Q: Perhaps this isn’t directly a Greek question but you seem like the right person to ask. How do you stay positive and optimistic? And above all motivated? Esp, when times are tougher. Xxx :-)
A: EVERYONE and every chapter goes through rough times. You can either totally give into the dark feelings and disappointments, or try your best to make lemonade out of the lemons. I have had my share of set backs and upsets like most people, but by looking on the bright side, I find it’s the best way through the problem periods. What alternative is there? Succumbing to defeat? Giving up and staying in bed? Not an option! Hopefully some of my basic life tenants will help motivate you…….
♡ top 10 sorority sugar positive principles: ♡
- This too shall pass. Whatever is going wrong right now will eventually end and you will move on to better things. Time heals all wounds. And there is a brighter day ahead.
- Take action. Feeling like an out of control victim is the worst spot to be in. Take control in one area, set some goals and make positive steps to reach them. GOALS spur motivation.
- You can’t appreciate the light if you’ve never experienced the dark. The highs are even sweeter when you know what it’s like to be on the low side. Appreciation is born out of the contrast between the ups and downs.
- Count your blessings. It could always be worse. You could be injured in a car crash, a loved one could die, your chapter could be closed. Whatever is happening is not as bad as it could be. Appreciate what ‘positives’ there are and focus on them instead of just the negatives.
- Patience and flexibility are your friends. If you can give other people the benefit of the doubt, be more tolerant, more accepting, more forgiving and less judgmental ~ many of your people problems will go away. Being more ‘easy going’ is key to maintaining your optimism. Don’t be a doormat, but not a grudge holding, stubborn, nitpicker either.
- Simple kindness is key. Living by the golden rule really does work! Treat others as you would like to be treated. It’s very simple and if everyone did it, the world would be a happier place. Don’t hurt other people, period. You will avoid nasty karma coming back at you, you will be well liked and feel happier.
- Be generous of spirit. I find when I am down, or someone has hurt my feelings, if I quickly do something nice for someone else and it erases the negative feelings. I send a cheerful email, I phone a friend, I buy a little treat for a family member ~ anything positive that off-sets the negative vibes. Instead of brooding about the hurt, turn your energy to a happy experience and it diffuses the inner turmoil.
- Surround yourself with beauty. You are who you hang out with. You are what your living space looks like. You are what you wear, how you appear and how you speak. If your friends are mean girls, your dorm room filled with trash and you cuss like a sailor ~ your have surrounded yourself with negativity. Let peace, harmony, love and respect fill your world and you will be a more cheerful person inside and out.
- Don’t be afraid of change. Healthy change is refreshing. That doesn’t mean you hop from friend to friend, or drop out of your sorority at the first sign of trouble. Commitment and loyalty are also part of a positive life. But avoid getting stuck in a harmful rut. Changing for the better (after careful consideration) is one way to solve problems and renew your outlook.
- Believe in something bigger than yourself. Well adjusted people have a firm faith in something more important than their day to day drama. You will be better equipped to handle life’s inevitable pains if you live for something greater. Find your purpose and live your faith! Spirituality is the most important way to keeping your moral up through thick and thin. Especially the thin.
♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡
"The place where light and dark begin to touch is where miracles arise." ~ Robert A. Johnson
"All things are possible until they are proved impossible — even the impossible may only be so, as of now." ~ Pearl S. Buck
"How long should you try? Until." ~ Jim Rohn
Q: My charter just got revoked. I was on alum status when I found out the news. Now I’m wondering where do I go from here. Do I stop wearing the letters? When people ask what chapter I’m in can I still say it? And especially because I’m still attending campus and would like to wear my letters. Idk, I feel like people would gossip about it or something.
A: Oh no! I am super sorry to hear this bad news. I know you are in a difficult situation. I am assuming your national organization is still functioning and it’s only your particular chapter that was revoked. Under that assumption, you are still a member of your national organization I believe, even if your chapter has left campus. If you are a member for life, then you can still wear your greek letters. And if you are asked about your organization, you can respond with your greek name, not your chapter designation name. Or, you can say you were in the former XY chapter of ABC. I would probably leave the chapter name out of it and just identify yourself as an ABC greek.
