Meet Our Members: Emily

EmilyI always knew that I wanted to go through recruitment, but as a first year I was pretty clueless about what being a member of a chapter really meant. I was interested in finding friends, developing my leadership skills, and having a place to go when I needed to escape the dorms. Looking back on it now, I realize how impossible it is to truly understand Greek Life. I have found all of the things that First-year me was looking for, yes. But I’ve found so much more than that. Being a member of a sorority has given me the encouragement and support I need to become my best self.

College is a formative time in most people’s lives. You are leaving the friends you’ve had for years, traveling away from home, and beginning to face the world of adulthood. There’s no doubt that growth and change are an important part of a college experience, but change can be hard. My first semester in college was not an easy one. I was dealing with how to be a good roommate, tough classes, and some serious homesickness. I didn’t want to be at college, I wanted to go back to what was familiar, what I knew.

This is where my chapter came into the picture. During recruitment, I felt most at home during my time at one particular chapter. The women I talked to were genuine, they were funny, and they cared about the same things I did. One of the best conversations I had during those three long days was about how much I loved bacon! Every night after leaving that house, I felt more and more comfortable with the women there. When preference night came, I knew where I wanted to be.

As a Junior, I can now say that joining my chapter has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career. I have found women who have the same values and principles I do. Our ambitions, passions, and interests may vary, but at the end of the day our common ideas about what’s important create a bond that is like no other friendship. That’s what sisterhood is to me. These women push me to accept change and meet challenges, but they are also there as a constant source of comfort, and a reminder of the things that will never change. My values will continue to guide my actions, and my sisters’ love and support will be with me wherever I go.

Meet Our Members: Sam

SamWhen I came to Drake, I never considered going through recruitment until my roommate asked me to go through with her. In all honesty, I went through because it was a good way to meet people, and there was free food. What I discovered was that there were tremendous opportunities waiting for me in the Greek community.

Initially I joined my chapter because I felt the most comfortable there and I felt like it would be a great network of women to know. It evolved into much more than that very quickly. The women in my chapter became my biggest support system here at Drake. Even in those first few weeks where I knew very few others, they always were greeting me as I passed them on campus and asking me how I was.

These are the women who supported me when I decided to get more involved on campus. I am a member of the Peer Advisory Board, Big Brother Big Sister of Central Iowa, and Student Activities Board. Being Greek has not withheld me from getting more involved on campus, but has only assisted in my involvement. My sisters are the ones who are there for me when I get busy, and the ones who show up to events that are important to me.

Beyond the support of my sisters, being Greek has instilled values in my life that I uphold daily. I do that partly by getting involved on campus and things I am passionate about. Joining the Greek community has impacted me in ways I never thought possible, but will be forever grateful for.

First-Year Recruitment Stories: Sarah

Sarah2Greek Life was the first thing I was wondered about when it came to colleges. Many of the women in my family had been involved in Greek life, and had discussed it with me. I was excited for the leadership, service, and sisterhood opportunities, and especially a chance to join the same sorority as my mom.

As I went through formal recruitment I was so sure of my thought process. I knew I wanted to join an amazing group of women that wanted me, and that I fit in with. I quickly saw that I wouldn’t fit in with my mother’s sorority, and was devastated.

I called my dad in tears, wondering how I could have not shown and expressed the same values as the amazing Greek women in my life. Now normally dads would not be the ones to go to with such problems, but it resulted in some great advice that made formal recruitment easier for me.

“You know who you are and what your values are.  When you find the right group, you and those women will notice the connection.”

I took the plunge of accepting a bid with a chapter that I really connected with, and honestly, I wasn’t afraid that I had made a mistake. I got right to work getting to know all of my sisters, getting involved in philanthropies, and spending far too much money on new lettered shirts.

The more involved I became, the more I saw how the Greek community responded as a whole. I not only became more comfortable with my chapter, but also found friends and close companions in nearly every Greek organization on campus (social or otherwise!)

My personal values and dedication to Drake and the organizations I’m involved in were, and are, something I cherish. Going through formal recruitment helped me find an entire community of colleagues that are motivated toward similar goals and experiences. I would suggest to everyone to consider finding a group of people with similar values that accept and love you, and going Greek is one amazing way to find that compassion and care.

Meet Our Members: Rebecca

RebeccaComing to Drake, I never thought joining a sorority would be something I was interested in. I heard stories about the reputations of sororities in general and wasn’t really into the “typically sorority life.” It was actually my freshman roommate who convinced me to sign up and just go through the recruitment for the experience. Since then, I have not once regretted my decision.

