As I’m sure you all know, this week is sorority pre-rush week at Yale. Actually, I bet only 7 percent of the people reading this article were aware of that little-known fact, and double or nothing says that no more than 32 percent of Yale Daily News readers even knew that Yale had sororities. Well, I’m here to dispel a few myths and tell you a thing or two about sororities that I think the Yale student body ought to know.
First of all, I’d like to point out that I was born and bred in Texas. Yes, I’m proud of that fact — like most Texans who find themselves attending school in the heart of New England — but I also am going to assume a degree of credibility that I know what you’re thinking when you hear the word “sorority.” Perhaps you envision spoiled Southern belles maliciously circling fat deposits on young freshman wannabes while attending frat parties wearing way too much makeup and not enough clothes. Or maybe you have a bit friendlier version in mind that involves a big house full of overly emotional girls working out too much and not eating enough while celebrating their love of pink and being way too nice to have a single genuine bone in their body. At any rate, it’s not a pretty picture, and one I certainly would not want to be painted into.
Now I’d be lying to your face if I denied that any such sororities existed, and in fact many of my nearest and dearest from back home are surely affiliated with the more prototypical variety. Nonetheless, somewhere between MTV’s “Sorority Life” and “Legally Blonde” lies a Greek life here at Yale that I am proud to belong to, and I’ve decided that it deserves a proper shout-out. But no worries, my friend, because while I could go on forever and a day about this topic, I’m going to save us both some precious time and give you the Cliffs Notes version of sororities at Yale:
Kappa Alpha Theta (a.k.a. Theta, and for the record, where I pledge my loyalties)
Kappa Kappa Gamma (a.k.a. Kappa)
Pi Beta Phi (a.k.a. Pi Phi)
Once upon a time, there was rush: three nights of parties where potential rushees visit all three sororities and chat it up with each other while eating good free food.
There’s a slight plot twist at the end of the third night when we undergo the matchmaking process (don’t roll your eyes and stop reading — just let me explain). Inevitably, the point of rush is to match up new girls with each sorority, which has the potential of getting ugly and in fact does at larger more Greek-oriented schools. Luckily, the three small sororities at Yale have such distinctive personalities that everyone pretty much ends up where they want to be anyway with smooth sailing.
SYNOPSIS OF CHAPTERS 1–12:
The plot thickens and it’s a damn good book that you don’t want to put down. You get to know people in your sorority through dinners, tailgates, crush parties, movie nights, parties, mixers, fund-raising events (Theta has an annual Halloween pumpkin sale that is quite enjoyable), formals, bonfires and booze cruises (actually we’ve never done either of the last two, but they were proposed ideas and I believe another sorority did organize a trip to a country honky-tonk bar complete with a mechanical bull, for which I would like to commend them).
Contrary to what some uninformed critics might have you believe, we are not about forcing sisterly love. It’s no fairy tale, and you’re not going to have immediate best friendships with everyone. But actually you would be surprised how refreshing it is to get to know new girls both older and younger hailing from all regions of the United States including our favorite U.S. territory, Puerto Rico. Furthermore, in true Yalie fashion, everyone is super-involved in a diverse array of activities, which means you go to plays starring actors you actually know and you watch sports games cheering for players you know. All in all, I think the point of college is to experience new things on your own and part of that is meeting new people and lots of them.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Personally, I never would have considered myself a “sorority girl,” and I think my sweet Yankee momma even experienced a slight heart palpitation when I told her I was going to join one. The thing is, you don’t have to be a party-girl or even a girly-girl to be in a sorority here at Yale. While we surely don our Sunday best for the occasional fiesta, we’re still just down-home Yalies at heart trying to make the most of this little thing we call college. Can I get an amen, sista?
Marianna Mancusi-Ungaro’s life is a romantic comedy, and she’s the star. She’s also a photography editor at the Yale Daily News.