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✎ sorority Q&A: new member academic motivation… ✎

Q: I am on the New Member Committee in my chapter. We are having a really hard time getting New Members grades up and it’s my job to find a way to get those grades up for the fall 2014 pc. Can you tell me some ideas that could help push them in the right direction? I’m open to ANY kind of advice. I am just really stuck on this. 

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!

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☆ BID DAY preparation checklist… ☆

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! 




sorority Q&A: planning for 4 years in the future…

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

sorority Q&A: dealing with chapter self righteousness…

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

potential big sister interview questions!

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?

Asked by

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.

Asked by

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 ;)

sorority Q&A: making chapter changes…

Q: My sorority is going through a lot right now, we have never been very close and there are cliques. We have tried many things to get the clique problem out of the way but some of the girls are so stubborn. Even though I am not in a national sorority, we still do the same things that national ones do. Although some of our traditions are boring and sketchy. How do I take charge? And do you have any advice on how to fix the clique problem? Im getting very discouraged. Thank you!

A: I am sorry your sorority is having so much trouble getting along. The #1 way to effect change is to get into a position of authority. That means running for office and holding a power position within the chapter. You will sit on the executive board and have a legitimate way to influence things for the better. You must put yourself into a position where you can propose new ideas, call for a vote, convince others of your viewpoints and be able to implement your improvements. Only by stepping up and taking the reigns can you accomplish any real change. You need to work with other chapter officers, your advisor and alumnae to get your chapter under control and back on track. Run for office - set some goals - make a difference! 

There will always be cliques in ANY group. In sororities, classes, offices, volunteer organizations, clubs, you name it. And since girls prefer to socialize with other girls that they really like, you can’t force them to totally blend together 24/7. If you try to mandate friendships it will never work. But you can balance out the cliques by bringing everyone together for more unity time and sisterhood bonding. If you have a chapter “points system” you can increase your membership togetherness with some additional mandatory events. Your sisters sound very undisciplined and additional structure may be just what your chapter needs!

A chapter can also require respectful behavior and politeness from it’s members. Cliques of friends should not be nasty or mean spirited. Mutual respect and regular togetherness is the goal. This can be achieved through more sisterhood socials, crafting parties, retreats, meetings, fundraisers, etc… Hopefully these things will keep the entire membership connected and everyone can bond over your sorority mission. xoxo ;)

"Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better." ~ Richard Hooker

"Define your goals in terms of the activities necessary to achieve them, and concentrate on those activities." ~ Brian Tracy

I'm a proud founder of Sigma Alpha Omega and we are establishing Greek Life for the very first time at our university. We have other organizations coming in that are members of the NPC, and we are having to combat people telling us we are not a real sorority and it is a damper on our Alpha Class Candidates. Any advice on how to handle it?

Asked by

Anytime someone criticizes your chapter you need to brush it off and accent the POSITIVES about your sorority. Your sisters should be well rehearsed in the many attributes of Sigma Alpha Omega and what makes your organization stand out from all the rest. Even within the NPC chapters criticize each other, it’s not limited to “outsiders.”

The best thing to do is to avoid arguments or trash talking. Instead, proudly and firmly state that you are 100% an established greek organization, a nationally incorporated Christian sorority for women, founded at in 1998. Then proceed to brag about all the greek traditions, rituals, socials and everything else you have to offer new members. You are authentically greek, plus you have the benefit of being a Christian chapter. You offer so much to PNMs who are earning for that combination in greek life. Make your authenticity part of your advertising message. 

If you are always on the defensive, you are playing on the other chapter’s terms. Take the offensive, publicize your best sugar and go forward with your heads held high. Your promotions, displays, conversations and recruiting needs to be so attractive and enticing ~ it drowns out the critics voices. Counter the gossip with an appealing Sigma Alpha Omega message that fights back the negativity. Your mission statement and your creed should be a banner for your efforts going forward. And as the underdogs, your table displays, tee shirts, graphics, decorations and everything else need to be extra fabulous. Out-shine and out-sugar the competition! 

Education of your PNMs is also very important, so they understand that they can get the complete greek life experience in your new chapter. Don’t let other sororities define you. You set the tone for your recruitment. If your group is bubbly, happy, warm and welcoming, it will be contagious. PNMs will want to know your secret and why you are having so much fun! The proof of your “quality” is in your living examples. xoxo ;)

rush talk: a second chance at greek life…

Q: I am in serious despair. I was kicked out of my sorority as a pledge. I really love XYZ. I was even my pledge class president! What steps can I take to rejoin? Should I rush next year? Help :(

A: Please give recruitment another try! And don’t just focus on your old chapter. This is your time for a fresh start. If you were “kicked out” maybe there wasn’t a strong match in the first place. So don’t limit yourself to only trying to rejoin your original sorority. Maybe they will give you a second chance, but just in case it doesn’t work out, please explore ALL options. 

