What Does Sorority Mean?
There are many different facets to college life. While the focus is on academics and earning a degree that will secure a person's future, having a social life is equally important. When students are trying to decide which college they want to attend, they have to find one that fulfills their educational needs, as well as their desire to hang out with others.
When high school students tour college campuses, they will probably hear about Greek life. It's also possible that they have some idea what it means to be in a fraternity or sorority based on movies or TV shows they've watched - but they may not get a true picture of what a fraternity and sorority really is. In essence, when it comes to the definition, Greek life is a community of men and women who join one of many fraternities and sororities, respectively.
Knowing the fraternity and sorority definition is helpful, but what exactly is Greek life about? What is the true sorority meaning, and what's the difference between a respectful fraternity man and a frat guy?
If you're a young woman entering college or advancing through your semesters, it's natural to be curious about this unique community. You might even be asking, "What does sorority mean?" Here's everything you need to know about what a sorority is, sisterhood and how Greek life enhances your undergraduate experience.
The Basics of Sorority Life
The textbook definition of a sorority is "a society for female students in a university or college." That doesn't even begin to cover the true sorority meaning.
Joining a sorority helps you tap into a smaller community you can call your own among a mass number of students and faculty who make up a campus. Your sorority is your place to socialize, get engaged, give back and learn about what really matters to you.
It's your place to grow during your four years in college, with lessons and memories you'll cherish for life. This all begins with recruitment.
Recruitment is the way that established sororities meet potential new members and invite new sisters into their chapters. How a sorority goes about attracting individuals to their sorority varies across all participating campuses in the United States.
Some colleges only offer Fall recruitment, while others have a smaller version of recruitment in the Spring in addition to the Fall. There are universities that schedule recruitment before classes begin, allowing sorority sisters and new members to live on campus early and learn about each other and what college life will be like.
The flip side of this is going through recruitment during your first week of classes. If this is the case, you go to class during the weekdays and then do recruitment on the weekend. This form of recruitment will either take up one weekend or two entire weekends consecutively.
The reason recruitment takes so long is because there are so many ladies looking to find their forever homes, and the sororities want to meet them - that takes time. The potential new members get assigned to small groups as they visit each house.
The recruitment events have themes each day to help young women understand the true sorority meaning. Themes will range from "Spirit Day" to "Sisterhood Day" to "Philanthropy Day" and, everyone's favorite, "Bid Day."
The New Member Process
Bid Day is when you "run home" to your new sorority. This is the start of your new member process, a chance to get to know your sisters and learn about the history and values of your sorority.
You will be appointed a sister (who is already initiated), who will guide you through the educational process. She helps arrange the Big/Little reveal, initiation and is your overall go-to person for more insight on the meaning of sorority, especially in reference to your particular chapter.
Sorority Families and Leadership Opportunities
If you have ever wondered, "what are sorority sisters," they are the women you'll depend on the most after joining Greek life. A chapter of a sorority is an active community within a campus' Greek life, which is part of a larger organization. In other words, a sorority at one university can share the same letters as a sorority on another campus; they are each a chapter of the same organization.
Within each chapter, there are sorority families. If you've ever heard terms like "Big", "Little" or "Twins", this is what those titles are referring to. A sorority family helps you create a more personal connection to your sorority.
When you join a sorority, you become a member of a small group of women whom you can count on among a large organization. Of course, you're free to make as many connections within your sorority (and Greek life overall) as you'd like, but knowing you have sisters who have your back can be helpful.
While you have the opportunity to meet lots of wonderful ladies in a sorority, your Big and Twin, and then your own Little, tend to become your main sisters for random lunch dates, study dates and other casual events. These are the women most sorority ladies get closest to. They are their sisters in times of need and their support system as they take on leadership opportunities and life.
That's right - sororities encourage leadership and offer plenty of ways to build leadership skills. Every chapter has a President and Vice President, with their own executive board and supporting chairs. Some common roles include:
- scheduling philanthropy events
- signing the chapter/sisters up for other organization's philanthropies
- managing the chapter budget
- scheduling socials
- enforcing academic expectations
- managing the sorority house
The titles for each role will vary within each sorority.
How Sorority Life Benefits the College Experience
Why should you get involved with a sorority in the first place? To make your college experience the best it can possibly be! Undergraduate life isn't just about studying and taking exams (although that's important); it's about making lifelong friends and self-improvement.
Every sorority has a GPA requirement. You need to have a certain GPA to become an initiated sister, and if your GPA falls, you'll be put on probation. This helps each woman remember to put her academics first, and her chapter responsibilities and social life second.
Thankfully, sororities make this requirement easy to manage. Many chapters will rent study rooms on campus, where sisters can freely come and go to get work done. Ladies often end up in the same classes and major tracks with their sisters, which makes forming study groups a breeze.
Leadership goes hand in hand with the sorority meaning, but it's not reserved to Greek life alone. You'll meet sisters who are involved in Student Government, Housing and Residential Life, Student Affairs, and major-specific organizations.
Your sisters will serve on executive boards, be active members and share a deep passion for the things you care about, too. Such connections make it easier to discover everything your campus has to offer, from IMs to attending campus events to finding research opportunities and more.
Preparing for Adulthood
At the end of the day, no matter what you do in college, your four years add up to one giant step towards adulthood. A sorority can support you every step of the way. Not only will this happen during your college years, but you can take that support with you into your future as well.
This is a group of women who will inspire you to be more confident, caring, hard-working and more. They will challenge you to stand firm in your beliefs and encourage you to develop your talents. They will be there for you when you're down and stand by your side to celebrate you.
Who knows? You may even find your future bridesmaids and after-college roommates. There's no limit to what sorority life can offer, but you have to join to find out what it can do for you.
Discovering the Sorority Meaning for Yourself
To be in a sorority means many different things for each lady involved.
For some, the sorority meaning may refer to having a home away from home, especially if they are from out of state or an only child. Other sisters may define sorority as more focused on leadership and giving back.
It's all about what you make it. For more insights on sorority life, browse our website.