Thursday, May 26, 2011

Whatchamacallit.... Greek Jargon Edition

Greek life has it's own jargon, from sororities to fraternities, chapter to chapter and council to council the language to describe things are different but to un-Greek ears, most of them have no idea what we're talking about!! How are we supposed to prove to the world how awesome we are if they can't understand what we're saying...(am I right? am I right?)!

Language is a very very powerful thing - using one select term over another can inspire us, make us feel happy and or excited, make us feel loved or appreciated - words can also be hurtful. They can demean us, they can make us feel bad about ourselves or others... (think sticks and stones...). Greek jargon is just as powerful. In a community where outside perceptions are not always the best it's especially important that we be mindful of our language....and I'm not talkin' minding our p's and q's (although both are very important!!).

Here are some language DO's and DON'T's:

1. Do: New Member or Potential New Member - these two phrases give PNM's or New Members (Alpha Sisters wooo woot!) the respect that they deserve. They ensure a sense of safety in just our language - there will be no proving yourself or demeaning treatment, you are a new friend or sister or sisterfrand.... whatever you want to call it.

Don't: Pledge - Calling a person a "pledge" infers that they are "pledging," this above all else is one of the most negative notions of fraternity and sorority life. If you want non-Greeks (and many Greeks, I might add) to believe that you are not treating new members with the upmost respect this word is a big cue. Even if you are treating your new members in the best possible way - pledge carries with it a very strong and very negative connotation so why not avoid it?!

side note: Same goes for New Member Period, Alpha Period, etc... are Pledge Period, Rush....

2. Do: NPC Groups participate in Formal Recruitment

Don't: Sisters are not found in RUSH - small different but it gives a blanketed idea to what is actually a very precise and mutual process. While this phrase is still used by many universities to describe the time, it just shows that the campus Panhellenic group needs some reorganizing.

3. Do: Familiarize yourself with Greek terminology including council names,

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)
National Panhellenic Conference (NPC)
National Asian Pacific Islander American Panhellenic Association (NAPA)
National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations(NALFO)
National Multicultural Greek Council (NMGC).
North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC)

Don't: Call NPHC groups "the black ones" or refer to NAPA orgs as "the asian ones," having an understanding of the history and development of these councils and their purpose will not only change your own Greek experience for the better - no matter what group you are a member of, but will also give you a new understanding of these groups and their roles in every it makes you seem plain old stupid.

4. Do: Get to know and properly reference the Green Book/NIC Resolutions and your chapter's and any governing council's officers.

Don't: Count on others to learn these important things for you, if "traditions" inhibit your chapter from moving forward or the way you've always done things isn't working might be doing it wrong and chapter officers may not know!

5. Do: Call the sisters of your chapter "Sisters" when trying to get their attention

Don't: Yell out "Girls" when trying to quiet the room - this is a personal one, but to me it just as such an "us" and "them" connotation to it when you're yelling at people. As a speaking officer or sister you're simply that, a speaking officer or sister...(but this could totally be just me!)

Language has a huge impact on the way people react to different situations. When we use the proper language, we'll get well...a proper response. Giving respect to other through language is more often than not given respect in return! Not to mention, calling things by their proper names makes us sound much more professional! (You fancy, HuH?!)

<3 Love and Loyally,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I (heart) Greek Life ... Really I do.

I love Greek Life. I really, really do... I love my chapter, my international organization; I love Panhellenic (ask my Panhellenic sisters how I feel about our Wednesday night meetings!!) and I love being a member of the Greek Community.

Today at work someone was asking me about school - "Yes, I'm only home for the summer..." it was a completely normal conversation, and one that I have almost daily the first couple weeks back. "How was your year? ..." anyone with a summer job knows the exact conversation I'm talking about - you have it with friends and older co-workers summer after summer.

In addition to the "what classes did you take?" type questions, we started talking about my boyfriend and where he goes to school - "that's so far away" - this is the response I'm used to hearing, so the response I'm used to giving is: "It's okay though because we're both so busy, he plays sports and I'm president of my sorority so we are both always up to something."

To me, staking my claim as a member of a sorority is a perfectly respectable account of a busy schedule: philanthropy events, meetings, chapter, the list goes on and on.... and yet today - this person's negative Greek experiences had rained all over my usual "I <3 Greek Life" attitude.

By busy schedule they thought I was referring to my partying and drinking.....

Sometimes I get so frustrated! I know that our Greek community at the Q is very different than most, but my experience has been a wonderful one and has truly shaped my life. Sometimes I can't decide what is worse - the stereotypes about Greek life or the activities and events Greeks participate in to make those stereotypes true.

I consider myself one of the biggest advocates for the Greek system - the Greek leadership model is something truly incredible! But, at the same time that I'm defending my affiliation to the world's end, I'm also one of the biggest critics. I love my Ritual and I am so proud to be a part of it, when Greeks don't live their lives (and that means all the time.... character is what you do when no one is looking!!), by their Rituals, they further perpetuate the bad and all too easily detriment the good!

I feel like most Greeks spend so much time defending themselves and not enough time acting in ways to make outsiders change their minds - there is also always talk about why our behavior should be different or better or one way over another. The answer is simple....Greek Life, I love you but I have to say:

We took an oath that others didn't. We made promises that other college students did not make, and we did it all by choice. It was our choice to be a part of these social organizations, to strive for social excellence, and when we don't we make a lie out of our Ritual.

Learn it. Live it. Love it.

<3 Love and Loyally

Monday, May 2, 2011

LTR: Summer Edition

So it's not summer, not for me, not just yet....but after having our last chapter meeting of the year last night, summer is on my mind (okay, and maybe a little in my day dreams)!!

With our last week of classes and final exams making their way into our agendas it's time to get ready for summer! New bathing suits, trips to the beach, summer addition to all the fun that comes with the summer months, spending time with our friends and families, how do we remember our R/ritual and sisterhood while we're separated from one another?

With sisters living across the country, it's hard to ensure that all our members our staying engaged over the summer. Some of the friendships with new Delta sisters and older Delta sisters were just starting to develop and now we have to separate?!

Here are some of the things that we've done in our chapter to keep everyone connected even while we're physically apart from one another!!

Facebook Groups ~ every academic class (Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen) have a facebook group. Sisters can post events, keep in touch and even post videos! It's a quick and easy check in that brings everyone closer together.

Chapter Calendar ~ getting our chapter calendar out to sisters as soon as possible will help sisters not only prepare, but get excited for the upcoming school year! By making sure new events and activities are in view, sisters won't forget everything we've done together this past year

Diamond Sister Notebooks ~ Instead of making diamond boards during our Diamond Days celebrations, our Membership Education Team came up with this cute idea! Diamond Sisters decorated a notebook to mail back and forth to one another, some sisters use it at school, passing it back and forth each week at chapter when schedules get too busy for regular lunch dates.

Summer Trips ~ with our chapter log, sisters can see who lives in their area! We have plans to go to amusement parks, the beach, sporting events and other great summer classics! By connecting with women who live in our area, it's yet another way to yet us get to know sisters!!

What do your chapters do to keep the spark of sisterhood going over the summer months??

<3 Love and Loyally