What I Got Out of My Sorority

What I Got Out of My Sorority

My chapter has given me so much more than just a home away from home at Ohio State. It has given me a family away from my "real" family
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During formal recruitment, a lot of new members asked me what Gamma Phi has meant to be in the year I've been a part of it. At the time, I struggled to find the words, feeling tears well up in the back of my eyes, as I give the lame response of "Gamma Phi has given me so much love and happiness over the past year." In the time since recruitment has ended and we've welcomed so many incredible new members into our chapter, I've begun to find the words I wish I could have shared with the new members during recruitment.

I knew two things for sure when I started my freshman year: I wasn't going to be the girl that was in a relationship all through college, and Greek life wasn't for me. Those two things were both proved wrong by November, and they ended up being two of the best decisions I ever made.

Formal recruitment was hell. First of all, who does recruitment in January??? I have a lot of cute clothes for FALL recruitment, not this "it's negative 10 degrees with freezing rain, good luck trying to find an outfit that is both snappy casual and warm!" weather. Also, what is snappy casual? Regardless, with the weather and the long walks in heels, recruitment was emotionally draining. I went through recruitment because my roommate didn't want to do it alone, and I thought I had nothing to lose. I was an awkward, uncomfortable and self-conscious 18-year-old who had literally no knowledge of Greek life other than overdone stereotypes. You can imagine how the system ripped me to pieces from day one, but overall, I went into preference round loving the choices I had.

I can bring myself back to bid day in a heartbeat - squirming in my chair, holding my bid in my hand, desperate to open it, nervously texting all my friends about where they thought they ended up. Kim Kardashian ugly crying when I ripped it open, the words "Gamma Phi Beta" written in huge letters across it. Running to our house, I wrapped my arms around my best friend (who had by some stroke of fate, ended up in the same house as me). I can put myself back to dancing on the furniture in the MY new house, ignoring the freezing rain outside, and meeting what felt like a thousand people who were my sisters now. I can remember it all like it was yesterday, and I would do anything to relive those memories again. I finally felt at home at Ohio State.

My chapter has given me so much more than just a home away from home at Ohio State. It has given me a family away from my "real" family - my big is always there for me when I need her, getting dinner and laying on her couch and complaining. I have learned so much from her, and I strive to be more like her with each day - confident, optimistic and driven. My twin is my other half, the person I go to for everything, good and bad. She is the person I always wish I could be - outspoken, smart as a whip, more loyal than any family pet. I took a little this spring, and she truly is like a little sister to me. I want so desperately to show my little the loving family she has joined, and for her to know that I'm always there for her (as is the rest of her kind of crazy family). I want so desperately for her to have the same experience in this chapter as I have, to love this group of 207 women as much as I have.

My chapter has given me so much more than sisters. It has given me a group of strong, passionate, and confident women who strive to surround themselves with other strong, passionate and confident women. When I joined my chapter, I was quiet, shy, anxious about even thinking of talking to someone I didn't know. The women of this chapter have nudged in all the right ways and taken me under their wing; the me of last year wouldn't recognize the me now. I am so much more confident (there's still some work to do, but no sorority is claiming to be performing miracles), and I am self-assured. I even have a leadership position, something I would have never imagined a year ago. I get emotional when I think of how much this chapter has helped me to grow, to become the type of woman I could only dream of.

More than anything else, my chapter has given me so much more than life long friends. This fall semester, I was having a really hard time. I was desperately homesick, battling health issues, and generally not doing great. My sisters would text me every day to make sure I was feeling alright, check in continually, help me with my school work that I was perpetually falling behind in, and laying in bed with me, watching Netflix and crying. Without the love and support of my sisters, I would have transferred home to be closer to my mom and given up on my dream school. Without my sisters, I wouldn't be where I am today, not quite thriving but certainly surviving.

I truly believe that everyone can find their home in Greek life, and I hope that everyone who does can get everything I got out of my chapter.

Cover Image Credit: Kate Marlette

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

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12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

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13. Frat House Dr. Sign

Price: $13.99

Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

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Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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Just Because You Can Throw A Ball Does Not Mean Your Rape Is Admissible

Why are university athletes more likely to commit sexual assault?

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I wish rape didn't seep into every sphere of my life. But, like ink, it has.

Interpersonally, my childhood friend was gang-raped by members of the University of North Texas basketball team. As uncovered in an investigation, her circumstances were not isolated, unlike what it says in UNT's initial statement. I am proud to know my friend. I am proud to stand with her. However, I am ashamed at the situation and the commonness of her suffering among students just like me, on college campuses.