I think another chapter may be just the thing you need to regain your greek membership. Don’t discuss any negative events during rush, just enter recruitment with a blank slate. If anyone asks you about your previous membership, you can simply say it didn’t work out and you are eager to give sorority life another try. If you left as a pledge (not initiated & it’s 1 year later) you are clear to participate in recruitment once more. Look for a genuine sisterhood that matches you in personality and character. Second time’s the charm! xoxo ;)

"Champions keep playing until they get it right." ~ Billie Jean King

big/little problems: lectures from a big…

Q: My big is a problem. We were never 100% anyway, but she isn’t around and whenever I try to talk to her about things she just lectures me. I don’t feel helped just judged. Turns out she can’t be trusted either. There are personal things I’ve said to her in confidence and she’s said things to the other girls and they’ve been gossiping about me. I’m extremely hurt and I don’t know what to do. As I’ve said, talking to her is like talking to a wall. Help?

A: Some big’s try to be helpful and it comes off as nagging. Lecturing is a way of trying to give good advice. Your mother probably does the same thing! Parents and big sisters are sometimes accused of “judging” and going on and on about the right thing to do. It is totally normal for the older wiser person to sometimes take this approach. Maybe what she has to say is actually correct ~ it’s just not being said in a way you respond to. 

Your big does not have the closeness to you, or the personality, needed to sugar coat her advice. You mention she’s never around and you are not that bonded. So naturally, confiding in her and receiving constructive criticism will be a challenge. What would you expect from someone you admit is not a close friend? Why would you entrust sensitive personal issues with her? If you think about the level of your relationship, her behavior cannot come as a surprise! She may have some good advice, but there’s not enough trust established between you to accept it. 

To avoid being hurt by someone, you need to realistically assess the situation and determine what kind of friendship you have. Not every sister is a bosom buddy. It’s not wise to lay your heart on the line to a girl who is absent most of the time and “never 100% connected” anyway. Please don’t be extremely hurt by a situation that could have been avoided. You can still have a pleasant surface relationship with your big, but now you know she’s not your soul sister for life! Act accordingly. Go shopping together, have a few drinks, but don’t bare your soul to her just because you call her big.

A sister must earn your trust and be a true and loyal friend before you confide in her. You don’t have that kind of trust at this point. Find another bestie to share your inner most secrets with and maintain a cheerful partnership with your big. xoxo ;)

rush talk: floater problems…

Q: In the fall will be my first recruitment on the sister side. I found out that I’m going to be a floater. In my sorority, it’s looked down as a bad thing. Most people would describe me as funny and easy to talk to. I don’t know what I did to become a floater and I almost feel like I’m not wanted there. Is there any advice you could give me about it? Is there something wrong with me that doesn’t make me appeal to most girls?

A: There are NO small jobs in recruitment! Every piece of the puzzle is important for rush success. There is a need for floaters and you will be the best floater the chapter has ever seen. I believe your assignment has to do with being a rookie recruiter, in your first year of membership, not your personality or abilities! Please don’t take it personally. Naturally, some ‘first timers’ would be in support positions during fall rush.

If every floater thought they were not wanted, then there would be lots of sisters missing during rounds. The problem is the bad attitude your sorority has towards this position. Make it your mission to elevate the job and redefine what it means to be a part of the team. Be proud to do your part. You will still be meeting PNMs and participating in recruitment, so do it to the best of your ability. If you sulk and act offended, you will get a bad reputation and not be considered for more responsibilities in the future. This is the time to focus on being a team player, and not worrying about being slighted. 

It’s in your best interest to put on a bright smile and shower the chapter your most outgoing and positive attitude. Show your sisters what an asset you are and it will help you in the future. When you are given lemons, make lemonade! xoxo ;)

"Some people strengthen others just by being the kind of people they are." ~ John M. Gardener

"When it becomes necessary to do a thing, the whole heart and soul should go into the measure, or not attempt it." ~ Thomas Paine

big/little problems: GBig lashing out…

Q: When I first rushed, I loved my GBig and thought she was the greatest thing ever (after her little), but the more I’m around her, the more she’s insulting and hurtful (going so far as to call my big and me promiscuous for going to fraternity parties on the weekends). This last weekend, she had a house party that my big, another friend and I left early to attend another sister’s party. After we left, she looked at my GGrandbig (and littered with profanity) insinuated that we had been doing drugs upstairs because we had left our bags up there. My bag had a change of clothes in it because I was staying at another friend’s house that night.