Now the issue comes down to wearing your letters on campus or not. I think you may need to ‘test the waters’ and see what happens. If it stirs controversy, or people ask too many questions, then you should let things cool off before wearing your greek sweatshirt to class. Time heals all wounds and pretty soon the gossip will die down. It might be wise to let some time go by before donning your greek apparel. Let memories fade a bit. But know that sooner or later, it will be Ok to wear your letters again.
Patience and healing is what you need right now. Always keep your pride and fraternal loyalty in your heart and head ~ even when you are not outwardly displaying your affiliation. If you act with honor and respect, that means much more than wearing a tee shirt! Even though your chapter had some unfortunate troubles, YOU can still be a shining example of what it means to be greek and act accordingly. They can close your chapter, but they can’t take the good things you’ve learned away from you. Cherish the best parts from your membership and move forward with the most positive attitude possible. xoxo ;)
"The greatest power is often simple patience." ~ E. Joseph Cossman
"Integrity is not a 90 percent thing, not a 95 percent thing; either you have it or you don’t." ~ Peter Scotese
It takes hard work and lots of daily dedication! Here are some of my top tips for bogging success on tumblr ~
- Reblog as much as you can and network with the other bloggers in your “category.”
- Pick a specialty category that you love, such as preppy, fashion, girly, desserts, or whatever is your interest. Be the best in your niche.
- If you just have a personal blog with no “viewpoint” it will be harder to boost your popularity. It’s good to have a certain identifiable personality or passion online. “Focus” leads to more recognition.
- Post every day, but not so many photos that it becomes annoying. Find the right balance.
- Don’t post 1,000 pictures in a row. Post some, take a break and post some more later. That way you are not hogging the dashboard all at one time.
- Credit the photos found outside of tumblr and link to them via the source line.
- Promote our tumblr blog through your other social media. Post announcements which bring more people to your tumblr page.
- Follow as many other bloggers as possible. If they see you following, and you have great content, they will follow back.
- Look for unique images outside of tumblr and bring them to your audience. Reblogging is good, but if you want to grow, you need ‘original’ content from other sources.
- Superior images = popularity. If you can find the photos your followers adore, your blog will grow. It’s similar to a restaurant needing to serve really good food. If you provide the tastiest posts, your name recognition will skyrocket.
- Avoid politics, religion and other controversial topics if you want a neutral, friendly blog.
- Don’t get bogged down in nasty anonymous posts and online arguments. It gets tiresome and unpleasant for other followers.
- Always keep your blog new and interesting with something different every day. Constantly freshen your background, add new pages, create new features that you enjoy.
- Host some kind of contest now and then to draw more followers in.
- Invite your followers to submit comments and photos. Engage them in the process of your blog and they will be more committed.
- Obey the rules of tumblr, be polite, be generous and promote other blogs, share information and be an active part of your niche category. You will gain the reputation of being a decent blogger and be well-respected online.
Q: Could you explain what exactly it means to be in a sorority or what sororities do? ~ devinelaine
A: The Sorority experience means so many different things! I’ll try to list my top picks for what being in a sorority is all about!
♡ Sorority Membership Means: ♡
- Having sisters who watch your back and stand by you through thick and thin.
- Joining an organization with decades of history, traditions and meaningful rituals.
- Pledging to be a part of something larger than yourself.
- Learning to be less self-centered, put other other sister’s feelings first and grow more giving through the years.
- Volunteering and fundraising for a worthy philanthropy. Changing the world in your own small way.
- Stepping up to leadership and making a difference within your chapter and campus wide.
- Having the best social life ever within the greek community.
- Bonding, uniting, trusting and sharing with a unique sisterhood of close friends.
- Vowing loyalty to the creed of your lifelong chapter.
- Achieving the highest standards in academics with support from your chapter.
- Uniting with the Panhellenic and partnering with members from all different chapters.
- Developing patience, tolerance, adaptability, reliability, kindness and generosity.
- Becoming the ultimate team player.
- Making promises, taking vows of secrecy and learning to respect the confidential rituals of your chapter.
- Participating in lots of meetings, projects, events, trips, games and chapter operations.
- Living together in the sorority house ~ the ultimate sisterhood experience.
- Singing, chanting, clapping , recruiting, hugging, screaming, decorating, talking, crafting, networking, competing, winning.
- Growing your chapter size, spreading your mission statement, promoting your organization on campus.
