“There is one aspect that is quite prominent when watching any quintessential college movie, and that’s Greek Life!” Take Legally Blonde, The House Bunny, 22 Jump Street, and even Monsters University, where each features its own representation of sorority life. It is no question that Greek Life has shaped the American collegiate experience, and that many people associate sororities and fraternities with the way they are portrayed in mainstream media. But what about in Canada? While many Canadian universities have some sort of Greek Life, it is much smaller than those in American schools.
The first sorority in Canada was established in 1887. Since then many Canadian universities have adopted local, national and international sorority chapters at their school. Here at UVIC, there are three Greek Life chapters; Alpha Chi Theta, Kappa Beta Gamma, and Delta Kappa Epsilon. I recently spoke with two members of Alpha Chi Theta about what sorority life is like at UVIC, from the rush process to philanthropy to the community. While many sororities in Canada and the USA are international, Alpha Chi Theta is a local sorority.
Alpha was founded in Victoria in 2013 and has since gained over 80 members. Joining Alpha happens through a process called “rush”. During rush, potential new members attend various socials, mixers and interviews to see if they would be a good fit for Alpha. Although the thought of attending events in hopes of being chosen might be scary to some, there is no need to worry with Alpha as their rush process is unbiased. The rush process at Alpha focuses on seeing who stands out and who works well together. Since the sorority life is all about fostering sisterhood and community, the new members are paired up with a “Big” (an older member of the sorority) who helps mentor their new “Little”. The number of available Bigs is what determines the selection of Littles.
There are lots of negative preconceived notions about the selection process for sororities, including the hazing of new members. Alpha, however, has a zero-tolerance policy for hazing. They believe in their pillars of “grace & integrity perseverance, altruism and fortitude” and do not condone hazing of any kind.
So, once you’re in Alpha what can you expect? Well, joining Alpha has many perks including study sessions, mixers, fun events and hands-on volunteering. They also pride themselves on giving their members “real world” experiences by providing opportunities to prepare for interviews and attempt at public speaking. Of course, joining a sorority also means making friends for life, and those who join Alpha gain mentors, connections and sisters.
Alpha invites those who have an interest in joining to attend their rush. Stepping out of your comfort zone and just going to see what sorority life is all about is encouraged. Don’t let outdated stereotypes, preconceived notions or misconceptions about sorority life sway you from trying something new. In the end, Sorority life is all about building community and making lasting friendships, so don’t be afraid to go out and find it!
Special thanks to Tula and Lucy for making time to answer my questions about Alpha! You can learn more about Alpha Chi Theta here.