Sorority Demand RisesAn article discussing the initial resentment and subsequent rise in popularity of sororities in the year after the University becomes co-ed.
Laurie Hackett, Vickie Stackig
Sorority Demand Rises
By Laurie Hackett and Viki Stackig
While the numbers of first-year men pledging fraternities at the University may be on the declining [sic] interest in sororities has steadily risen. The arrival of substantial numbers of undergraduate women within the last few years has spurred the formation of sororities.
Although sororities have existed at the University since 1942, they have only been "really active" for one year, according to Inter-Sorority Council (ISC) President Barbara Marks. She said, "We are more active now than weâ€™ve ever been" and expect tonsee two or three new sororities formed this year.
Traditionally, Virginia has not been very fertile ground for female Greeks, depending on whether they are part of a service sorority or womenâ€™s social fraternity. "Some students feel negatively toward sororities because they are not part of the â€œOld U,â€™ said Janet Steck, Pi Beta Phi vice president, one of the four womenâ€™s social fraternities.
"But," she added. "it is unrealistic to stick to that position because girls have been accepted as students, and the University needs to adapt itself to take care of all students, girls included."
According to Rhonda Simpson, president of Alpha Kappa Alpha service sorority, fighting against male-oriented traditions "doesn't even come into the picture" for the service sororities because they are exclusively for service.
Male student opinion on sororities varies. â€œI know very much about them,â€ said one first-year student. â€œI guess Iâ€™m middle-of-the road." Another male student commentedâ€ I don't think they theyâ€™re viewed too favorably around here." "What's a sorority?â€ said another.
Fourth-year Commerce student Tom Wylly said â€œSororities can have a place at the University especially in helping girls that get socially isolated after they move away from the dorms.â€
â€œSecond-year, when I moved off-Grounds, I saw only the people I lived with,â€ commented Delta Delta Delta member Nancy Schick. â€œI felt really isolated.â€ According to Schick, her sorority membership has changed that feeling. â€œNow Iâ€™m meeting lots of people that I share common interests with.â€
Delta Chi member Ellen Witscher reports a similar experience. â€œln my apartment everyone complained all the time that they never met anyone new. When you live in an apartment, people aren't going to come looking for you,â€ she said. According to Witscher, â€œThings are better now."
Marks said that since she joined a sorority, â€œsocial life has gotten better every year." "A sorority provides an outlet for women, especially upperclass, to meet new men and women, outsed of dates," said Leah McKell, president of Delta Delta Delta.
Two very different types of sororities exist at the University. Women's social fraternities invite women to play an active role in the University through sorority sponsored projects, but emphasize the social aspect. On the other hand, service sororities were formed exclusively to provide services beneficial to the Charlottesville communityand the University.
While the Social fraternities, Delta Chi, Delta Delta Delta, Pi Beta Phi and Zeta Tau Alpha, organize numerous service projects, they remain social in nature. They plan various types of parties, just as men's fraternities, and other similar social events.
The two sororities, Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta, are concerned only with service. "A service sorority is not a social organization with a service project; social functions are incidental," said Simpson.
According to Simpson, AKA will be concentrating their efforts on the Lane High School Teen Center, â€œalthough this is by no means our only project." DST will emphasize the â€œcreative and performing arts that project the black experience, particularly the role of black women in the forging of black history, survival, and advancement," said DST President Sheila Cobbs.
Sororities emphasize not only social and service functions but academics as well. "Before we ask a girl to pledge, we ask their major and their GPA," said Janet Steck.
Note and test files are kept up-to-date and tutoring is available in some of the sororities, according to Marks.
Sisters' GPAs may not fall below a minimum standard set by each sorority. Should a memberâ€™s grades drop below the standard, she would receive academic counseling or face probation. Several sororities offer awards for academic achievement, and several have educational enrichment programs with speakers.
Almost 200 women are active members of sororities. Individual sorority membership ranges from nine to almost forty sisters. Only one sorority has a house, Zeta Tau Alpha, but others have regular meeting places, such as DDD who has rented an apartment.
Social sorority national dues and social fees run between $125 and $175 a year. Statistics on service sororities dues were unavailable. Male fraternity dues for the nine month school session range from $180 to $200 according to the Inter-Fraternity Council Booklet â€œVirginia Fraternities 1976.â€
|Tags||Greek life, student publications|
|Date Added||July 27, 2015|
|Date Modifed||December 25, 2017|
|Collection||Cavalier Daily: articles about gender discrimination|
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