By Zindzi Abuzuike
I remember telling my brother that there was no point in me going through recruitment. I knew I loved tattoos, piercings, and never straightening my hair. I didn’t think I would be accepted or wanted. Thankfully, he pushed me past my own anxieties so that I could surround myself with strong women throughout my undergraduate experience. I went through recruitment being unapologetically myself, knowing that if I got in, it was because the girls accepted me for me; if I wasn’t able to find a home, it would be for the best. I had my winged eyeliner, pierced brow, hoops, and red long box braids ready.
It turned out going though recruitment was one of the best decisions I could have made, especially since I went through first year, first semester. It has really shaped my university experience for the better. Through being in a sorority, I have gained more confidence in myself and in my capabilities to lead others. It has surrounded myself with amazing women who inspire and push me to be the best person I can be.
While being in a sorority has been, for the most part, a great experience for myself, it has not also been easy. Sometimes, I felt really out of place. Girls would say things that would be micro aggressions and I wouldn’t know how to respond. People would walk up and touch my hair and sometimes as a new member, you don’t know what to do. I would meet the same frat guy and he would still mix me up with another black girl in my sorority.
Greek life can be really grating on your self-confidence as a minority; but I found girls that always cared more about uplifting each other which helped me always get through. There was also a time I was being racially targeted by one of the members on my executive team. What was most unfortunate is that when you are in the minority, no one is there to support you in those micro aggressions. Some of my friends told me after how things seemed “weird” but they never stood up for me in the moment. I was left feeling confused and alone, hurt by the organization that was supposed to comfort me.
Lucky enough I had a black big and grand-big who both supported me whole heartedly and helped reach out to advisors. But the damage was still done, and I began to become a little more wary of my sorority. Then I realized it was my confidence in myself that made her uncomfortable. I am a proud black bisexual woman; my definition of womanhood did not conform to hers. Going forward the next year and receiving a position made me realize my sorority did trust me and I had the power to now make the change and create a safe space for girls.
Greek life has a lot of growing to do. I think a lot of girls who think of themselves as allies need to do a lot of self reflection and think of the times they were silent or bystanders when listening to racist or prejudiced statements. Overall, I would still not trade my experience in for anything. I have met girls who will craft, cry, and die for me.
I hope both Panhel and IFC can work together to create a more inclusive and accepting environment within Greek life. This will hopefully be done by implementing diversity directors and planning events cantered around supporting minority communities. I want people from BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities to feel safe and excited to go through recruitment! Greek life needs to drop the image of what it thinks it should “look like” and accept people in for who they are.
By Jessica Huang
I wanted to go through recruitment because I came to Western not knowing anyone and thought joining a sorority would be a good way to form new friendships and connect with more people. Going through recruitment, I felt somewhat insecure as I noticed the small proportion of POCs (Person of Colour). I am from Vancouver, a culturally diverse city, and I was used to seeing more minorities and people who looked like me.
I had a mostly positive experience with the rest of recruitment, but there were moments when I felt out of place. There were also a few white girls who I noticed that were only talking to other white girls, but it was a very small proportion of them.
However, I enjoy my time in the Greek scene and I have met many genuine and kind people through this platform. Most of my best friends now are my sorority sisters. My big graduated two years ago but I still talk to her everyday and I see us being friends for a long time.
Inevitably, I think the Greek scene has its own issues with discrimination, racism, and prejudice. For example, I’ve noticed a lack of representation on the sororities’ Instagram’s. The same group of girls are often posted, leaving out many other members in the sororities. I do not believe these are intentional and I know that there are very little POCs in some chapters.
However, I think we should all reflect on why many POCs are hesitant to rush and work on becoming more aware and educated on certain issues. This would create a more inviting and inclusive space for all. Moreover, I recognize that my generally positive experience in the Greek scene cannot be generalized to all POCs.
It was lovely to see many Greeks show solidarity and support during the Black Lives Matter movements and I believe we should keep the momentum going. For those who appeared more ignorant, I think it is our responsibility to try, reach out, and educate them. It is scary to bring up these issues but a conversation is better than nothing. I was hesitant about sharing my Greek experiences publicly, but ultimately, it seems like the right thing to do.
