Once you start university, it becomes essential to socialize in order to cope with the long lectures, endless reading and the occasional but inevitable all-night study sessions. Many people decide to join school organizations or sports teams, but have you ever thought about being part of a sorority or a fraternity?
We’ve all been fed stereotypes about sororities and fraternities from movies. They’re typically portrayed as well-kept rich girls and drunk muscular jocks doing keg stands. Truth is, the public perception is tainted by negative media coverage of what the Greek life is all about. I’ll admit it; I had no intention of becoming another perky in pink Elle Woods. But after running into one of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority girls, I realized that I had no idea what they’re all about and I decided to give it a shot.
The sorority holds recruitment events twice a year, in September and in January. I ended up finding out that the depicted image of sororities in Hollywood is far from real. I was welcomed by an amazing group of down-to-earth women who made me feel comfortable at every step. Sitting in a room playing get-to-know-each-other games and smacking up a piÃ±ata were the last things I expected to be doing during my first recruitment event.
Nervous smiles filled the room as I looked around and anticipated the moment I had to speak up. The girls were passing around a sombrero and once it landed on you, you had to answer two questions about yourself. There were uncertain looks on many of the faces in the room as each one of us tried to make a positive first impression.
By the end of the night, all the girls were laughing and enjoying themselves. In another event, we went on an unplanned scavenger hunt. The thrill of the competition gave me a rush of adrenaline as we crossed challenges off the list. The sisters spent a lot of effort trying to get to know us and being incredibly sweet during these events. As the rest of the events went on, I started learning more about the sorority and I knew that my decision to join was worthwhile.
Delta Phi Epsilon is an international sorority, meaning there are different chapters in Canada and the United States. They hold many philanthropic events to support different organizations and charities. The main two organizations that they regularly support are the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
One of their annual events is called Pie-A-Deepher, literally. Among other things, people get to throw pies at members of the Delta Phi. Having a pie thrown at your face is not exactly something you imagine a Hollywood-sorority girl would be willing to do. Aside from the fun of it, it is all for a good cause as proceeds from this event are donated to Anorexia and bulimia Quebec. People who attend are informed by the sisters about the cause.
Just to give you guys a little history, Delta Phi Epsilon was founded by five women from the New York University Law School on March 17, 1917. It is a sorority that started small, but grew substantially over the years, and by 1922 the first Canadian chapter was installed at McGill. Delta Phi Epsilon now holds a staggering 50,000 members with chapters stretching throughout the United States and Canada.
The morals and values they still hold true are to “promote good fellowship among the women students among the various colleges in the country…to create a secret society composed of these women based upon their good moral character, regardless of nationality or creed…to have distinct chapters at various colleges…” with the motto Esse Quam Videri: to be rather than to seem to be.
“Joining Delta Phi Epsilon has helped me become a more well-rounded woman. It gives me the opportunity to do a variety of charity work and meet new people,” said Amy Frost, president of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority at Concordia.
There is more. This sorority is not for slackers. In order to be part of Delta Phi and remain an active member of it, you must maintain a GPA of at least 2.25. The sorority cares about your academic success and if you start slacking off, they will no doubt point you back in the right direction.
Don’t get me wrong â€“ there are still parties and mixers that the sorority partakes in (and they are so much fun). However, contrary to popular belief, they have a strict no-hazing policy. Being an international sorority, they have a reputation to uphold and drunken girls are definitely not a part of it.
A prominent question that was constantly on my mind during the pledging process was how exactly do the sisters pick the girls. The answer is quite simple: the selection process is mutual. If you like them, and you show interest in being one of them, which means attending the event and helping out, they will like you too. Although that seemed quite genuine to me, I was still nervous about it. I kept wondering if they were ever going to pass judgement on me, but they never did. It turns out that you don’t have to be pretty, blond and skinny. They do not discriminate. There is no specific criteria to become a member and no limit to the amount of girls chosen.
Aside from having fun, there are many advantages of being part of a sorority. You are bound to make a solid group of friends that will always have your back. If you’re looking to get involved but you don’t want to be tied down to one cause, a sorority is a great way to do so.
“This sorority has been my family away from home and I have made friends for life,” Frost said.
Being in a sorority is also a fantastic way to expand your networking connections and they do come in handy. One day you might want some amazing internship position and chances are one of the older sisters can help you get it. One more upside of being part of a sorority like Delta Phi is that it could help you build leadership skills once you have a position within the sorority.
By giving the sorority a chance I gained an experience that will last a lifetime. While I have no desire in turning into a House Bunny anytime in the near future, I found a place where I belong. This is all to say that you should be open-minded and not stick to stereotypes; who knows, maybe you will end up liking it.
Notable alumnae of the Delta Phi Epsilon (sisters):
Stephanie Abrams (Delta Kappa) – meteorologist for The Weather Channel
Barbara Aronstein Black (Phi) – first woman to head an Ivy League law school
Barbara Boxer (Phi) – U.S. Senator, California
Susan Davis (Delta Zeta) – U.S. Representative, 53rd District, California
Jackie Goldberg (Delta Zeta) – California State Assembly, 45th District
Ofira Navon (Psi) – former First Lady of Israel
Judith Rodin (Nu) – first female president of an Ivy League university