Edited by Carol Eugene Park
On September 22, 2015, Fox’s comedy, horror television series, Scream Queens, aired its first episode. The series aimed to satirize aspects of Greek-letter organizations as part of the series’ central theme. I had become fascinated with the idea of sororities based off of my love for the series: what did they offer? What were they? I had a vague idea of sororities based on their portrayal in TV shows and movies. Sororities in Canada especially were seldom mentioned, considering Greek life was a prominent feature in American colleges.
At this point in time, I was merely a grade 11 student balancing a part-time job, high grades, student council and managing a student newspaper. I had recently attended a Fall Campus Day event at the University with my parents, touring many of the historic buildings and asking questions about the school’s student services. It was also at this point that I discovered the University of Toronto Panhellenic Association (UTPA) after they followed me on Instagram.
The UTPA consists of a group of seven national Panhellenic Conference (NPC) sororities (an organization that brings together Greek-letter organizations across the United States and Canada). Sororities at the University of Toronto had a rich history dating back to 1887 when Kappa Alpha Theta (now inactive) established their first Canadian chapter. Sororities were a way for women to make friends and provide a safe space in an academic environment dominated by men. They aim to promote ideals of love, sisterhood, and philanthropy within the greater community, an incentive that has raised money for many charitable organizations.
Attending an all-girls high school, I was familiar with the all-female environment characterized by a sense of friendship and sisterhood. I was a high-achiever, fascinated especially by the amount of leadership and academic opportunities.
After scrolling through the UTPA’s Instagram feed, I decided to go through recruitment during my first year. I looked into several sororities, researching their charitable causes, chapter history and chapter events. I narrowed down my top choices down to two sororities.
After graduating high school with honours, I set foot to the University of Toronto.
Graduating Class of 2017
Sorority Recruitment Week came a week after Frosh Week. I signed up weeks in advance, however, I could not make the actual Recruitment weekend. I still managed to attend an Informal Recruitment event, roughly a week after Formal recruitment.
I attended Alpha Omicron Pi’s (AOII) Informal Recruitment Event on September 21, 2017. Of course, I managed to be five minutes late after searching for the house in The Annex, located not too far from the university. I sat in a room surrounded by two other girls and several collegiate sisters.
“Why do you want to join a sorority?”
“Coming from an all-girls school, I understand the idea of friendship bound by a common sisterhood. I was highly involved in my high school, acting as Editor in Chief of my school’s newspaper, Co-President of Anime Club, serving on the student council and being involved in multiple school activities while maintaining a high average…”
I had carefully rehearsed my answers to these common questions according to subreddit message boards and YouTube videos. My answers were great but deep down, I was nervous, nervous for the upcoming result in a couple days, whether I’d be accepted or not.
After waiting patiently for several days, I received my bid from AOII.
Posing alongside my big
Big Little Reveal- October 2017 (I have a twin)
Attending a Plan International Event with my big, featuring Michelle Obama
To this day, I do not regret my decision to join my sorority. I have made countless friends and memories whether it be grabbing a 7Eleven slushie at 11pm, setting up for an upcoming philanthropy, nearly winning a poutine eating competition or crying on a sister’s shoulder after a bad breakup.
My family of sisters
Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority attending AOII’s Frost Yourself Philanthropy
I have been especially grateful to be elected as the chapter’s Vice President of Communications, Alumnae Relations Chairman and Historian in my first year. I have also had the opportunity to visit the Alpha Omicron Pi Headquarters in Brentwood, Tennessee alongside my Chapter President and Chapter Advisor.
With my Chapter President, Jenny Wu and Chapter Adviser, Victoria Kuo
Sitting in front of Alpha Omicron Pi Headquarters in Brentwood, Tennessee
Writing messages of hope to children suffering from juvenile arthritis; Alpha Omicron Pi has proudly partnered with the Arthritis Foundation for over 50 years
Whenever someone asks me about sororities at the University of Toronto or brings forward the age-old stereotype of the airheaded, blonde sorority girl (á la Legally Blonde), I simply respond with my positive experience going through sorority recruitment.
I understand there are negative stereotypes associated with sororities thanks to popular TV shows, movies and news stories in the United States. Sometimes, my family doesn’t understand the concept of Greek life and associates it to the excessive drinking and hazing seen on TV (hazing by the way is illegal in both the U.S and Canada; NPC sororities are also condoned to strict alcohol policies as well). The best way to combat these negative stereotypes is to experience Greek life for yourself. Educate yourself and ask a sorority sister any underlying questions you have. Attend a philanthropy event on campus hosted by a sorority, participate in several activities and make a few friends. Why not sign up for Formal Recruitment in the fall?
Sorority sisters are just regular girls on campus, girls with high hopes and ambitions, united by a lifelong sisterhood.