A sorority house is a residential unit where female students in college or universities live together in a family set up or meet for functions and activities. When the house is used for meetings, it can also be referred to as a chapter house. The history of sorority houses dates back to before universities had housing available.
During that time, women fraternities rented houses where they would live together with a chaperone. The first sorority house built by a women’s fraternity was erected in 1886 at Syracuse University. Many universities and colleges then adopted sorority or fraternity housing since it increased school enrollment without building expensive dormitories.
The History Of Sorority Houses
You may wonder how Greek houses (sorority or fraternity houses) came to be; they have a fascinating history behind their existence. The very first sorority houses were meant for the social organizations’ meetings. Sometimes, members would live there while going to college. The main aim of these houses was to further the social and professional interests of members.
With time, the demand for affordable housing grew, and women fraternities opted to rent houses and live together. The houses had Greek letters representing their organization and thus adopted the name ‘Greek letter organizations”. Before 1882, both men’s and women’s organizations were referred to as fraternities. In 1882, the gamma phi beta women at Syracuse University were advised to call themselves a sorority. A Latin professor who was their advisor said that the word sorority suited them better. Sorority comes from the Latin word “soror,” which means sister. Women organizations that came after that time now adopted the name sorority, and it became famous the world over.
In the 1890s, sororities started owning houses that served as the chapter house. This was attributed to alumni who had graduated and were successful in donating to their sorority. Chapter houses marked the beginning of increased growth for sororities. It also meant that the priorities and makeup of the organizations changed. They now had new responsibilities such as mortgage payments, repairs, property maintenance, cleaning, and legal matters. The sororities also started meeting up more often. The members living together meant more recreational activities, learning new skills, and gaining leadership skills.
Traditions Of Sorority Houses
Sororities initially recruited their members via formal invitation and initiated them one by one. With them having houses that they wanted full, they started competing for incoming first-year students’ interests. Since sororities rushed to get freshmen before any other organization, this process was named “rush.” Today, rush has been replaced by recruitment, which involves actively finding new members fit for the organization.
Some sororities keep their traditions and constitution a secret, while some publish them. Most societies borrowed ceremonies and initiation rites from different religions and cultures. Some borrowed from literature and philosophy of ancient Greeks and Romans, Christian and Jewish scriptures, military codes of honor, chivalric traditions, freemasonry precepts or romanticism and enlightenment science.
With time, teaching the classics became less common, and the meaning of rituals started fading and becoming unknown to most members. This lack of knowledge led to theatrical aspects of ceremonies dominating as opposed to the deep and more profound meaning. It is during this period that hazing is said to have taken root.
Another popular tradition with sororities’ is a badge or symbols that only initiated members wear. In some organizations, some exceptions allow sweethearts to initiated members to wear the badge too.
Should I Join A Sorority?
If you’ve just started college and you feel lonely or out of place, then joining a sorority has crossed your mind at least once. You may be asking yourself if it’s worth it and what are the advantages of joining one. Keep reading to get the right information for easy decision making.
For most American college students, sororities are a significant part of college life. They are a source of purpose and a sense of community for most college girls. They provide a great social circle and opportunities such as leadership, academic, or career. Sororities offer opportunities for girls to get together and work hard but also have fun together.
As a sorority member, you will be involved in charity causes and drives, and you’ll get to work with other organizations in the community. Sorority sisterhood is a huge responsibility and time commitment; you also need to pledge allegiance to the sorority’s identity.
Having understood what sorority sisterhood is all about, you may feel ready to join one. Joining a sorority will help you improve your social life. You will also get a lifelong network that supports you through the good times and the bad times. You only need to research different sororities and settle for one that aligns with your values, principles, and vibe.
How To Join A Sorority?
There are a few steps that you should take before joining a sorority to ensure you get the most from the organization. We’ll take you through a step-by-step guide on joining a sorority.
1. Do Due Diligence
Before registering for recruitment, do your research. Ensure you look up different sororities with chapters at your school. You can check their website for general information about priorities and goals. You can also reach out to sorority members and ask about their experiences. This will help you choose a sorority that feels right for you even before recruitment.
2. Sign Up For Recruitment
Every school has a unique process of signing up for recruitment. You may need to pay a registration fee in some cases. It is advisable to sign up early and beat the deadline since you still have classes to attend to. Also, ensure you provide as much information about yourself as possible. You can include your high school achievements and anything that can make you seem more attractive to the sorority. Some sororities have a grade point average that you need to surpass for you to join them.
3. Actual Recruitment Process
During formal recruitment, you will be invited to numerous events at different sororities. These events aim at meeting and knowing potential members. This is an excellent opportunity for you to choose a sorority that you feel more at home with. After these events making a decision will seem relatively easy.
Ensure you make a good impression by the way you dress and even talk. Put your best foot forward and engage with as many sisters as you possibly can.
4. Accepting A Bid
After a series of events, you will need to write down a list of sororities that felt fit for you. Sororities will begin to send out offers to join the girls from the events. Look over the bids you receive and compare them to those you chose. Please choose the one that feels right for you and accept their proposal. You will then be offered a pledge position in the chapter to begin your sorority life.
5. Living The Greek Life
Being a member of a sorority can offer a meaningful and exciting college experience. You can make friends and connections that will continue to exist even after school. Make sure you enjoy the experience and make the most out of it.
Sororities are a significant and popular part of any college girl’s life. There are many myths about living in a sorority house that you cannot know unless you research. When joining a sorority, make sure you understand and resonate with their purpose. Go with your principles and be open-minded. Sorority sisterhood could be the best thing in your adult life. You will be pushed to greater heights, you will have a closely-knit network of sisters to lean on, and you will learn a lot about life. We hope that this post was helpful to you, and you will make the most of your greek life.