Fraternities offer social options without stereotypes
At least once a week, I wear one particular black sweater to class. It’s one of my favourite pieces of clothing, and not because it’s comfortable or because it looks good (though both are true). I love it because of what’s written on it: AΓΔ. It stands for Alpha Gamma Delta, an international women’s fraternity that I belong to.
Most people are shocked to learn there are Greek organizations on campus at all. ‘I didn’t know there were fraternities and sororities at Dal’ is the most common thing I hear when I wear that sweater. But Alpha Gamma Delta has been at Dalhousie since 1932. There are three sororities on campus (Omega Pi, Iota Beta Chi, and Pi Gamma Delta) and three fraternities (Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Chi, and Phi Kappa Pi).
If people are aware sororities exist at Dal, they tend to assume they’re just like the stereotypical frats you see on TV shows or movies, and I had a lot of the same negative images of sororities and fraternities before I joined up.
Alpha Gamma Delta has an anti-hazing, zero-tolerance policy, though, so there’s no fear of being forced awake in the middle of the night to pull some stupid stunt, or of being made into a laundry slave. Most of the Greeks have similar policies in place.
Most Greek organizations also have policies on alcohol. The majority of official Alpha Gamma Delta events are alcohol-free, and far from being a constant “frat party,” the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house is completely alcohol-free. The policies on alcohol and hazing differ between organizations, so if you’re interested in joining, make sure you check those out beforehand.
Alpha Gamma Delta has done more for me than any other university experience. They provide various leadership positions that one can put on their resume. They also offer Zumba fitness, self-defense, and pole dancing – all in private classes. All of those activities were things I’d always wanted to try but never had the nerve to. In a class with only my sisters I felt supported enough to give them a go. I’ve also participated in Run for the Cure, Relay for Life, soup kitchens, and fundraisers.
Each organization stands for different values. Along with sisterhood and philanthropy, Alpha Gamma Delta stands for scholarship. Their study programs help sisters to achieve their scholastic goals, and they offer the “Strive for Pi” award to sisters who achieve a GPA of 3.14 or higher.
I guess I just wish that more people knew how wrong those stereotypes are. I wish they knew about all the amazing opportunities and connections offered to them through Greek organizations. I wish more people knew what the letters on my favourite sweater stand for.