Greek Life has definitely shaped me into the person I am today. I am more involved on campus and within the Des Moines community than I have ever thought I would be. Holding positions within my own chapter has given me a lot of leadership experience as well as other opportunities for service and networking. I also don’t think I could have gotten this far without the support and friendship of the women in my chapter. I’ve experienced a lot of ups and downs throughout these past three years and don’t think I could have overcome these troubles without them.

Throughout my time in Greek Life, I have gained a passion for philanthropy. Greek Life not only gives me a chance to give back to my own chapter’s philanthropy, but also experience a variety of other organizations supported by other chapters. Not only does philanthropy offer a chance to give back, but each chapter has their own way of making it fun!

Within the Des Moines Community, I am part of the advisory board of an organization called Community!Youth Concepts. The goal of CYC is to prompt opportunities to youths in the community in order to better their education, work aspirations and, in general, a better future for themselves. Being Greek has assisted me with that position because it has given me that spirit and enthusiasm to give back. I know my drive for service will follow me and assist me with my future endeavors.

I am also an Adams Academy Graduate. Being in Adams Academy, I have gained more knowledge of leadership and what it takes to be a good leader. However, I don’t think I would have joined Adams Academy if it weren’t for the women of the chapter. Many of them are also Adams Academy graduates and have encouraged many of us to get involved. They talked about how it was such a great experience and really prompted the idea of it.

First-Year Recruitment Stories: Emily

Emily3

Growing up in a college town, I always knew I wanted to be in a sorority. I was prepared for the challenges of recruitment, and ready to prove myself to the women I would meet throughout the process. What I didn’t know was that I really didn’t have to prove anything: there was a place for me; I just had to find it.

I had heard horror stories from friends that went through recruitment at larger schools: I was prepared for long, grueling days that would leave me in tears. When the first day of recruitment rolled around, I stood quietly outside the first house with butterflies in my stomach. As soon as I sat down for my first conversation with a woman in the chapter, I immediately relaxed. She was so easy to talk to and nothing about the experience felt forced. The first day of recruitment continued to surprise me with fun, exciting experiences, as did the entire recruitment process.

Before the week of recruitment I made mental lists of things to talk about and things to absolutely avoid. But when I sat down to ‘impress’ my potential sisters, it was nothing like I was expecting. The women of each chapter were genuinely interested in finding out everything about me, and embraced my quirks and crazy personality. I didn’t have to impress anyone; I just had to be me. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true.

The biggest advice I can give is to ignore any gossip or stereotypes you hear. Everyone involved with recruitment kept telling us, ‘keep an open mind, and you’ll find a place you belong’. I probably rolled my eyes every time I heard this, but looking back, I realized that this was the best advice anyone could give us. Even though I’d heard a few of the stereotypes, I had positive experiences visiting each chapter, and in the end, I arrived on bid day knowing exactly where I belonged.

If you’re debating whether sorority life is for you, just go for it. Even if you go through recruitment and decide it’s not for you, the people you meet and the friends you make will be worth it.

I can honestly say that going Greek has changed my outlook on life. Leaving my hometown, my friends and family to come to Drake was difficult, but my new sisters wasted no time filling those roles. I came to Drake with one family, but I will leave with two, and for that I could not be more grateful.

 

 

First-Year Recruitment Stories: Jackie

JackiePrior to arriving at Drake, I planned what my first few months here would look like. I was going to become best friends with my FYS, join lots of clubs, and of course participate in formal recruitment. I pictured myself to be the perfect sorority girl and could not wait until I was proudly wearing letters around campus! When it came time for recruitment, I had furthered my plan for the first few months at Drake and thought I knew exactly which chapter I wanted to join. The first night, sporting a cute bow and colored pants, I walked myself into what I thought was my dream sorority. I had wonderful conversations with the women, laughed a lot, and by the time the event was over, I was certain that was the chapter I was going to join. However, that certainty quickly disappeared when I received my schedule for the next round of events and found that I had not been invited back to what I thought was my dream chapter.

Maybe it’s needless to say, but I was not a happy Potential New Member. However, after a bit of encouragement from my fantastic Rho Gamma, I was ready for the second night of recruitment events. After round two, I found a new favorite chapter.  I came back the following morning to find that I was not invited back. After this happened a second time, I was very discouraged.  I took it personally and felt that the rejection was the chapters saying that they plainly did not like me. I debated dropping out of recruitment, however once again, my amazing Rho Gamma gave me a pep talk and not before long, I found myself taking part in two very special preference day ceremonies.

