An Open Letter To My New Sorority Sisters

An Open Letter To My New Sorority Sisters

Thank you for helping me see beauty, even in the common things of life
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Dear Sisters,

When I got to campus last Fall, I was nervous that I wouldn't find a group of friends, but you all changed that. From the first day of recruitment, I felt like I was at home in our house. Everyone had a huge smile on their face, we had great conversations, we laughed, and it always felt genuine. Not to mention, you laughed with me, not at me, when I tripped walking out of the house on Sisterhood Day.

On Bid Day, I was elated to put on a shirt with our letters because I wanted to show off that I was chosen to be a part of our amazing sisterhood. Since day one, the pride I have for being a member of our sisterhood hasn't wavered, it has only grown stronger.

Thank you to the sisters who have been there for me during the hard times, and the good times.

Thank you to my pledge mom for being there to talk if I need something.

Thank you to my new family for being simultaneously dysfunctional and loving.

Thank you to every person in our sisterhood for being welcoming and always having a smiling face on campus.

I am so grateful for how diverse our organization is because I know that no matter what the day is, there is always someone to do something with and someone who will be there for me. Being a part of this sisterhood has made my life so much better, and I want you all to know how grateful I am for each of you. I know my future is brighter because I have you all in my life.

Thank you for being my home away from home.

XOXO,

Your new sister

Cover Image Credit: Jessica Lawler

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TheSunVanished Is Terrifying, Exciting, And Very Much Inspired By H. G. Wells

Twitter is the best modern story-telling medium.
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If the sun disappeared and monsters began to roam the pitch-black streets and Twitter was your only reliable way of contacting the outside world, what would you do? The Twitter account TheSunVanished tries to answer this question in one of the most creative pieces of multimedia fiction I've ever seen.

After hearing about the account, I finally delved into it a few days ago and it is a wild ride. From disturbing flashing lights caught on film to home intrusions and mistrust, this story has everything a good horror story needs. No one has a clear idea of what is going on, adding another layer of mystery.

To avoid speculation, we're going to try and dissect the story using just the facts, starting with the first tweet where we get any solid information, a video the owner of the account took of a news report.

The television has a caption that reads "RIOTS BREAK OUT AFTER SUN DISAPPEARS" and a reporter detailing what has happened. Then, a loud, low noise rumbles and the camera turns towards the darkness.

This is the first hint at the strange beings haunting this world. The second comes from when TheSunVanished ventured outside for the first time since the sky went black.

We hear a noise again but see nothing except a red, flashing light. Next, we get confirmation that the entire sky is dark, not just the sun. Next, we find out that the flashing lights chase people. From there, TheSunVanished hears something fly overhead and comes into contact with one of his friends.

Next, we get an image of a man standing outside completely still and a warning from TheSunVanshed's friend.

We find out that TheSunVanished's friend is currently stranded on the highway but is still alive. While TheSunVanished waits for him, (s)he notices a light downstairs and goes to check it out. Once it catches sight of TheSunVanished, it starts blinking red.

From there, TheSunVanished stays away from the downstairs and open windows as much as possible but the beings know that (s)he lives there now. The beings break-in.

TheSunVanished then sets up some basic alarms and notices his/her friends is acting funny. (S)He begins to question the friend to see if he can confirm his identity.

TheSunVanished is still going and still surviving. If you're interested in following this "War of the Worlds"-esque adventure, I'd recommend checking it out here!

Cover Image Credit: TheSunVanished

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Greek Life Does More Harm Than Good And It's Time We Canceled It

Greek Life is considered an almost essential part of campus culture, but do we really need Greek life?
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If you are a college student in the United States, you will be affected in some way by Greek life. It doesn't matter whether you want to join or not. When you go to school, you will hear about it all the time. You will hear about which frats throw the best parties, be asked which sorority you are rushing, and see them hosting charity events. And of course, you will hear the criticisms.

It is impossible these days to not hear about the criticisms surrounding Greek life, the most common one being the high rates of sexual assault. There are also the criticisms that it promotes binge-drinking and partying, it fuels nepotism, the hazing, and there have been numerous racist incidents involving fraternities.

If you ask anybody in Greek life though, they will usually tell you these criticisms are overblown. Yes, occasionally there might be some racist jokes. Yes, sometimes a sexual assault might occur, but they will assure you that these are just a few bad apples. Then they will wax poetic about the various benefits of Greek life; how it fosters lifetime friendships, instills good values such as serving the community, and grooms young adults for professional life.

But there is another question you should ask. Who reaps these benefits?

In a study conducted by Princeton University, researchers found that at their school 77 percent of fraternity members and 73 percent of sorority members were white, despite making up 47 percent of the student body. Additionally, 30 percent and 19 percent of fraternity and sorority members were legacy admits, meaning they were children of alumni. Obviously, this is only one school and not necessarily reflect the entire United States. Fraternities and sororities do not publish statistics on their demographics, so it is impossible to tell exactly how pervasive this phenomenon is. Nonetheless, it is worrisome and is surprising, considering that the first fraternities were founded by the people that have always been most privileged in our country: white, upper-class men.

You do not need an extensive, university-sponsored study to understand that it is difficult for students of lower incomes to join Greek life. Not only must you maintain a certain GPA, but you must pay monthly dues in order to stay in. These can range in cost from $250 to $775, and that is not counting “new member fees" or “badge fees" that may be added to the overall cost. Additionally, members must attend regular meetings and functions. If somebody comes from a low-income family and has to work in order to make it through college, it will be significantly harder to join Greek life.

Some organizations offer payment plans, but many potential pledges still say this is not enough. This begs the question: is Greek life really creating new leaders, or is it just fostering a culture of nepotism and providing a pathway for those born into privilege to access high-paying jobs more easily? This is not to say it is impossible for someone of lesser means to join, but it is significantly harder.

In recent years, excessive drinking and hazing-related deaths have also caused Greek life to come under fire. It is not uncommon for college students to abuse alcohol; however, members of Greek life are significantly more likely to abuse alcohol. One study by Harvard found that four out of five fraternity and sorority members are binge drinkers in comparison to two out of five overall college students.

Another study at Brown University found that fraternities are often opposed to alcohol education and intervention because they view it as an impediment to their social and sexual goals. Again, this is not to suggest that only Greek life-affiliated students binge-drink. Many college students engage in binge-drinking while they are in school, but they are much more likely to do so if they are involved in Greek life.

These are only some of the problems associated with Greek life. There are many, many more, which I will discuss in next week's article. But for now, I want readers to sit and consider the facts they have been presented with, and ask themselves the kind of mentality that Greek life promotes through its culture of exclusion and binge-drinking.

Cover Image Credit: Stephen F. Austin State University

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