here to study with or help me out.”

“Media shows sororities as organizations that make their members attend certain events, but in my sorority all social and outside events are optional,” Kobara added. “If you want to be involved with other things on campus, it’s definitely possible. I’m in different clubs on campus and I was a part of SPOP staff this summer, and the girls always support me and understand when I’m busy.”

In blockbusters and popular novels, characters are taught that in order to “get a bid” from a sorority, they must adopt certain behaviors different from their own personalities that are attractive to their sorority of choice.

“My advice for those who plan to rush in the future, as cliché as it sounds, is to be yourself,” Marissa Tom said, a third-year psychology and social behavior major and a member of Alpha Chi Omega. “Girls geniunely want to get to know you for who you are. What I look for in a sister is someone who is caring, intelligent and will be there for me and me for her when times get rough. At the end of the day, I want to be proud wearing the same letters as her.”

Even though they’re from separate sororities, all three girls agree that they wanted to join a sorority for the intimate bonds that only a sisterhood can provide, not for the raging parties or social status.

“My favorite moments with my sisters aren’t extravagant or dramatic,” Kobara said. “Late night food runs, study parties that are made up of junk food and rants, sisters comforting you when you feel like the world is about to end … I don’t really know to describe it. The little things make a difference to me. That’s what I’ll remember when I look back on my college career.”

And that’s something that “The House Bunny” can’t give you.