In a world where the top tier reigns supreme and pearls go with absolutely every outfit, one notable group of sorority women has been woefully left unaddressed: the charter class members. These brave ladies are the ones who choose to go through recruitment with national representatives and establish a new chapter on campus, rather than joining a pre-existing organization. They were drawn to their organization for the same reason any other girl is drawn to hers; she identifies with the ideals and can see that she already holds a piece of the sisterhood within her. However, the things she will hear as a charter class member are confusing at the least and, in my experience, all guaranteed to bring out my Southern sass and a good eye roll.
7. “Oh, so you’re in the new sorority?”
No, actually, I’m not. I just flew down here in my letters and skipped my Tuesday classes, because I heard your Starbucks barista gives you a venti when you only paid for a grande. People just love to point out the inevitable. I understand the sparkling new letters are a change for everybody on campus, not just us, but after about fifteen days post-bid day, it should be understood that if I am rocking the letters of the newest sorority on Greek row, it’s probably because I am, indeed, a member of that sorority.
6. “So, are you guys doing recruitment?”
This is my personal favorite question. It is equal parts moronic and utopian. If I never had to graduate, and could stay in college forever, you can bet that I’d do so in a heartbeat. That power would be the only thing that could negate the need to participate in recruitment, as all of my sisters would be eternally collegiate, and we’d never need to replenish our supply of sisters. Alas, we cannot stay young forever. We will graduate, and we do need to bring in a fresh batch of babies each year to replace the girls who are leaving…which means that yes, we will be participating in recruitment. Next question, please.
5. “You just don’t really seem like the sorority type.”
You’ll hear this one everywhere — from non-Greek friends you made before you chartered your chapter, from your high school friends, and even from your parents. The best way to dodge this one is to ask, “Why not?” No one ever has a very good reason. At that time, you can express to your friends and family that you’ve joined something you’re passionate about, and whether or not this “seems” like you, it is. Maybe you didn’t feel at home with the other sororities. Maybe it took something really unique to get you to consider Greek life. It doesn’t matter why, just that you’re here now. While you certainly aren’t expected to explain yourself to anyone, breaking down negative stereotypes about Greek Life is always a plus.
4. *Insert sexual innuendo relating to your sorority here*
Every sorority deals with this, but it’s particularly strange when you’re a member of a charter class. Guys you’ve known for two years are suddenly judging you based on your letters. Now you’re just another piece of T&A instead of the girl who suffered through freshman bio with them, and agreed to be their chem lab partner. Just remember while you’re busy catcalling me and my new sisters that I still have that embarrassing picture from Halloween our sophomore year saved on my laptop.
3. “So are you, like, a real sorority?”
Between sisterhood events, philanthropies, and mixers, I’m a little bit more pressed for time than I used to be. You see, I’m actually on the way to the library for study hours right now so I can improve my GPA while remaining heavily involved in my sorority, so I don’t really have time to stand here while you explain to me what a “real sorority” is and why mine makes the cut.
2. “Do you have a big or little?”
This merits a little confusion, and is a legitimate question in my eyes. Generally, bigs and littles come from different pledge classes. However, being part of one big charter class, you’re all technically the same. Each sorority does charter class bigs and littles differently. Some assign “families” of groups of girls. Some establish straight lineages of one girl to another. Bigs and littles are generally separated by class, so a senior will be a big sister to a junior, who is a big sister to a sophomore, who is a big sister to a freshman. Members’ class size discrepancies can still cause twins and the like, so this process still mirrors the process of established sororities. I was assigned my little in this manner and had to choose a little out of over a hundred girls. That magic moment of bonding with your future little is still a thing, and I love my little to death, even though we’re technically in the same pledge class. #loveislove
1. “Oh, you’re in *XYZ sorority*? That’s so awesome! Welcome!”
I’m not sure how it as at other schools, but my school’s Greek system isn’t exactly huge. Panhel love is actually a real thing at our school, so it feels great to have been welcomed so warmly by the majority of our Greek (and non-Greek) community. For every snide or disparaging comment, there are another two or three positive and supportive ones. The most important thing to remember as a charter class member is that you are the beginning of something great. Even coming back to campus five years from now, you will be able to see how amazing your organization has become, and the amazing young women who have found a home in what you helped to begin. Having support from the rest of the Greek community is inevitably one of the best devices that can be used towards your sorority’s future success. Get to know everything you can from your friends who have been Greek, and remember to share the love. Say hi to other girls in your charter class, especially when they’re wearing letters (even though you may not recognize them all right away!). Have lunch dates with girls in your sorority, and your friends in other sororities. Panhellenic sisterhood is an amazing, sometimes overlooked aspect of Greek life, and while come Greek Week you will be bent on destroying them all, just remember that right now, you have just joined a much larger community, and they’re all rooting for you.