Preference day was, by far, my favorite day of recruitment. That day, all of the PNMs had the privilege to take part in a ceremony that is very special to each chapter. Both ceremonies were beautiful and I could really feel the passion, dedication and love that the woman had for their particular chapter. However, in the chapter I am now a member, I remember there was a moment during the preference day ceremony where it all clicked. Prior to the ceremony, I spent time talking and laughing with two amazing girls. At one point, I dropped part of my snack on the ground and was very embarrassed. However, they instantly made me feel better and even had me laughing about the situation. Then, during the ceremony, one of our amazing seniors was standing behind me to guide me through. I could sense how much she, as well as the other women, wanted me to join their sisterhood. I felt comfortable there. I felt like I belonged. Walking out of the house, I tried to contain my excitement because of my previous recruitment disappointments but instead I ended up running up to my Rho Gamma yelling “I KNOW WHERE I BELONG!”

Bid day was pretty scary. I sat there in anticipation with my recruitment group as all of the bid day cards were passed out. After what felt like a year we were all able to open our envelopes. Inside of the envelope, I found the beautiful Greek letters I was hoping for written across the top. I was home.

The rest of bid day was actually the best day of my life but I will not even try to explain that because it is a day you need to experience for yourself. Now, what advice do I have for you, a potential new member? First off, go through recruitment. The worst thing that will happen is that you will meet some fantastic older women you can look up to. The best thing that will happen is that you will find a sisterhood that you truly belong in. You will find dozens of new role models, gain leadership skills, form amazing friendships, and be part of something so much greater than yourself. I can 110% say that my sisters motivate me to become a better friend, student and leader each and everyday.

Second, keep in mind that on Drake’s campus, the definition of a “sorority girl” is much different than my original depiction of a “sorority girl”. Here, the definition of “sorority girl” is a woman that is dedicated and hard working, passionate and loving, and wants to be involved in a million and one activities on and off campus. You do not have to love boys, make up, formals, or be an expert crafter. On our campus, Greek life is honestly for everyone.

Lastly, when going through recruitment, try your hardest to avoid going in with a plan. Be open-minded and let it take you where it may. I later realized that I had a feeling of comfort in my chapter the entire recruitment week, however I was too close-minded to actually see it. I also realized that not being asked back to a chapter does not mean that I have a terrible personality. Rather, it means that those chapters feel that my values and personality would fit better with a different group of women. Now that I have been in my chapter for the year, I see how well my values and personality meshes with the rest of my sisters. They bring out the best, the weirdest, the goofiest, and the most passionate parts of me.

Looking back on the first day of recruitment and my original plan, I did not even foresee an alternative future being so amazing. But yet, here I am, a member of the chapter I did not expect to join and I could not be more grateful that my plan changed.

What Can I Expect During the Recruitment Process?

With recruitment at Drake less than a month away, we hope that you at least have an interest in seeing if Greek Life is for you.  But, we know you still may be confused by the recruitment process.  And that is okay!  It can be a bit confusing.  Hopefully, this post can help to answer some of your questions!

What events do I need to know about for recruitment?

ADPiBefore recruitment even begins, there are some important events to know about.  Come pick up your recruitment shirt or register for recruitment during the first week of classes (August 25th-29th) in Helmick Commons from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM (only 1:00 PM on Friday).  Recruitment Counselors (Rho Gammas) will be available to answer any of your questions.

On Monday, September 1st, we will be holding a recruitment kick-off event.  Everyone is welcome—even if they have not registered, bring them!  Your Rho Gamma will contact you beforehand and tell you where to meet her on campus at a designated location at 2:45 PM.  Everyone will meet in Parent’s Hall in Upper Olmsted at 3:00 PM for a question and answer panel.  We will all go down to Helmick Commons for snacks/socializing/registration if you haven’t already afterwards.  The registration deadline closes this day at 11:59PM.

APhiThere are three rounds to recruitment at Drake.  The first is Values Night, which is either Tuesday, September 2nd OR Thursday, September 4th.  You will report at 5:45 PM wearing your recruitment T-Shirt and nice bottoms.  There will be a short presentation and afterwards we will walk over to Greek Street together.  Everyone will be attending all five chapter’s events and the night will conclude by 11:15 PM.  Values Night is your first opportunity to interact personally with the members of our Panhellenic sororities. Conversations will be one-on-one and focus on topics such as your extra-curricular involvement, your experience at Drake so far, what you want to get out of a sorority experience, etc.  Additionally, chapters will give you a brief presentation on their philanthropies.

On Wednesday, September 3rd, Drake will host the Student Activities Fair in Upper Olmstead from 4:00 to 7:00 PM.  Everyone is encouraged to attend and look at all the student clubs and organizations.  Greek Life will have a booth at the fair in case you have any questions.  Your Rho Gamma will also be in contact with you and meet up with your group.