- Working towards group goals and reaching them.
- Respecting everything your organization stands for.
- Wearing costumes, attending fraternity parties, dressing for formals, playing pranks, listening to serenades, holding candlelights and proudly displaying your greek letters everywhere.
- Living the principles deeply imbedded in the fiber of your sorority.
- Having a lifelong group of sisters who provide personal connections long after college graduation.
- Connecting with older members through your alumnae and advisor programs.
- Being super busy, very active and always on the go. Lots of responsibilities and requirements in greek life.
- Wearing pretty fashions, dressing up, looking your best and being well groomed from head to toe.
- Supporting your organization through paying dues, purchasing chapter apparel, donating to fundraisers and more.
- Displaying your sorority badge with pride and valuing what it stands for.
- Sacrificing for the good of the chapter, putting in extra hours, cleaning up after a big event, painting banners and lawn letters, staying up all night crafting, going the extra mile for your sorority when needed most.
- Feeling a strong bond with the past, the present and the future of your sisterhood.
♡ This list just begins to cover all the meaningful aspects of going greek! It’s a one of a kind experience. In the end, it’s best to RUSH and discover the fun & excitement for yourself! ♡
I'm in a special program at my school so that I have to do 2 years of undergrad then I'm going to graduate school. I chose not to rush my freshmen year because I was worried I wouldn't have a lot of time but I want to rush my sophomore year. do you think that me only being here for another year would hinder my chances?
To be honest, being an “older” PNM and who will only be on campus for 1 more year, will probably have a negative effect on your chances. Chapters are looking for longterm commitment during the college years. That’s why many chapters prefer to pledge freshman. You might take a spot that a 4 year student could really use. So I’m certain some sororities will shy away from offering you a bid.
That said, sometimes international students pledge sororities and they are only in the country for 1 year. Also, seniors join chapters with only 1 year left on campus. So you never know how things will come together in recruitment! If you were doing your graduate work at the same school, that would be helpful ~ but anything is possible in greek life. You never know until you try.
Enter into rush with a totally open mind and realistic expectations. You can give it your “all” because you have nothing to loose. You are leaving the next year anyway, so it’s make or break time. Give it 100% and see what happens. And since you are on an accelerated academic program, make sure you have enough time for greek life your second year. If you were afraid of the commitment freshman year, your work load will most likely be increasing. Sorority membership requires a lot of time and attendance at mandatory events. Fingers crossed you can make a match and balance everything out! xoxo ;)
Hi! I am a pledge at one of the 26 major sororities at my university and I know this girl in my pledging class. She is the sweetest girl I know and she can't afford a pin. I recently got a some money back from my Costco and American Express cards and I have enough to buy two pins. My parents pay for college and everything. But my sorority won't let me buy her a pin. I asked and they refused Should I do it anyway? She deserves a pin, But I could be kicked out. Should I take the risk anyway?
That is very sweet of you to want to help your pledge class sister. I worry about her finances though, if she can’t afford the most “basic” no-frills pin, then how will she pay for all the other sorority expenses? Dues cost much more and are reoccurring over 4 years. I think your friend really needs to evaluate her future with the chapter and work out a budget ASAP.
As for your generous offer to purchase a badge, you could have avoided all this trouble by just gifting the money to your fellow pledge privately and then she buys her own pin. If you had quietly given her the cash, no one would have known and there would have been no conflict. But you cannot directly buy her the pin, period. You should not get in trouble with your sorority and begin your new membership on a sour note. The badge is ultimately each girl’s responsibility. DO NOT jeopardize your own membership over this issue! Please don’t martyr yourself because another girl doesn’t have the resources for a pin. She could babysit, sell something on eBay, sell some clothes to a re-sale shop, borrow the money from family, or do something else to raise the funds needed.
