By Danae Reid
Around this time every year, established members of historically Black sororities and fraternities, see an influx of eager young men and women flocking around college campuses. Even the most discreet of those interested can’t mask the glisten in their eyes or calm the pep in their step when they see a member of their desired organization from afar. This can only mean one thing… it’s almost time for a new line.
Whether good, bad or in between, there are countless reasons why a person decides to join a BGLO (Black Greek Letter Organization), and then there’s even more reasons that explain why they chose their organization of interest.
Though I’ve been a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for almost four years, I can remember what it’s like to be both the desiring and the desired.
I fell in love with the Crimson and Cream as a little girl at the hands of my mother and the multitude of Delta aunties that came with her. Their influence over my life was strong, as and because of that, I knew that I too would one day become a member of the illustrious sisterhood that helped shape her life.
In spring 2016, I did just that.
Having grown up around Black Greeks, I’d always felt that I was fully equipped to join Delta. I’d thought that I knew and understood everything about Greek life, but I was wrong. Through conversations with other BGLO members, I realized that this is more of a general consensus than I’d thought. Because of this, I decided to list the three most common things that I felt people needed to know before joining a sorority or a fraternity.
1. Joining a sorority or a fraternity is a lifetime commitment: Regardless of the organization that you choose to join, there is a lifetime commitment attached to it that’s enacted prior to joining that intensifies significantly once you are accepted.
Any organization that you’d be looking to join requires that community service has been done on a consistent basis leading up to the time you attend a rush/information meeting. These groups are looking for dedicated workers who have demonstrated that they have and will always uphold their morals, guidelines, etc.
The collegiate experience of being a Greek is unmatched, but the real work starts post-graduation. When you sign the certificate that states your membership, you are pledging to be active, financial, and dedicated to that group for the duration of your life. This includes going to chapter meetings, doing community service, being a member or heading a committee, attending conferences/conventions, etc.
Being a member is not always going to be as easy and as fun as it may seem from the outside looking in. It’s more than t-shirts, it’s more than strolling, and it’s more than parties.
2. The monetary aspect is a factor to consider. It’s not cheap: A key component to keeping your lifetime commitment to your organization is by remaining financially active. Membership in these organizations can be somewhat costly, and although you only have to pay dues once a year (prices will vary dependent on your chapter), you’ll also want to pay for things like paraphernalia, conferences or conventions, make charity donations, support the business endeavors of fellow sorors or brothers, etc.
3. Sisterhood and brotherhood isn’t always sisterly or brotherly: I’d venture to say that if you ask a handful of Greeks why they decided to join an organization, the majority would say that it’s due in part to the bond that comes with being a member of said group.
Like most people I know, I had the unrealistic expectation that joining my organization meant that everything would be perfect between those members in the group. The bond would be tight, and there would be peace all the time. Everyone would be close. From the outside looking in, that’s what you see and what you’re supposed to see, but this isn’t always accurate.
Naturally, I was upset when I realized that even organization members will have their issues or may not even like one another, but as it is with any family, that’s life, and it’s okay. What’s important is to cultivate relationships with those who you feel comfortable with and still remain kind to the ones that you don’t.
My intent is not to discourage anyone from deciding to join a BGLO, but it’s to shed light on some of the realities that are most likely to be overlooked. So, do your research and have a full grasp on what you are signing up for. Research the organization that you are interested in before applying. Support their programs and events. Don’t just follow what your friends are doing. Know for yourself.
As for me, joining Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’ve been afforded countless networking opportunities, have built amazing relationships, have Sorors who look out for me everywhere I go, and more. Whether you want to be a Delta or a Que, or a member of any of the Divine 9 organizations, there will be a lot that is required of you, but you will get even more in return.
NOTE: All opinions are my own and are not a reflection of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated OR the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, The Philadelphia Sunday SUN, the author’s organization, committee or other group or individual.