By Robin Macina
When I went though recruitment back in Fall 2017, I didn't think I would fit into a sorority. Everything I knew about sororities came from movies. In those, all the girls were white and looked alike. Being a woman of mixed race, I didn’t think I would fit in. I had some friends who insisted that it was different than I thought. Encouraged by my friends already in sororities, I signed up last minute on the Thursday before recruitment.
I went to the “Meet Your Rho Gamma” night and was surprised by the diversity I saw in the Rhos and thought I’d give it a shot. Those three days, I had an amazing time meeting new people and learning about what sororities were really like. The only time I ever felt like my race and skin tone mattered was when I’d get passed off to one of the black girls in the sorority hoping to show me how diverse they were despite having anything in common to talk about.
Sororities are still predominantly white but there are more and more girls with diverse backgrounds joining each year being welcomed with open arms just as I was three years ago. I am glad I took the chance and was open minded to the experience because I have met diverse, intelligent, amazing women within my own chapter and within all the other chapters too.
By: Vanessa Bendle- Alpha Gamma Delta
If you’re going through sorority recruitment, you might have some questions about the process. Personally, I remember being shy and not having much to ask the girls. I was nervous going into the weekend that’d I’d be asked that dreaded question… “do you have any questions?”. I had no idea what being in a sorority was about so I didn’t even know where to start. I knew I’d be asked about myself, including my extracurriculars, so I prepared to answer those types of questions. In high school, I was in various clubs and teams. But in my senior year, everything changed when I discovered I was passionate about videography. After graduation, I was given the opportunity to explore more filming wedding videos. A piece of advice I was given before recruitment was to have something that makes you memorable, and I thought that filming weddings is something I could mention that would make me stand out more as a PNM.
On the first day of recruitment, I remember being shown a recruitment video at a particular sorority and being in absolute awe. Shortly after, I got the chance to talk to members of that house and ask more about the video. I learned that I’d have a ton of opportunities to incorporate my love for videography into sorority life. It’s definitely something I wasn’t expecting, but it made me that much more excited about the process. I felt that joining a sorority truly would give me the opportunity to excel at what I was passionate about. In the following months, I learned that was true. I saw women with many diverse talents being able to use their skills and flourish. There are women who are artists, leaders, athletes, and more. All these women get the chance to explore these talents through their experience as a sorority member.
Throughout the last two years, I’ve been given countless opportunities for video events for not only my own sorority but entire the Panhellenic community. In my second year, I applied for the Social Media director position on Western’s panhellenic council. Video hadn’t been used in the past to promote formal recruitment, therefore I thought it could be a way to help unknowing girls discover sorority life. The council agreed with my idea, creating a new multimedia position so that I could bring my ideas to life. Over the past year, I got to work on a council of incredible women who supported my creativity wholeheartedly. I’m lucky I was given a place to foster panhellenic friendships and help improve our experience as sorority members. The best advice I have for recruitment is to relax. That is hypocritical coming from me considering I was a bundle of nerves the entire weekend. But when I look back, recruitment is such a memorable experience and you’ll the house that’s right for you.
By: Grace Koutsogiannopoulos- Alpha Omicron Pi
One question I get asked a lot is why did you decide to join a sorority? Or what made you decide to get involved within Westerns Greek Community. For me joining a sorority was an opportunity to make friends and create connections with people that I never would never have met before. Western is known for its student social life, large campus, and our incredible football team. I remember before I started school I was so excited. However, when I moved into residence it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I felt really alone and isolated especially because most of my friends from home went to other schools and, I felt as though the girls in my classes and in my residence were forming connections quickly and that I was kind of on the outside of things. I felt like no one wanted me around and that they could care less about me and if I was there or not. I remember searching for something to try and help me feel a little more at home. I than met a girl who was in Alpha Omicron Pi and she told me about Greek life and what amazing friends she’s met well being involved. She also told me about how everyone was so loving and open and always there for each other. I than decided to give rushing a try and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only have I made life-long friends in my chapter but I have also made life-long friends within the whole Panhellenic community. Everyone regardless of which Chapter they belong to is always there to love and support one another in anything that they need. It is always nice to know that there is a friendly face around campus to go to the spoke with or for those late night study sessions at the library. Though we can get competitive with each other at philanthropy events at the end of the day we are all there to support one another. Joining a sorority makes Westerns campus of thirty-thousand people feel like a small community and allows for an opportunity to make connections you would not otherwise make and friendships that will last a lifetime.
