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Let's Do Life Together (Regardless of the What Sorority Housing Looks Like on Your Campus)

When in close proximity you’re bound to create a relationship with one another. Each story below describes how the sorority formed friendships through time spent together. Sororities across the country range in style of provided housing and some have no house at all but that doesn’t limit memories and opportunities when the members come together. From the writer's perspectives below you’ll find that it doesn’t matter where you are but who you’re with that makes the memories. Having the opportunity to live with your sisters can deepen your sorority journey.

Living in a Sorority House

Aubrey Hardy, Resource Intern - Missouri State University, Alpha Sigma Alpha

When going through recruitment I was confident that living in-house would be my favorite memory in college. I had watched video after video all summer long of sorority house tours and I grew eager to find a home away from home. Sophomore year I moved into my chapter house with two amazing roommates who were always down to have a good time. If I had to pick the best thing about a sorority house it would be the people you share the space with. Walking out of my room I was bound to find sisters watching a show in the common area, three more studying in the formal room, and a handful busying themselves in the basement. The constant community pushed us all to grow together and create an unmatched bond. Living with anyone, there will be conflict or bad days but it's when you seek to find the good that your enjoyment takes over. Junior year I lived in the house again as a requirement of the officer position I took on but also a true desire for the experience again. Living in the house looked completely different as I was navigating living with an all-new member class, holding an executive position, and taking my most challenging courses yet. The house worked its magic and I gained friendships with sisters I never would have otherwise if we hadn't shared a wall, bathroom space, or mealtime with each other. I will be living in the house for a third year this fall to finish out my term as president and I am so excited to see what friendships I will leave with. 

Three years ago I sat through virtual house tours trying to get a glimpse into what I knew would be one of the best college experiences. Now I am headed into my third and final year living in the house and I couldn't be more grateful. My biggest takeaway in finding enjoyment in sorority housing is creating a culture that your sisterhood desires to go home to. Rather than expecting others to initiate the memory-making experiences, take ownership and plan the movie nights or encourage the late-night talks and you won't regret it! Living in a sorority house is incomparable to any other experience, and if you ever have the opportunity - take it!

Creating Memories with No House

Dinah Newman, Summer Cohort Member - Fort Hayes State, Alpha Sigma Alpha

For most girls, living in the sorority house is the highlight of their college experience. I went into formal recruitment with a slightly different perspective and was terrified to live in a house with a bunch of women whom I had not even met yet. My chapter does not have a house on or off campus. At the time that I joined my chapter, we were the only ones that did not have a house. While this was a big turnoff for most girls, it was one of the things I found most interesting. They were still a bonded sisterhood that spent plenty of time together throughout the week. My biggest question was how they function without a house to convene or meet at. 

The simple answer is we get creative with where we meet. We utilize our on-campus resources and meeting spaces and we are open to meeting off-campus. We have our chapter meetings in the same room every week in our student union. For other events we meet at the library, the quad, and even the test kitchens. I have found that being able to go home and not think about sorority stuff has made me have more intentional friendships. We have to make the effort outside of our weekly meetings. Our chapter has to be more flexible with our activities and be willing to cram into small spaces. While it would be nice to just walk down the hallway to hang out, I find that my friendships are deeper because the effort to hang out has to be made by both parties. More intentional friendships mean a deeper sisterhood bond. We find ourselves doing more things that are not sorority-related because we do not get burnt out from eating, living, and breathing the sorority. Being intentional with friendships and sisterhoods, makes me really appreciate our time together. Sometimes I wonder if my friends and I would still get along if we all had to live together on top of everything. I love not having a house and personally would not choose it any other way. 

Representing Your Sorority in the Community

Lillian Strawn, Summer Cohort Member - Lander University, Gamma Phi Beta 

One of my dream roles in college was to be a resident assistant (RA)! I served as an RA for two years in an all-freshman, female-only residence hall. While I have some fun stories about my time as an RA, I was most excited about the opportunity to recruit new members to our Panhellenic community! To my surprise, I had several PNMs from my building, including two of my residents from the same dorm room.  Both residents became my sisters on Bid Day! When they ran home, I remember feeling so excited to have two sisters in my residence hall (an experience I wish I had had as a freshman). We connected quickly and even traveled to Helen, Georgia for our sisterhood retreat together! From walking to sisterhoods and chapter meetings to late-night chats in our dorm rooms, the friendship continued to blossom. When I became the Big Sister to one of the girls from primary recruitment (shoutout Cheyenne!) I felt that the experience had come full circle. 

Our Panhellenic chapters opened the Continuous Open Bidding process (COB), so it was time for me to connect with those on the fence or unaware of the opportunities of sorority life. During my desk shifts, I would reach out to residents who I knew were eligible to go Greek. I invited and accompanied residents to several COB meetings and spent countless nights sharing my experiences in my chapter. At the end of the process, several young ladies found their places on campus, strengthening our Panhellenic community in the process!

While not every sister will serve as an RA or in similar capacities, we all have the opportunity to represent our chapters and the wider Panhellenic and Greek communities well. Opening up about our experience and approaching young ladies can be the icebreaker needed to welcome more women into our Panhellenic community! 

Panhellenic Living

Madison Breedlove, Summer Cohort Member - Appalachian State University, Alpha Omicron Pi

I go to a school that doesn’t have Greek housing. Some may see this as an unfortunate thing or feel like they’re missing out, which is completely understandable. I prefer to think of it as an opportunity to connect with women outside of your organization, to learn from them, grow with them, and ultimately bring that connection back to your chapters. I have a special story about living Panhellenic with a little bit of a twist! My big sister went to my school and joined her sorority at the same time as I joined mine. Once it was time to move off campus, we decided to move in together, and some of my favorite memories were made in our little shoebox apartment. 

Things were still semi-virtual during our first year of recruiting for our chapters. So we were just across the hall, sitting on Zoom for hours on the first day. After each round, we would sit on our couch, talking on and on about how incredible an experience it was to meet all of these new potential sisters. In between conversations, we would run down to our front porch and take pictures, only to run right back up again and sit on Zoom for a few more hours. We leaned on each other for support after recruiting all day. Talking to someone who understands but hasn’t been with you all day makes it way easier. After recruitment, I got to build connections with her sisters, and she was able to do the same with mine, Our apartment basically had a revolving door that was always open for Panhellenic women. In a community with no housing, it can be easy to feel disconnected, not only from your own sisters but also from your Panhellenic sisters. When you live with women outside of your chapter, you get to experience the community from a completely different perspective. At my school, it is very common to see women from multiple organizations living together, these relationships bleed into their chapters. These connections break down barriers and encourage a sisterhood bigger than our own. Biological or not, I will always recommend living with women outside of your own organization. I would choose this experience over a house any day! 

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