". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


5 Things You Didn’t Know about Social Sororities

November 22, 2023

Preparing to start my freshman year of college was exciting, nerve-racking, and full of research. Rushing into a sorority was not on my radar at all. But one of the guides during my tour of my university happened to be from my hometown. During the visit, she kept referring to her first week at school during “rush.” I had no idea what “rush” meant. When she told me rush is the process of joining a sorority I, like many people unfamiliar with Greek organizations, pictured in my mind, stereotypical drunken parties and self-obsessed, petty, air-headed girls.

My tour guide did not act like that at all. I liked her and related to her. This interaction inspired me to explore the process of rush and the pros and cons of joining a sorority. 

Social sororities encourage and value femininity and have conservative qualities that people who did not participate in Greek life sometimes don’t know about. Here are five things I learned based on my experience in a social sorority.

1. Every sorority is different and prioritizes different values.

Some sorority values include friendship, loyalty, scholarship, service, love, truth, personal-growth, and self-sacrifice. That was my experience with our chapter. Training for the rush process as a sister includes preparation conversationally and appearance-wise. Conversational training includes practicing asking open-ended questions to connect with potential new members (PNMs). Open-ended questions help sisters learn about PNMs’ values and personalities.

Rush training also includes make-up tutorials and dress expectations, which help sisters to feel confident that we are putting our best foot forward as we work to maintain a reputation of being welcoming, professional, and organized. The sisters are looking for PNMs who seem to share the values of the sorority and seem to have some common interests and goals with other sisters in the chapter. 

2. Sorority sisters teach each other some do’s and don’ts of appropriate dinner table manners.

Requiring sisters to buy the meal plan encourages sisters to eat together and have an opportunity every day to get to know each other. I found it so encouraging to sit down for a meal or two each day at my chapter to talk to my sisters and get to know their lives outside of the sorority too. At my chapter, most meals are buffet style, but Friday night is a formal dinner. Sisters don’t dress formally, but we stand behind our seats until the dinner bell is rung, we recite a prayer thanking God for our meal and each other, then we sit down to eat family-style.

The sister at the head of each table serves herself first and always passes food to the left of her. Sometimes during dinner, other organizations would send some representatives to invite us to an event. When this happens, a sister would ring the dinner bell, and everyone would stop talking and eating to give our full attention to the guests making an announcement. After the brief announcement, all the sisters would applaud the guests until they exited the front door of the sorority house. 

3. Sororities host philanthropic events and encourage donating time and money to causes.

Sorority philanthropies provide an opportunity for sisters to invest time and energy into giving back to the community. When I joined my chapter, our philanthropy was one that I was not very familiar with. The more I got to know the cause and spent time volunteering at fundraising events, the more I learned about how I could pray for the cause better.

Sisters have the freedom to initiate volunteer opportunities with the designated philanthropy or other causes close to a sister’s heart. A sister could have a volunteer project she knows about through her major at school or through her church and she might invite other sisters to join her and contribute to the project. When I joined my chapter, I felt automatically plugged into a huge group of friends at school even though I had just arrived there.

4. Chapters offer opportunities to cultivate leadership and other professional skills.

Chapters have a variety of executive positions that are voted on by the sisters each year. Several of these positions come with a committee of sisters to help the committee leader fulfill the responsibilities of her role. Some examples of committees include academic excellence, Greek relations, alumni relations, finance, membership, and standards.

My chapter had “rules of proceedings” in weekly chapter meetings like those in the U.S. House of Representatives. Practicing “rules of proceedings” is helpful for women that are seeking to be corporate executives, politicians, or lawyers. Some events hosted by my chapter included required dress codes and make-up standards to help train sorority sisters to put their best foot forward as a good first impression especially when representing their organization.

5. Christian young women who are strong and confident in their faith should be open to joining Greek life.

Joining a sorority can be an opportunity to be a witness of Jesus’s love and forgiveness. Many young people are hungry to find a group to fit in with at college. This is true of women rushing sororities. God uses Christians in places and ways that we don’t expect. Whether it’s taking a part-time job during university or accepting the invitation to join a club that you are not familiar with, evangelism opportunities can be anywhere.

I have heard it said of Greek chapters that “you get out of it what you put into it.” I have found this to be true. If a sister attends the minimum number of required events or chapter meetings and rarely eats meals at the chapter, she won’t feel very connected to her sisters. If a sister spends time studying at the sorority house, volunteers to lead a committee within the chapter, and stays late on Mondays to watch the bachelorettes in the common areas, she will be more likely to feel connected to the chapter and make closer friends there.

I met several other Christian women in my sorority even though it was a secular sorority. We had a weekly Bible study in the sorority house and would pray for and encourage each other. My hope is that strong Christian young people who are confident in their faith in God and His Word would be open to exploring groups or clubs at university that they might be hesitant to because of stereotypes.

Jade Valentin is an administrative operations coordinator at Family Research Council.