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COLUMN

Dispelling Sorority Myths

Guest Column
Ellie Liang and Roxanne Cartwright

As two women who have experienced sorority recruitment as freshmen, we understand how the process can be overwhelming and perhaps even confusing to women who choose to be a part of it. We take this opportunity to clarify facts about sororities and hopefully dispel some popularly held myths.

Hazing is a subject on which many news magazines have reported, and with which MIT students are certainly not unfamiliar. FSILGs at MIT have been trying relentlessly to dispel widespread generalizations that have plagued them since Scott Krueger died in an alcohol-related incident in 1997. Many of the fraternities and sororities here at MIT are in fact dry or have resolved to become dry within the next couple of years. Not only are the sororities on campus nationally dry, but they also have nationwide no-hazing policies, which are strictly enforced.

In the Panhellenic recruitment rooms, a member of the class of 2004 inquired about Kappa Alpha Theta’s initiation ceremonies. Like most other Greek organizations, Theta holds initiation ceremonies, the details of which are held in strictest confidence. Rituals, and the secrecy that is kept, heighten our commitment as sisters and bond us worldwide. These ceremonies are an expression of our ideals and are a way to formalize our realization of those ideals. We regret that our reluctance to divulge the details heightened doubts of some potential new members.

Kappa Alpha Theta is also one of two MIT Panhellenic members (Alpha Epsilon Phi is the other) who do not have houses. Kappa Alpha Theta does, however, charge a facility fee that pays for storage space which houses supplies and materials that we use for recruitment and other events throughout the year. In addition to this storage fee, Theta is looking towards obtaining a house in the future, towards which we must invest as well.

Finally, becoming a member of a sorority is not about buying friends or “paying to hang out with people.” Instead, it’s about meeting diverse people and being able to call them your sisters. It’s about having a constant academic support system. It’s about having endless opportunities to develop and improve your leadership skills. It’s about having someone there to cheer you on every step of the way. It’s about maturing and growing as a person. It’s about making friendships that will last a lifetime.

Joining a sisterhood is about getting the most out of your life and making these years as meaningful as possible. It is unfortunate that preconceived notions and stereotypes might have prevented some from reaching this goal.

Ellie Liang ’01 is the Vice President of Public Relations of Kappa Alpha Theta. Roxanne Cartwright ’02 is President of the Panhellenic Association.