The Impact of Sororities on Freshmen So Far

The media portrays Greek life as a way to buy friends and a gateway for those determined to “live it up” during their four years of college. Despite examples seen in works such as “Legally Blonde” and “Scream Queens,” sororities currently work to prove stereotypes wrong. Sororities do so through their philanthropy, service and positive representation of themselves on social media and in public. Over 1,700 University of Florida female students took part in formal Panhellenic recruitment this August in hopes to find their home away from home.

Good ‘ole Chi O

After a grueling week of going through rainstorms, dealing with humidity and running to catch busses, Maci Bedard joined the Eta Delta chapter of Chi Omega. Becoming a member of a sorority means automatically gaining sisters who encourage and support each other, including the women in the new pledge class.

“The best part is meeting new friends that join you to experience new things around Gainesville,” Bedard said.

During recruitment, potential new members visit each sorority over the course of two days, then for the rest of the week narrow down their top chapters. This includes waking up before sunrise and staying up until midnight to contemplate which house to choose. “If I was going into recruitment now, I would tell myself to not worry about what others think and to just be yourself,” she said.

The alpha female

Hayley Starr, a new member of Alpha Delta Pi, celebrated bid day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium because of the construction at ADPi’s new sorority house. After finding out she was chosen by Alpha Delta Pi, she felt welcomed by the existing members in the chapter. According to the sorority’s national website, Alpha Delta Pi was the “first secret society for women in the world and forged the way for women in the fraternity system.” Although recruitment took a turn, Starr uses her sorority to stay motivated.

“The girls I’m surrounded by are super motivated to do well in school, so it makes me determined to also get good grades and stay on top of my schoolwork,” Starr said. “My sorority makes me appreciate Greek life more than I did before because I’ve seen the positive impact it’s had on others and myself.”

Sigma K, aye?

Ella Kulak and Kelly Mathesie room together and pledged the same sorority: Sigma Kappa. Located on the corner of East Panhellenic Drive, Sigma Kappa flaunts its new house that was built in 2016.

“I love my sorority because they are a real group of girls, and they aren’t afraid to be themselves,” Kulak said. “They are always there to support me through all that a freshman goes through in college.”

In addition to Kulak’s connection to her fellow members of the sorority, Mathesie appreciates the sisterhood among the chapter women.

“There’s constantly people who are pushing you to do your best, and when there are exams coming up or positions to apply for, there’s always somebody who’s there to offer a helping hand,” Mathesie said. “The automatic 200 plus people who are accepting you with open arms is such an amazing thing.”

That DZ love

Throughout recruitment, potential new members are reminded to trust the process, despite the confusion and stress that goes with it. With the help of Panhellenic Counselors, which are called Pi Chis, these young women must go through three rounds of recruitment along with a preferential night to find their place among the Greek community at the University of Florida. For instance, Drew McCullough found her home at Delta Zeta. After receiving a bid from the chapter, McCullough, and the rest of her pledge class, dove into new member life. For most sorority women this includes meeting others, learning names and feeling at home among the chapter.

“At first it was a little overwhelming getting to know everyone at first, but now it’s really nice walking into the house and knowing all of the friendly faces,” McCullough said. “Recruitment was really stressful, but I’m glad I went through with it because I’m really happy with how everything turned out.”

KD all the way

Mia Fisher joined Kappa Delta after noticing the genuine qualities of the members as well as the drive among the women to forge friendships with each other. Fisher felt welcome as she ran towards the house with the pink bricks on bid day. Even though Fisher held hesitations going into recruitment, she enjoyed the process and knew Kappa Delta felt like home.

“The media portrays sororities in such an artificial, pretentious way and makes it seem like girls in sororities are mean girls,” Fisher said. “Being in Kappa Delta these last few weeks has shown me that it is the complete opposite and is so much more than I expected.”

Sorority recruitment allows Florida women to discover their values and find chapters they connect with. Although stereotypically seen as negative organizations, sororities work to give back to others and grow together as a sisterhood.