I’m worried that she will spread these lies to the entire chapter because we left early (I’m worried about future job opportunities and my reputation if she does, especially given that I have not done anything out of line besides drink). What do you suggest?

A: Your GBig sounds a bit jealous and insecure. I think she feels left out of your tight group and she is lashing out because of this. She sees you and your closer sisters attending parties, leaving her party early for another event and generally having fun without her. Even if she doesn’t really want to join in, she is annoyed by your lifestyle. She is on the outside and reacts to your “clique” with meanness. Not nice, but some girls can’t express their feelings in the right way. Something about your behavior is rubbing her the wrong way and unfortunately her solution is to trash talk. 

First of all I think you should examine your own behavior. Maybe you have been partying a little too much at the frats. And leaving someone’s party early for another party is perceived as a slap in the face to the first hostess. Your GBig would see this as you leaving for a”better” event and that’s quite hurtful. Even though you are not doing terrible things like drugs, you can reflect on the possibility that you have done a few insensitive things that could be aggravating to your GBig.

You then can approach this problem in 2 ways. One is to be more discrete and private about your activities and the other is to have a heart to heart with your GBig. To protect yourself from more harmful bad-mouthing, don’t be so connected to your GBig. For example, you didn’t need to leave your bag at her house and cause extra problems because of it. Be smart and put a little distance between you and a sister who is toxic to your reputation. Untangle yourself from her direct view and your actions will not be in her bullseye! 

And to clear the air, please schedule a time to sit down and talk about what’s really going on. Approach your sister with love and understanding. Humbly apologize for anything you’ve done to offend her and kindly ask how you can make it up to her. Say you value her friendship and you want to mend fences. Listen and reassure your GBig that you are not doing drugs or anything else harmful. She may be a prude and she will never approve of your socializing, but you need to stop the gossiping.

Being the more loving sister in dealing with a bully usually calms the beast and smooths things over. Yes you need to put your ego aside, but to stop the lies, you should kill her with kindness. Hopefully a combination of some “space” and a sister-to-sister conversation will heal the situation. xoxo ;)

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I have no problem with my many religious/spiritual friends, but I myself am an atheist. I saw the Phi Mu Greek Week banner that said "Transforming Lives Through Christ." Is it common for sororities to promote Christianity or spirituality? Could being an atheist make me the minority or hurt relationships I'll have with my possible Greek sisters? It's not a part of my life I openly promote, but I'll feel uncomfortable if I am pressured to pray, wear religious phrases, or make religious banners.

Asked by

MANY chapters were founded in the 1800s based on Christian principles. There are Catholic and Protestant influences within the 26 NPC chapters. Some emphasize and maintain their religious roots more than others in today’s world. But not all members are religious. There are many sisters who are of different faiths, or are total non-believers. NPC chapters welcome all walks of life!

Sisters are not forced to participate in spiritual events in any way. There may be some faith based references here and there, but you would not be pressured to convert if you join a sorority which maintains some of their religious foundations. Sororities are private organizations (not public) and they have the freedom to practice their traditions in the way they see fit. And as a PNM you have the choice to join, or pass on the chapters you don’t click with.

And it’s not just Christianity that you need to consider! There are also several Jewish sororities in the NPC which proudly celebrate and observe their Jewish religious traditions. Other faiths are welcome to join a Jewish chapter, but the members must be respectful of the organization’s rituals. As an atheist, you will want to keep these things in mind as you participate in recruitment. Making a comfortable match on both sides is the goal. 

Keep in mind, there are non-believers who attend religious high schools, belong to faith based groups, volunteer along side religious people and it all works out wonderfully. But the key is not being offended by the practices of others. If you can go with the flow and appreciate the basic principles of a sorority ~ I think you can make it work. And please be sure to pick a chapter that matches your comfort level. Doing good deeds for the less fortunate, serving the community, socializing with friends and other chapter activites are basically worthwhile endeavors for any person. If you take the greek philosophies to heart, and not the denomination, you will get the best from greek life. xoxo ;)