Since the ‘cat’s out of the bag’ about your intentions, if you now secretly give her the money, the chapter may be suspicious and you will have to trust that she never says anything about it. That is risky, since most secrets have a way of getting out. And it breaks the honor code that I am sure your chapter adheres to. At this point a private transaction is not possible, since you would have to deceive your sisterhood to make it happen. Better that you help your friend brainstorm ways to make some money for her future success in the sorority. The badge is just one of many obstacles for her. Look into every opportunity on campus and see if there isn’t some part time work that your sister can fit into her schedule. Her longterm future in greek life is what’s most important here. xoxo ;)
Q: I adore your blog and cannot wait to rush this upcoming fall! Rush is huge at my Southern school, and there are 11 Panhellenic sororities. Here’s my question: I am a little bit bigger than your average sorority girl I wear between a size 6/8 in dresses. I can wear small tops, but my thighs are a little bit bigger. I’m rather short at about 5’1 Some of my friends have told me that I won’t be able to get into the house I want to, Tri Delt, looking like this. Is this true? I am happy with the way I look, and really hope this doesn’t effect my sorority prospects. Thank you so much for your time!
A: Please put the size of your thighs out of your mind! And don’t listen to negative talk from so called friends. Just like my advice to another PNM earlier today, you must tune-out the unpleasant comments from friends who will only undermine your self confidence. Recruitment is all about being self-assured and outgoing. There are girls of all shapes, sizes and heights in every chapter. Sisters are looking for fun, lifelong friends, not skinny legs. And they don’t check the size labels in PNM dresses!
Your mission is to be happy, relaxed and positive in order to make a sorority match. If you are doubtful or upset about how you look ~ you will give off a nervous vibe that will hinder you during recruitment. Be proud of who you are and give rush your BEST effort. That’s all any PNM can do.
One other tip ~ please don’t limit yourself to wanting only one house, in your case, Tri Delta. You can’t possibly know how you will feel once you meet all 11 chapters. Your preferences are SURE to change once rush starts. You can really get thrown off your game, if you have tunnel vision for your #1 choice, and then everything turns upside down after a few rounds. Please be totally open minded going into such a intense situation. Anything can happen and it usually doesn’t turn out as you expect. xoxo ;)
Elections are coming up for my chapter in a week. I'm running for president and was wondering if you had any advice? One of my biggest goals is to see my chapter become more visible to the Greek community, do you have any advice on that as well?
YES I have several posts on running for office, giving speeches and other tips for leadership! Please visit my Frequently Asked Questions page and scroll down to the “Chapter Life” section. There you will find the links to all the posts on this topic. I hope the advice will be helpful.
On making your chapter more visible, I always advise doing what the “strongest” chapters do. Paint large lawn letters, fly your chapter flag, wear your greek letters every Wednesday, create amazing table displays, participate in every greek event, socialize with other chapters, launch a new campus-wide fundraiser, become more involved in the panhellenic council, step up your PR, hang banners and signs, go all out for formal recruitment, encourage your members to be involved in other clubs on campus where they can serve as ‘ambassadors’ for your chapter, set-up your social media, win greek academic awards, compete on greek sports teams, etc!!
It’s ok to pattern your sorority after the ones who are hitting it out of the park when it comes to visibility and activites on campus. Your “image” needs to be bold and bright. If you put forth a consistent message through all of your visuals, from tee shirts to Facebook, your brand will start to be consistently established on campus. Use your chapter colors, letters, symbols and mascot to your advantage in every area. xoxo ;)
A: A mix of mandatory requirements and a generous reward and acknowledgment system usually works best. To encourage achievement there has to be some basic requirements, tempered with some sweet sugar and public praise. These are some ideas for your to consider:
✎ Required new member academic programs:
- Establish once a week, 2 hour mandatory ‘study tables’ which new members must attend if their GPA is in a certain range. The higher achieving students don’t need to participate in the required sessions, but everyone’s grades should be monitored.
- Start a peer tutoring program within your chapter, where older sisters who are proficient in difficult subjects advise the new members. This mentoring could be offered when needed, or via an ongoing tutoring program.
- Hold a seminar on good study habits with required attendance by your new members. Hire a professional to lead the session, or organize it as a chapter if someone in your group is knowledgeable enough to lead the class.
- Career center workshops are also a great idea. Coordinate with your campus career office for additional ways to improve achievement in your sisterhood. Require new members to attend several workshops during the year.
- Have one-on-one meetings with sisters who are struggling. The personal approach is much more effective than reprimanding a new member at a chapter meeting. Counseling sisters who are not reaching the academic requirements can be very helpful in membership retention.
