Sisterhood: A Process of Friendship By Service

The stereotype of the blonde, blue-eyed, wealthy and contemptible young women in sororities is anything but the reality of women in Greek Life. While this is the stereotype, the sorority experience at SLU represents more worthwhile values. This is reflected at SLU where women with values, philanthropic attitudes and national recognition advocate for women’s equality. Sororities were founded when women were first allowed to attend universities. Although it’s unclear which sorority was founded first, Alpha Delta Pi, Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta and Gamma Phi Beta were among the first. Although sororities’ goals do not solely include advocating for women’s right to attend college, twenty-first-century sororities promote feminism in academic and cultural senses. At Saint Louis University our seven sororities chapters include Alpha Delta Pi, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta, Phi Mu and Zeta Tau Alpha. Saint Louis University’s mission for scholarship, service, intellectual inquiry and equality are represented in each sorority’s philosophy and values. Philanthropic partnerships include Ronald McDonald House, Girls on the Run, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Think Pink and my personal favorites, Girls on the Run and Prevent Child Abuse America. Each sorority engages in philanthropy through fundraisers and local community service, fostering the values of our university locally and nationally, and advocating for women’s rights by building groups of young women that are respectful, responsible and kind. So, how does an individual become part of a sorority at Saint Louis University? 

   After registration each potential new member (PNM) fills out a bracket in which one’s top core values are chosen. At SLU, sorority rush lasts five days, with the last day being bid day.  Bid day is a ceremony in which a sorority will extend an invitation for a PNM to be a member of their chapter. Anyone can participate in rush, and each PNM is paired with a group of girls led by two or three recruitment counselors, also known as a Pi Chis. Pi Chis are members of sororities that are disaffiliated from their organizations to serve as mentors throughout the recruitment process. Prejudice and  discrimination of any kind are not tolerated during rush, and being who you are is encouraged by the active members of sororities and the Panhellenic council. The Panhellenic Council is a group of women who represent SLU’s sorority chapters, each chapter having two delegates that attend executive meetings. The council presides over recruitment at the beginning of each academic year while providing resources for potential new members. I may be biased, but my Panhellenic council for 2021 recruitment was beyond gracious and accepting. Especially with the recent tragedies of two SLU students, I was touched  by each sorority’s thoughtfulness and solace in offering sympathy, as well as being advocates for mental health awareness.  

   Recruitment began with online rotations over two days. PNMs met with all seven sororities and upon being invited back for philanthropy day, girls learned about each sorority’s philanthropic work. Every sorority I have talked to speaks and acts on Panhellenic love by speaking highly of their counterparts and truly encouraging each PNM to choose the sorority which will serve them most. After a two week pause which allowed for a period of reflection and mourning with the SLU community, PNM’s had preference and bid day. Preference day is where each remaining PNM learns about sisterhood, service and the community that constructs each sorority through hearing active members’ experiences within their sororities. After preference came bid day, which was when I received an invitation to Kappa Delta sorority. Upon opening my bid card, I ran with a group of active members where my pledge class and I received a bid day t-shirt, a dousing of glitter and more smiles than I have ever seen. The moment I joined Kappa Delta, I knew that I belonged in their chapter because of our shared values of respect, service and responsibility. I’m excited to represent the Saint Louis University and our city’s community by teaching the chapter’s values to young children through their philanthropies Girls Scouts of America and Prevent Child Abuse America. Every sorority on our campus institutes service for their philanthropy, offers leadership positions that prepare members for life beyond college and collectively cherishes womanhood. I would recommend to anyone that going through SLU’s rush process and becoming part of a sorority will lead you to better yourself individually and communally, form friendships that transcend your four years of college, and serve with young women for the greater good.