With pledging now in session, I think it’s important to talk about some of the realities of Greek life here at Pacific. Movies often portray sororities as houses full of promiscuous, shallow women that are only interested in boys and gossip and fraternities as groups of egotistical men who party all the time and don’t care about academics.

As a member of the Theta Nu Alpha sorority, I know these standards put forth by Hollywood are not representative of Greek Life at Pacific.

I honestly thought that I was the LAST person who would ever join a sorority when I came to Pacific as a freshman last year. I had more than enough friends. Everything went well until March 2011, when both of my best friends suddenly moved away. I realized that without them I didn’t really have a lot of close friends.

One of the few close friends I had at Pacific told me that she was interested in joining a sorority and invited me to go with her to one of the pre-pledging lunches. At first, I was hesitant to go; what if people saw me hanging out with the Greeks and thought I was like one of those girls from “Sydney White?” After some convincing, I went to the lunch and met the girls in the sorority.

After getting to know the girls from what would be the sorority I would soon join, I decided to pledge and it stands as one of the best decisions I’ve made as a college student.

Being Greek isn’t about being better than anyone else. It’s not about partying or being a part of an exclusive group either. It’s not about getting to wear fancy sweatshirts with Greek letters to represent which chapter you’re a part of. People who believe Hollywood’s stereotypes about what it’s like to be a man or woman in a Greek chapter are missing out on an opportunity to be a part of a family.

Even though I had just joined the Greek system that spring, last semester I ran for an executive position on the Pacific University Greek Senate and was voted in. PUGS encourages members of the different chapters to collaborate and work together to improve the Greek system and give back to the Pacific community. We also foster collaboration with other organizations that aren’t Greek. For example, when we teamed up with the ACE Board for Graffiti Club Night on Oct. 1 to put on a dance to raise money for charity. There are many more similar collaborations throughout the year.

While a big part of being in a Greek chapter is serving the community, it’s not the only thing that’s important. One of the biggest things I gained when I joined a sorority was something personal; I gained a support system and a greater sense of belonging. I’ve not only made friends with the girls in my sorority, but now that I’m Greek, I’ve been meeting more and more students around campus all the time who are in other Greek chapters and other groups of people.

And it’s not like it’s just the people in your chapter who support you. For instance, last year at Pacific’s Relay for Life, my sisters (who were wearing these really sweet ‘Team Tiara’ shirts) joined me as I walked the survivor lap and as we passed by some of the other Greek chapters, they were cheering us on! It made me feel so welcome in Pacific’s community.

What I’m trying to say is you’re not in high school anymore. You don’t have to impress anyone by being a majority. If you take the time to look into something with an unbiased mind, you may find they aren’t always what they seem. Pacific is a very open-minded community, which is why we have such a large, successful variety of organizations. I’m not saying you need to go join a club or Greek chapter right now, but maybe it would be for your benefit to think about it.

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