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The Truth About Greek Life at NYU

When you think of NYU, you immediately think of the city, the arch, ambitious students, artistic people, and…Greek life? No, definitely not. “NYU doesn’t even have a Greek life, right? We’re not a state school,” is the most common reaction that I hear when I tell people I am, in fact, a member of a sorority.

Actually, about 7% of the student body is a part of the twelve fraternities and eight sororities on campus. NYU has social, business, and service-oriented groups, allowing people to find a smaller community within our huge school, as well as take a slice of the “traditional college experience” and bring it to NYU.

This year I participated in my first Formal Fall Recruitment with my sorority. This includes a week of meet-and-greets, events, presentations, and concludes with Bid Night, where the PNMs (potential new members, or girls rushing the sorority) find out in which group they are. It is a whirlwind few days that are exhausting, fun, and definitely great bonding time.

This year, NYU had over 500 girls register for Fall Recruitment – 500 students that were interested in becoming a part of a small community at NYU, but a huge Greek family nationally.

Greek Life at NYU is surrounded by misconceptions. In general, sororities are criticized for being overly exclusive. In reality, however, Recruitment is a process of mutual selection between the sorority and PNM, putting the power in the hands of the rushee as well as the sorority. Each day, the PNM visits only the sororities that she wants to see that have also invited her back – thus, both parties have chosen each other. This process of mutual selection continues until she is matched with only one sorority.

I think the most special part of NYU Greek life in particular is that the young women who rush are truly participating because they want sisterhood. In the media, sororities are a way to find exclusive invitations to parties. But at NYU, we live in a city full of fun and partying, leaving students saying that there is “no good reason to join Greek life.” But this means that PNMs at NYU are really searching for sisterhood, philanthropy, and leadership opportunities. In our huge school, Greek life is a way to meet new people and have a small feeling of a “normal” college experience. I know I probably never would have met some of the great young women that I can call my sisters without my sorority.

There is a lot of confusion about Greek life, though meeting hundreds of young, smart, ambitious women last week makes me hopeful for the future of Panhallenic at NYU. It shows that we, as a community, are growing, becoming a bigger part of our student body, and are making our mark on a national level, as well. Next time you are sitting in your 300-person lecture, look around for women wearing their letters. We may only be 7% of the NYU body (for now), but we are proud NYU Greeks.

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