By: Serena Van Acker- Kappa Alpha Theta Alumni
Managing your finances can be an overwhelming and touchy subject, but it doesn’t have to be. Throughout my time as a sister (and a student) I have focused my budgeting on three main sections: preparation, organization, and selection.
I would recommend starting this step as soon as you can. Each sorority has different dues for different reasons. Before going through recruitment, do some research of your own on specific sororities and their average dues. There will also be an information night the week before recruitment in which the estimated semester charges will be laid out and explained for each sorority. By having an idea of these numbers ahead of time, you be able to create your budget around your estimation. Keep in mind, many sororities have financing options that will allow you to make multiple payments throughout the year instead of one major one.
Organize your money in a way that will allow you to spend a portion while saving another. If you work throughout the summer or part time during the year, I would recommend doing a 60% over 40% split where 60% of every paycheque you receive goes into savings while you keep 40% to spend at the moment. You can modify these numbers to suit your lifestyle.
Near the end of the summer (mid August) I would suggest going through the money you have saved, setting aside two lump sums for tuition, and then dividing the remainder into categories for the 8 months you will be in school. These categories should include: food, rent, spending money, and of course sorority dues. This is the basis for your academic year budget. It is extremely helpful to have a plan before going into the school year, that way you know how much money you can reasonably spend every month while staying in a sorority.
Selection is the final, and sometimes the toughest, section of financing. This is where you have to chose what to spend your money on throughout the year, and what you can live without. For example, if your sorority formal is approaching and you know you want to buy a new dress, maybe don’t go out for dinner that month so that you can save up some extra money. Selection is all about prioritizing what is most important to you because in reality, we can’t buy everything we want to.
Tips and Tricks to Saving Money in Greek Life!
By: Erica Kingsley- Alpha Gamma Delta
Coming into university, I barely knew what a sorority was. When my roommate decided to go through recruitment, I watched from afar because I thought the process wouldn’t be for me. My first year without a sorority experience was very daunting. Coming from a large network of friends in high school, it was challenging to shift to a very small group of friends in university. My residence was not very social, and it was hard to branch out and meet new people. After hearing about all the stuff my roommate was doing, and meeting some of the girls in sororities I decided to give it a chance and go through formal recruitment in my second year. It genuinely surprised me how much I enjoyed the process. Walking into the info night alone was so daunting, but I am so happy I stayed and went through with it. I thought I would be surrounded by girls in first year, but instead met so many girls like me, second and third years who wanted to branch out and enhance their university experience. I realized it really doesn’t matter what year you are in, it’s never too late to give formal recruitment a shot! I am so thankful to have found a second home within the Greek scene at Western, a group of girls who have helped me become the best version of myself. In my first year of the sorority I held a leadership position in both my new member class, and on executive council. I have learned so much about leadership and responsibility, and am excited to potentially hold more positions in the future. Being in a sorority, I went from having about 10 friends in first year to a group of 90+ girls as well as the Greek community. I am so thankful for my roommate and her friends who convinced me to rush in my second year. I was able to find my home and I know you can too!
By: Mika Rajkumar- Pi Beta Phi
For most of us attending Western was the first time we ever left the security of our friends, family, and home. Whether you’re living away from home or commuting, this school can seem daunting. Western has nearly 25 000 undergraduate students and sometimes it can seem like you are lost in a sea of faces. At least that was the case for me when I first came to Western. I came here knowing no one and made the decision to live off-campus in my first year rather than residence. Even though I made friends during O-Week, I still felt like I didn’t completely belong or have a support system. This definitely pushed me further back into my shell and at the end of my first year, I decided to take a year off from school. I took the year to work and do a couple of courses online but I knew when I came back I would still feel like a small fish in a very large pond.