- More good ideas: Establish and enforce ‘quiet hours’ for studying. • Set aside a new member study room. • Schedule socials around important academic events. • Dedicate one new member meeting to scholarship. • Assign a pledge ‘study buddy’ to each new member. • Enlist big sisters to encourage their littles to study. • Offer class and professor evaluations, along with test files. • Start a new member academic announcements & info bulletin board. • Limit social activites for low GPAs. • Send letters to parents if there is an ongoing academic problem. • Ask an alum to be an academic advisor. • Use resources from your national HQ. • Set individual and pledge class goals.
✎ Rewards for new member academic achievement:
- Participate in the Greek community academic awards system. Winning awards each year is a motivation for the entire sisterhood.
- Appoint a special new member academic chair to serve as motivator and role model for the pledge class. She can be the liaison between the new members and the e-board. This position should be a honor given to an new member with a high GPA.
- Give rewards and preferences to high achievers. Gift certificates, event tickets, special privileges, preferred parking, greek goodies ~ whatever your new members will respond too. Lots of treats for those who do their work!
- Host several class competitions during the semester. A grand prize for whoever gets the highest test score, or whoever raises their grades the most.
- VIP club for the top academics. Host a special breakfast, lunch or dinner club especially for the new members with the best GPAs. Pamper them with all of their favorite foods and drink.
- Challenge another sorority pledge class to an academic challenge for the semester. The best grades wins an amazing prize party that everyone loves, or mani-pedis for the class.
- Award your scholars. Honor a new member scholar of the week, scholar of the month, scholar of the semester and host an awards banquet at the end of each semester. Give lots of trophies or gifts.
- Decorations for achievement. When new members do a great job, decorate their dorm doors, hang door knob signs, leave balloons and candy in their rooms and leave pat on the back notes.
- Post study tips, vocab word of the week and inspirational/motivational quotes where new members will see them. Use the sorority social media to motivate your sisters.
- Hold once a month ‘library nights’ which end in favorite yummy desserts for everyone.
- Sponsor a new member Quiz Bowl or Trivia Game night. Make it fun and exciting, with a grand prize such as a special serenade, a favorite fraternity or sports team member dinner. Anything exclusive or very desirable will work.
- Book an inspirational speaker. Maybe you have an alumnae with a rags to riches story, or someone on campus who overcame great difficulties to achieve. Motivate your pledges with a speech from someone who will inspire and elevate them.
- Make a splash! Whenever you recognize sisters for doing well academically, make it public to the chapter, supersize it when making certificates, publish photos on your bulletin board, submit winners to your chapter publications, etc. Make a fuss and it will motivate others to seek the spotlight too. Positive reinforcement is catching!
✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎
Q: So myself & 2 other sisters are in charge of bid day. I was wondering if you have a plan/document/template to follow of all the things that need to be done, or that are needed? Any advice on how to make a list would be amazing! Thank you!
A: I am very happy to make a TO DO list for bid day planning! If I missed something, followers are welcome to add to this list via the “notes.”
☆ preparing for bid day checklist: ☆
- Pick a fabulous theme!
- Order bid cards & envelopes for each new member. These are filled out when your final new member list is confirmed.
- Order bid day tee shirts/tank tops for actives and pledges.
- Make notifiers/name signs for each new member.
- Make name tags for all the active sisters and the new pledges.
- Craft flower headbands, or other “accessory” that brings your theme to life.
- Make several hand-held ‘photo frames’ for pictures.
- Create ‘door decor’ for each new member’s dorm doors if needed.
- Paint posters to welcome your Rho Gammas back.
- Order fanny packs if your chapter uses them on bid day.
- Spruce up your lawn letters for display.
- Craft hand-held sized greek letters for photos.
- Order helium balloons, streamers and other decorations.
- Coordinate how everyone is going to get from the bid announcement site back to your sorority house. Book transportation if needed.
- Plan a big social for after the bid announcement!
- Plan a buffet of food & drinks for the party. Order catering or determine who will cook the food. Have plenty of water and soft drinks on hand.
- Consider offering a candy bar for dessert. Cupcakes or a themed cake are also wonderful.
- Order tables and folding chair rentals if needed. This includes basic linens as well (paper or cloth tablecloths). Decorating folding chairs with fabric bows looks cute too.
- Order all of your paper & plastic goods such as plates, cups, utensils and napkins.