The second round of recruitment is Sisterhood Night, which is Friday, September 5th.  You will report at 5:15 PM wearing a nice dress, skirt, or pants (something that you would wear to a picnic or barbeque).  There will be a short presentation and your Rho Gamma will give you your schedule for the night.  You may be attending up to four events determined by a mutual selection process, however, it is quite common to attend less.  The night will conclude by 10:45 PM.  The night’s conversations will focus on each chapter’s member expectations as well as the financial, housing community, service, and scholarship obligations of each member.  A brief tour of each chapter facility will also be given.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

DGThe final round of recruitment is Preference Day, which is Saturday, September 6th.  You will report at 12:15 PM wearing a nice dress or something that you would wear to a special occasion.  There will be a short presentation and your Rho Gamma will give you your schedule for the day.  You may be attending up to two events determined by a mutual selection process, however, it is common to attend one event.  The day will conclude by 4:15 PM.  You will talk more in-depth with members about their sorority experience and why their chapter is so important to them, as well as attend a special ceremony that is unique to each chapter.  Some women may be emotional during this round, as they consider the bonds of sisterhood they have formed with the women in their chapter.

On Sunday, September 7th, we will celebrate Bid Day!  If you receive a bid to join a chapter, you will report to Parents Hall in Upper Olmstead at 11:30 AM.  Bids will be opened at 11:45 AM.  From here, you will learn which chapter your Recruitment Counselor (Rho Gamma) and all other disassociated members belong to.  At 1:00 PM, Bid Day with your new chapter will begin!  Bid Day is the start of your journey as a Greek new member.  It tends to be a little overwhelming, but it is filled with excitement and Panhellenic spirit.

What are recruitment events like?

ThetaBefore each round of recruitment event begins, you will be lined up alphabetically with the other potential new members attending the same event outside of the chapter house.  At the start of the event, the chapter members will likely sing in a group and invite you inside.  Once inside, you will sit down with one or two members and just have a conversation.  They want to get to know you better (and you want to get to know them, too!).  This is your time to learn about their chapter and sisterhood.

At each event, a member will offer you a small snack (like cookies or fruit).  Do not be afraid to eat the snack—the members have prepared them specially for you and want you to enjoy them!  But, it is also fine to pass if you are not hungry.  Despite what you may have seen in the movies, you will not be judged on whether or not you eat the snack.  Be sure to eat lunch or dinner beforehand though.  The snacks are not enough to be a meal!

What are my chances of receiving a bid to join a chapter?

KappaIf you maximize your options, there is a very good chance that you will receive a bid to join a chapter.  Drake’s Greek Community is very diverse, and you will likely find a home in it if you keep an open mind.  There is a place in our Greek Community for nearly anyone that is interested in being a part of it.  It is important to come into recruitment with an open mind because you never know which chapter you will connect best with!  The chapter that potential new members think they connect best with may change throughout the recruitment process.  It is also important to not base any of your decisions on the conversation you have with one member of a chapter.  As you speak with different women throughout the process, you can begin to see all the different characteristics each chapter has to offer.

Don’t forget to register if you have not already!

Upperclassman Recruitment Stories: Abbygayle

AbbygayleI didn’t go through recruitment my first year. I sat in my room and studied for class as I watched my roommate excitedly pick out which dress and shoes to wear. Every night she would come home and tell me about how nervous she had been and how welcoming the ladies at each chapter were. I remember her telling me that as she had gone through recruitment, I reminded her of one of the chapters. She thought I would have fallen head over heels for that chapter and maybe even found a new home there.

When recruitment came during sophomore year, I signed up immediately. I’d had a good first year at college, but it felt like there was something missing. I wanted that sisterhood other girls had found. I wanted that home my roommate said I might find.

Formal recruitment is an experience unlike any other. I’m fairly certain I asked at least one woman at every chapter what traits she valued most in herself as well as why she had decided on that chapter. But when I came back to my room those first two nights, I couldn’t stop thinking about two particular chapters. And when I returned for preference night to one of the chapters, I knew I had found the women I wanted to be sisters with for the rest of my life. These were incredibly unique and diverse women that shared a bond of sisterhood and clearly loved one another. I wanted to be a part of that.

So I became sorority girl. I love wearing my pin and my letters with pride, and sharing my college experience with so many amazing ladies. They have changed my life so much, and all of it for the better. My only regret is that I didn’t go through recruitment my first year instead of my sophomore year.

Formal recruitment is an experience that I believe every woman should try. It’s a great chance to meet the chapters and a very unique part of campus life, even if you don’t decide to join. Just be yourself, as cliché as that definitely sounds, and enjoy the experience.