That first September back I saw the Panhellenic booth on Concrete Beach. I knew Western had a Greek life but didn’t know much about it. However, I took a leap of faith and signed up for recruitment. From that first info session night and throughout the rest of recruitment weekend I seemed to be meeting these amazing young women who all wanted to be a part of something. And eventually, when I found myself in Pi Beta Phi, I began to feel like I belonged. Of course, I found a sisterhood that loved, supported, and nurtured me, but I also created friendships with the incredible men and women in the Greek community. Through socials, philanthropies, formals, etc. I got to experience a smaller community within Western. Since joining Greek life 3 years ago, I have yet to be in a class that doesn’t have a member from the Greek community or able to walk through campus without seeing friendly faces (trust me, I allow extra time to get to class because 9 times out of 10 you will be having conversations with these people). Sometimes even finding a social circle let alone maintaining a social life on a big campus can seem overwhelming, especially for those who may be coming from a small town. Greek life provides a regular and active social life that you can take full advantage of or just participate in based on your comfort level. There are so many events and experiences that are unique to being a part of the Greek community that brings people of different backgrounds, and programs together.
After joining the Greek community I felt like I had a support system not only socially but academically as well. No matter what program you’re in, chances are there’s someone in your sorority or one of the many other Greek organizations that are/have been in it. They are all resources you can go to for notes, as study partners, and counsellors who can guide you through your academic career and later your professional one too. Whether its Engineering, Fine Arts, or anything in between you have people who want to help you succeed. Every sorority has a GPA requirement and provides resources for its members so that they cannot just survive but thrive academically. This network of supportive people can alleviate the stress and pressures that all university students face.
Leadership opportunities are also plentiful within and amongst sororities and fraternities. Each sorority on campus has its own executive council and they are a part of the Panhellenic Council. I know first-hand that on a campus as large as Western, it can be difficult to find ways to obtain leadership roles. In a smaller community, however, one can flourish and make a direct and immediate impact. As I said before, this campus made me originally feel like going back into my shell. But joining a sorority pushed me out of my comfort zone and with the encouragement from my sisters and Greek friends, I held a vice president position on my sorority’s executive council. In fact, one of my jobs was actually running recruitment for Pi Beta Phi. Joining this community for many of you could be the chance to gain valuable leadership experience that you may not be able to get outside of it.
Home is a place where friends and family can gather to create memories and bonds, filled with love, support, and a sense of belonging. I got all that in the UWO Greek Community. It made this daunting campus feel like home and a place that’s going to be very hard to say goodbye to come end of the year.
By: Isabel Tansey- Alpha Phi
Being part of a sorority is an adventure in itself. It is something you have to be part of to truly understand, and one of the most rewarding experiences in a lot of different ways! It’s being part of a community, a sisterhood, gaining invaluable networking and leadership opportunities and so much more. It’s also a really big commitment, and time management is something I’ve had to master in order to fully immerse myself in being part of such a great organization.
Being able to efficiently manage your time is an irreplaceable skill in university, especially for when you get into the real world. Balancing a full course load and doing well, having a social life, sorority commitments, volunteering, working, and taking care of yourself at the same time is a LOT for just about anyone, but I promise it can be done.
I’m still learning every day how to be more efficient and manage my time better, but I do have some tricks that have helped me a lot this year in balancing a super busy life and of course, having fun at the same time.
1. Write it down. Be organized. Classes have officially started, and you’ve gotten all of your class syllabi. Write every date down! This is the one of the first things I always do, every exam, due date, tutorial times etc. need to be in your calendar. Sorority’s are really organized when it comes to scheduling, we always have the whole month laid out in advance, so put those dates in as well! Sometimes things pop up, but if you have been organized up until then, you can always figure out a way to work around it. Procrastination is your worst nightmare when you have a busy schedule, so as soon as you can get something crossed off your list... do it!