- Plan props for your party area, such potted palm trees, or large Tiffany boxes that match your theme.
- Determine the trash capacity for your party. Make several XL ‘lined’ trash cans available though out the event space.
- Order new member tote bags and small bid day gifties to place inside. Typical gifts include: decals, cap, key fob, stickers, magnet, tumbler, koozie, etc.
- If your sorority has a tradition of a cap, lei, feather boa, single sorority flower, or other special item to present on bid day ~ order those.
- Order flowers and decor for your celebration room, a centerpiece for the buffet table and plan centerpieces for additional tables.
- Paint signs & posters for the bid announcement and your party room.
- Paint a backdrop banner for your photo booth.
- Set up a photo booth with fun props.
- Purchase props for your party such as inflatable animals or sorority symbols.
- Order a balloon arch for the front of your sorority house.
- Paint a large bid day banner to hang on the front of your house.
- Arrange for a photographer for group photos and photo booth shots.
- Plan any interior table displays for your sorority house on bid day.
- Invite alumnae and other special guests if it’s your chapter tradition.
- Arrange for music, a serenade, or entertainment for your party.
- If your chapter does an activity like bid night roller skating, book the venue.
- If your mascot makes an appearance on bid day, confirm who is going to wear the costume. Make sure that the costume is in good shape, or make repairs.
- If the chapter President, Rush Chair and New Member Chair give speeches, plan and time their presentations.
- Coordinate the ‘look’ for all the actives. Everyone wears matching shorts or white pants for example.
- Plan lighting if your party is held at night outside. Candles, portable lights, twinkle lights and walkway lights might all be necessary. Keep safety in mind.
- Rent several portable heaters if it’s going to be cold outside.
- Determine if you need a sound system and microphone for speeches and announcements.
- Schedule a deep cleaning of the sorority house right before bid day. Stock up on lots of extra toilet paper, kleenex and feminine supplies. Place some fresh flowers and air freshener in all of the rest room facilities. Make sure plenty of paper towels are available for hand washing.
- Make a TIMELINE in 30 minute increments to keep yourself on schedule and keep the pace of the event on track.
- Double check that there is a stocked first aid kit handy for emergencies.
- Assign duties for everything that needs to be done, from carrying your lawn letters to the sports field ~ to who sets up the food on the buffet table.
- Instruct the chapter to welcome all of the new members on facebook immediately following bid day. Encourage the members to promote bid day on their social media and share photos. Time to brag.
- Communicate with your chapter about what to wear, when to arrive, who should help set up & clean up and all the details of pulling off a spectacular bid day. Schedule everything in your timeline. Have sisters assist in every area of your bid day extravaganza. Delegate!
Q: As an Early Childhood Ed major, my last semester will be spent doing Student Teaching. In order to save money, my parents are making me do it from home and won’t let me travel the two hours each way from home twice a week just for chapter and study tables. Is there any way that I can become an “alum” early by a semester? I am only a freshman and I don’t wanna be in a sorority just to have to quit for my last semester of school. Would it be better to quit now?
A: If you are only a freshman and trying to plan for your last semester as a Senior, there is NO WAY you can predict where you will be so far down the road! Please don’t drop your sorority over the possibility of problems that may never develop. In the next four years these things could happen and much more:
- You could change your major completely.
- Your parents could move to a totally new city.
- You could transfer universities.
- You could get married and leave college.
- Your entire family structure could change.
Just to name a few life altering events that could take place and completely mix up your current plans. Cross the Student Teaching bridge when you get to it. Maintain your sorority membership and enjoy every minute. If you need an adjustment in membership status in the future, I’m sure your chapter will work with you. One semester will not ruin your entire collegiate record. It’s wise to plan, but don’f forfeit happiness today for an unlikely conflict that should be resolved easily when the time comes. xoxo ;)
"Don’t worry about the past and don’t try to solve the future." ~ Garrison Keillor
Q: In the last year or so, my chapter has gotten very touchy & self-righteous. Sisters are lecturing each other incessantly at chapter and elsewhere, and it’s really hurting overall morale. Exec is really causing a lot of this self-righteousness, and we need a morale boost, but I don’t know who to bring this issue up with, because of the irony of complaining about self-righteousness.