Oh, and if there’s one thing I have learned about sororities, it’s simply this:

We are more than a stereotype.

What’s Got You Worried About Being Greek? There’s Nothing to Fear!

PanhellenicWomenWe know there is a lot weighing on your decision to be Greek.  Here are some common questions and our insight!

I want to do well in my classes.  Will being Greek hurt my grades?

We are glad to hear your coursework is important to you!  Being a student should always take first priority—you are paying too much in tuition to not worry about your grades and career.  Each chapter has their own scholarship program to support your scholastic endeavors.  There is a study room in every chapter facility that all members (even those that live on campus) can study in.  Each chapter can connect you with older chapter members can be very helpful when picking out classes and studying for exams.  And nearly every major is represented in each chapter!  The Greek community is also consistently proud to have an average GPA above the university average.  Being Greek can hold you accountable for your grades—you learn time management and have a wonderful support system to excel in the classroom.  Furthermore, having a network of alumni can help you when finding an internship or job!

I am really excited to get involved on campus.  Will being Greek take up all my time?

Our Greek community exists to supplement your Drake experience—not dominate it.  Every chapter encourages its members to be active in other campus organizations.  At Drake, it is quite common to be Greek and participate in other various activities.  Our Greek members are involved in Student Senate, professional fraternities, service and volunteer groups, Residence Life, Student Activities Board, Drake Magazine, intramurals, choir and performing arts, Adams Leadership Academy, etc.  Greek students not only participate in these organizations—they are active leaders in them.  Our community has a well-rounded representation in all of what Drake has to offer.  Greek life can support you in your involvement and lead you to organizations and leadership positions you would have never known about on your own!

Doesn’t it cost a lot of money to be in a sorority?

Our Greek community does not want financials to be a reason why someone chooses not to be Greek.  Each organization is self-supported through dues charged to all members.  In the first year of membership, a few one-time expenses are assessed.  After those initial payments are made, dues decline.  Each chapter has a variety of payment plans and several women pay their own dues from jobs on or near campus.  If you are concerned about financials, it is important to talk to chapter members about payment plans during recruitment.  They are happy to answer your questions!  Furthermore, as an upperclassman, if you choose to live in the chapter facility, housing and meals can often be much less expensive than living on campus or in an apartment.

What about pledging or hazing in Greek Life?  I have seen TV shows and movies that involve hazing and I want to be respected.

All sororities oppose hazing and are committed to a membership education period which instills a sense of responsibility.   You will not have to do anything that you are uncomfortable with and if you ever believe you have been subjected to hazing activities, it is imperative to report that information to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life immediately.  Drake has a strict no-hazing policy for all organizations and sororities here are committed to providing an uplifting, socially-responsible, supportive environment.

Okay, I am now thinking I should give being Greek a chance.  How will joining a chapter benefit me after college?

The life-long friendships you make through a chapter will last into post-college years.  Membership in a chapter is a life-long experience.  Wherever you end up after college, chances are you will be able to find an alumni chapter or other members of your sorority in the area.  Joining a chapter connects you with sisters throughout the entire country!  In addition, Greeks have national professional networks for their members to assist in job searching, geographical relocation, life-long learning, and social opportunities.

Don’t forget to register for recruitment!

Meet Our Members: Paxten

PaxtenIn high school, I always had a team—my volleyball, basketball, and track girls who would always be there when I needed them. So, coming to college, I was determined to find a group of women just like those at home. I needed a group of friends I could count on to join in my crazy schemes, enter intramural competitions, push me academically, or go to events on campus with me. But, never in my life had I thought about joining a sorority.

After much persuasion from my peers and my family, I decided to give recruitment a try. Each chapter told me about their amazing sisterhood, their intramural teams, their academic values, and how their Drake experience would not be the same without their sisters. After the third night, I came to realize that perhaps joining a sorority would give me back the team I had been looking for.

So I did it, I became a sorority girl. But here at Drake, this usually derogatory term means something different.  It shows you are academically driven, involved in your community, and dedicated to helping others.  It doesn’t limit what you are capable of joining or doing—it opens up worlds of opportunities. Aside from Greek Life, I am involved in Air Force ROTC, an all-girls acapella group, the Society of Physics Students, Women in Science and Mathematics, and the Drake Honors Program. Balancing all of these things along with keeping my grades up can, I’ll admit, be challenging. But the difficulties I face now would be nothing compared to what Drake would be like without my sisters. They are there to yell and scream at me while I’m in uniform when everyone else avoids eye contact, drag me from my studies because they know I really need a break, and to support me when things get tough. Without these girls, I would have never found my team or my home at Drake.