Misconceptions of Sorority Life
Published: Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Updated: Wednesday, April 8, 2009 15:04
Wild drunken parties. Sex. Hazing. What comes to your mind when you think about sororities?
A large number of misconceptions about sororities exist today thanks to movies like "House Bunny" and "Sydney White," which portray sorority girls to be people who will do anything and everything to be accepted.
Such misconceptions often lead to hesitation among students in attending sorority and fraternity recruitment events at William Paterson University.
"The media does not portray Greeks in a positive light," said Melissa Reynolds, Assistant Director of Campus Activities, who is very involved in William Paterson's Greek life programs. "Many stereotypical views exist; being in a sorority is like being in a bad girls club with girls who have eating disorders, boy trouble and behave inappropriately. People who don't know the truth like to make stuff up based upon what they see on television."
Kristin Bonczek, an active sister of Theta Phi Alpha since spring of 2006, was a victim to such stereotypes and she stated she was apprehensive about joining an organization her freshman year.
"I was hesitant at first because I always had the thought of being hazed in the back of my mind," she said. "I was interested in joining Theta Phi Alpha because they valued philanthropy, community service and leadership."
Bonczek was both surprised and relieved to learn that her fears of what she would have to do to become a sorority sister were far from what she'd seen on television.
Misconceptions are not unique to sororities. Fraternities are also shown through the media in ways that are not true to life.
"Shows like "Greek" portray Greeks as selfish people who cause a great deal of drama and who party too much," said Asfar Ali, a member of Sigma Pi since fall of 2007.
"Although I know many organizations participate in a great deal of beneficial activities, these aspects of our lives are not shown on television. We do community service, get good grades and work hard, but nobody notices."
Reynolds feels that one thing WPU fraternities and sororities can do to combat these attitudes is to become more visible to the campus as a whole.
"I love Greek life at William Paterson, but people do not see the positive things that Greeks do," she said. "Greeks here don't do a great job at promoting themselves outside of the Greek community. I would love to see sororities do more, especially things which will empower other women and put sororities in a more positive focus."
In the meantime, stories like Bonczek's may act as a source of inspiration for other female students interested in sorority life, but hesitant about exploring what may be seen as an intimidating world.
"I gained more than I expected and was extremely relieved that the things I saw on television did not occur during my experience."