A: Self righteousness often creeps into an organization with lots of rules, like a sorority or a church. Some members start to think they are better and more rule abiding than the others. They may honestly feel that they do more for the chapter and therefore care more than anyone else. That leads to lecturing other sisters with a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude. Not very pleasant for the members who are made to feel unworthy.
It seems like power has gone to the heads of your e-board, and others, to the point where they think they are more virtuous that the rest. As you noticed, this superior attitude will dampen everyone’s spirits. It is wrong to make others feel ‘less than’ and to elevate one’s self to being more angelic. It’s not wrong to bring up this bad trait and try to stop it. You are not being self righteous yourself, if you point out this negative situation and seek a solution.
If you and a hand full of concerned sisters can address the e-board with some advisors and/or alums present I think that would be best. Approach the situation in the most professional way possible. With a caring attitude and a loving heart, you can bring forth your concerns. Give general examples of how the sisterhood is made to feel inadequate and depressed when they are lectured to “from on high.” Remind your chapter leadership that not everyone has the same sorority goals and commitment levels, most sisters are trying their best, how emphasizing the positive will get better results, etc… Present your list of exactly what you see going wrong and what can be changed to mend it.
Maybe your chapter needs a positive Points System to keep track of member’s behavior ~ instead of annoying nagging by sisters. If you have a system in place for regulating attendance/participation, it takes the judgement away from fellow sisters. You need to take the personal and emotional element out of it. Replace the feelings with a non-emotional, practical plan. These are the points that probably need to be worked on in your chapter ~
- Balancing the work load so some sisters don’t feel like martyrs who do it all. Which leads them to being self righteous and looking down on others. Maybe you need more chairs and e-board positions to help shoulder the load,
- More recognition of the sisters who contribute a lot. If the ‘doers’ are patted on the back more, they will calm down a little. Plan more things like sister of the week, sister of the month, academic awards, volunteer awards, spirit awards ~ you name it!
- Emphasizing the positive more than the negative. There are always two ways to approach an issue. See if your chapter can use the carrot more than the stick. Beating people up doesn’t work. Encouraging and enticing them to action does work.
- Organize an impartial Points System that takes the personal judgment calls out of the equation. Standards issues should only be discussed in private, not at every chapter meeting. And attendance problems should be purely by the numbers on the Points Plan.
- Acknowledge your ‘general’ membership more often with treats, awards and surprises to elevate their moral and get them more involved. With better behavior, the lectures will be reduced. Entice everyone to attend meetings and events with happy themes, fun surprises and good times for all. The joy has slipped out of your chapter and it must be brought back.
I hope you can bring these things up to your sorority and your sisters will agree that a change needs to take place. A new light needs to shine in your sorority house again. Your sisters hearts should be filled with expectation and happiness, not dread and fear. xoxo ;)
"Get around the right people. Associate with positive, goal-oriented people who encourage and inspire you." ~ Brian Tracey
"Shout praise, whisper blame. Sow encouragement, reap enthusiasm." ~ Michael Rawls
Q: I recently became the New Membership chair in my sorority. In the past, we’ve had trouble with members taking littles and not making enough effort to get to know them, being pressured by family members to take a little before they were ready, not having enough littles for potential bigs, etc. Some people have even told their littles that they weren’t their first choice. I know some chapters have sisters apply to be bigs. How would this work? What questions should I ask potential big sisters?
A: It’s an excellent idea to make sure that bigs are ready and able to take a little before they commit. You see what happens when the process is taken lightly or misused. Sister’s feelings are at stake. What you need to determine is if a potential big is mentally ready to enter into an important big/little relationship. Just like “going steady”, a person must be prepared to take on the responsibilities of a committed partnership.
You and a small committee could screen the big sister candidates, or have them fill out a questionnaire. I think a brief face to face interview would be best. You can then get a feeling for how sincere they are about becoming a big. Are they genuine? Will they treat the process with respect?
These are some potential questions you could use to screen the big candidates. Select the questions that you think are most appropriate. At the very least, it will get the girls thinking about the relationships they are entering into!
Potential BIG interview questions:
- Why do you want to be a big sister?
- Describe your ideal big/little relationship.
- What makes you a stand-out potential big sister?
- How would you mentor your little?
- Do you have the TIME available to attend big/little events, participate in clue week, reveal and spend one-on-one time with your little?