2. To do’s vs. Must do’s. I don’t know if anyone likes making lists as much as I do, but I’m a bit of a freak that way. I have lists for everything, including every class, as well as a general “To do” list for other things. If you want to be a master of time management, you have to learn how to prioritize! Put your number one priorities on your “Must do” list, and get it done right away. Set achievable goals for each day, so you can feel accomplished. Sometimes you have to sacrifice going to the sisterhood in order to get that lab assignment done, and that is OKAY. School ultimately comes first, but once you start getting better at prioritizing, you should be able to come out to as much as you can. If you’re like me, you don’t like missing out, so I always made sure my schoolwork was done early so I could make the most of my time with the girls, and going to all the fun Greek events.
3. You come first. Take care of yourself. University is overwhelming. Sometimes you feel like you’re too busy to breathe, but that’s when you take a step back and make a plan. I find exercising is a really good way to get back into routine! Self-care is essentially doing the things you need to get done in order to take any weight off your back. It’s crossing those things off your list, as well as making time for the people that matter the most. The best thing about being in a sorority is the group of amazing girls you have at all times. It is the best support system in the world. Having a bad day? Grab lunch with a sister. Need some motivation? Find a study buddy in the library… there is always someone there with a table! Even if it is finding someone to drag you to the gym, you will always have someone there for you.
When I joined a sorority, everyone told me you get out what you put in, which I completely understand now! My first year I applied for an exec position, which I ended up getting to my surprise and was completely overwhelmed with how much busier my life got. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The girls you meet during recruitment become family, your ultimate support system and your best friends. No matter how busy your life gets, always put yourself out there, work hard and it will be one of the best decisions you ever made!
By: Paulina Hart - Alpha Omicron Pi
Deciding to go through formal recruitment in the fall can be a big decision and there are a lot of things to keep in mind throughout the process. Being a legacy, you may feel additional pressure from your family, in addition to the worry of feeling that you won’t get the same recruitment experience as everyone else. A legacy is a member who has immediate family in a sorority. It can be your mother, sister or grandmother. If you join the same sorority, then you will be considered a legacy. As a legacy who went through formal recruitment in the fall of my first year at Western, here are my tips to optimize your experience in recruitment and the sorority of your choice.
Tips for Legacies During Recruitment:
1. Stay Open-Minded!
It can be difficult to have one particular sorority in mind because of your family. Whether they have raved to you about that sorority or not, you will automatically have it in mind. It is important to remember that every sorority is so different. Each sorority has different key values and activities that they are involved with. Additionally, they each have their own unique philanthropy; their own charity/cause they hold events for. Some sororities are more crafty, some take part in more social events, and some are more focused on their philanthropy and volunteering. It is important to remember that you are different than who you are a legacy to and their sorority may not be the best fit for you and that is totally ok!
2. Avoid Showing an Obvious Preference to One Sorority
During formal recruitment, it is important to have great conversations and present yourself with your best foot forward. During recruitment, every sorority wants members who are interested in their sorority. Avoid talking about other sororities when visiting a different one. My advice would be to avoid saying that you are a legacy. To other sororities this may come across as uninterested, which you do not want! Even if you are set on one sorority, keep your options open during recruitment and don’t limit yourself.
3. Make Your Own Impression
When visiting the sorority that you are a legacy to, they will know that you are a legacy, but it is still important to talk about yourself and ask questions. No two people’s experiences in the sorority will be the same, it is important to ask questions to make sure to find the best fit for yourself. If the fact that you are a legacy to that sorority gets brought up, make sure to still talk about yourself so that they can get to know you for who you are!
Things to Remember:
1. It is still important to make yourself memorable to each sorority that you tour. I did this by making sure I wore outfits that would make myself stick out… in a good way! For the second day of recruitment, I wore a yellow dress that people still remember and talk to me about!
2. Just because you are a legacy, doesn’t mean you will automatically get a bid. You still have to show interest and meet the criteria that they are looking for. It is important to have the minimum grades and come across as your best self. Remember to tell them about your cool summer experiences, your involvement in high school or thus far in university, brag about yourself a bit!
3. Ask questions and learn for yourself. Sororities can change overtime and it is important to learn and make judgements of each sorority yourself and not based off of the information that you hear from others. At the end of each day of recruitment, ranking the sororities can be very difficult but it is very important to rank them accurately and from your own experience.