- What characteristics do you look for in a little?
- Do you feel comfortable with the financial obligations of being a big?
- Are you interested in the ‘extras’ of being a big, like crafting, decorating and gift giving?
- Will you promise to keep the big/little selection process confidential?
- Describe your family line. How is your relationship with your own big and gbig?
- How enthusiastic is your family line about reveal, family costumes, crafts and the whole big/little experience?
- Do you see yourself as a role model for your little?
- Have you gotten to know several new members well enough to select a compatible little?
- What can you offer a little beyond crafts and gifts?
- Do you think our sorority big/little program is important? Why?
- How would you counsel a little if she was having doubts about her membership?
- Describe your true feelings for our entire sorority.
- If your little was having personal problems, how would you handle it?
- What would your ‘dream’ day/night be with your little? What would you do together?
- Do you think opposites attract, or is having things in common more important?
- Do you have the longterm energy and patience to guide a little through several years of college?
- Can you honestly say you are ready to take on the important responsibility of being a big sister?
We recently did COB in our chapter and recruited 10 new girls. I applied to become a Big and I'm super excited to potentially get a little, but I have had the worst experience with my big sister. Our relationship came to an extremely messy end, and I'm worried if I become a big while she's still around it would be awkward with our Fam and for my little.. How can I make sure she has a positive experience with me as her big and within the chapter while my old big is still around?
Your messy family situation is very similar to a real family where there has been a divorce. Or there’s one difficult member who causes anxiety for everyone else. What can you do, except work around the problem? Until your Big graduates, you will need to be pleasant, tip-toe around delicate issues and plan things in a way that your new little is not affected by family tension. If you basically have no contact with your big, it shouldn’t be too hard to detour around any hot spots.
Often times family situations are very awkward, uncomfortable and stressful. To avoid additional pain, you will need to plan ahead more than other bigs, take extra steps to spoil your new little and do your best to make up for any deficiencies in your family. With lots of love and friendship, your little won’t miss having a GBig around. You can doubly pamper your little and she will feel super special.
On the other hand, if your Big wants to participate on some level, let her. Maybe a new little in the family will ease the tension between you. Just accept whatever she has to give. I doubt that she will get overly involved, but if she extends an olive branch, pleasantly accept it (with caution of course.) You never know, this event may be an opportunity to bring peace to your troubled relationship. Family growth can be healing and soften hearts. At least a polite truce is possible. Remain optimistic and realistic at the same time, while you focus on making things glorious for your new little! xoxo ;)
Recently the behavior of one of my pledge sisters has started to worry both myself and other girls in my PC. She's been acting in a way that is ultimately self-destructive to both her reputation on our (very small) campus, our chapter's reputation, and her health. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for approaching her in a way that is constructive and loving, not judgmental? I love my sister and I just wan't what's best for her, and I don't want this to ruin our friendship.
If you stage some sort of intervention, no matter how good intentioned, be prepared for some strain on your relationship. You can’t approach someone about their destructive behavior and worry about being judgmental at the same time. True and honest friends are caring and concerned in a positive way when it comes to their closest sisters. But often times the one acting out does not appreciate the constructive criticism. Your sister will probably get very defensive, no matter how loving your heart to heart talk is. But that’s the cost for doing the right thing! It’s worse to just stand by and do nothing.
Gather some of your pledge sister’s closed friends together and have a private, relaxed, happy get-together ~ that would set a non-threatening atmosphere for your discussion. You can start by saying you are worried about her and ask if anything is going on. Does she want to talk about it? Being curious and offering support is better than lecturing your sister on all the terrible things she’s doing. Please no ganging up on her, or wagging your fingers so to speak. Maybe with casual chatting, you can get to the bottom of what’s troubling her. Many new members just go “wild” in their first year and loose their self control. Hopefully you will be able to offer her a way back down to earth. She sounds like a girl who is lost.
If In the end the “soft” approach doesn’t work, then enforcing your chapter’s standards is up to your executive board. One rogue sister can’t be allowed to ruin your sorority’s reputation on a small campus. That’s why each chapter has a set of standards which must be respected. First, try the kinder gentler method of reaching out. If that fails, then a more firm hand may be needed. I hope your sister has a wake up call and everything can get back to normal soon. xoxo ;)