Politically, Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, promotes new fortifications for students accused of sexual assault. Basically, the rules would reduce the legal classification of harassment while offering protections for those accused of wrongdoing. In my emotions, I firmly believe in the American ideal of being "innocent until proven guilty". However, even in a crime so entrenched in emotions, I must look at facts. Facts say that the falsification rate of rape is the same as most other crimes, somewhere around 5%. Therefore, I believe that DeVos' proposal would tilt investigations in favor of the committer and significantly lessen the number of victims who would have the assurance to come forward and tell his/her story. In a campus-setting, where 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted, her "solution" adds gasoline to a country-wide fire.

Educationally, Brock Turner, a swimmer at Stanford University received just six months in county jail after being found guilty of five felonies, all of which amount to him raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. In defense of the light sentence, the judge said, "the more time (Turner spends) in jail, the more severe impact" on his future, who wanted to go to the Olympics. Never mind the future of the victim.

First off, rape culture, a sociological concept in which sexual assault is pervasive and normalized, exists. And while it exists everywhere, I can only speak with any authority on the campus setting, where hook-up culture is both catalyzed and camouflaged. Here, the area that needs the most treatment is in the locker room, on the court, or on the field.

Student athletes are proportionally the greatest perpetrators of sexual misconduct.

While a tiny 3% of male students are athletes, male student athletes are responsible for almost a fifth of sexual assaults on campus. And that is just the events that are reported, (just so you know, about 3 out of 4 go unreported). However, the NCAA has no policy that lessens a student's athletic eligibility in the face of sexually violent behavioral patterns. If you have allowed these numbers to simmer in your mind, you can see that this is unacceptable.

Why are university athletes more likely to commit sexual assault?

Most experts make cultural and institutional arguments.

Culturally, student athletes are not seen as "normal" students – rather, they provide a service to the college. Where most students get something from the college, student athletes give to the college, and we should be so lucky to have them grace us with their presence. It is a part of the status quo: high-status students on campus are athletes, especially males who play the most popular sports, like football, basketball, or baseball. These students carry social privilege.

Obviously, athletes are not naturally ethically worse than other students. I am simply saying that absolutely no one is immune to the culture that surrounds him/her, and we have a weird culture.

On average, athletes are more likely than other students on campus to buy into the cross-cultural concept of robust masculinity, which, in extreme cases, can lead to increased sexual aggression. Don't just take it from a non-athlete like me. Even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, an NBA champion and a former UCLA basketball player, declared the cultural privilege from which he benefited.

"I'm especially aware of the culture of entitlement that athletes feel... they strut around campus with the belief that they can do no wrong."

I am not going to sugarcoat the point that we all know well: football players are comparable to celebrities on campus, which has dangerous implications for a certain untouchability in mindsets.

Institutionally, colleges are as inclined to protect the perpetrator over non-athletic peers. A Senate report concluded that administrators tend to do three actions to protect their athletes, and therefore, their brand.

1. Higher-ups at the school discourage victims from reporting to police outside of the university. In this method, they let the campus police "handle it" and not report to less-biased city forces.

2. Admins downplay an assault's severity, making it less 'criminal', more unintentional and of an event to "move on from".

3. The athletic department can work with the administration and strategically delay proceedings while athletes finish their season.

If these three things are not enough as far as systemic ethical transgressions go, when athletes are found responsible for sexual assault, they may face small consequences.

Just to pull an infamous example from my home state of Texas, Baylor University continues to wrestle with how to deal with battery; I don't need to go over the sheer amount of claims that they were conscious and compliant to most allegations of assault involving their student-athletes.

So, not only is our mindset messed up, but the administration who is supposed to protect us is similarly bungled.

Obviously, athletes are not bad people, only people that are subject to their environment and protected by their talent. But crime is crime. The unnamed victim of Brock Turner said it well as she argued that being "an athlete at a university should not be an entitlement to leniency, but an opportunity to send a message that sexual assault is against the law" no matter your status.

Throwing a ball does not make someone above the rules.

Yes, I realize that my words have become trite. Scary articles, documentaries, and books about the sheer magnitude of sexual crime in college abound. But I see my seemingly-repetitive diction more as a reflection of our fallen collegiate system, rather than of myself.

With my article, I only ask that you keep fighting for victims like my childhood friend, for the classmate who sits next to you in lecture, for yourself. This institutional and social discrepancy of "athletics above all else" happens at more universities than I had the breath to mention.

Your first step is taking a searing examination at the failure of American universities to grapple successfully with campus rape in the systematic pattern of protecting student athletes more than other students. The next steps follow naturally. Take part in the activism at your school, encourage survivors, and productively confront the problem. Fear not, the policies will change with your effort.

Politics aside, we are in a time for you to continue speaking the truth, even if your voice trembles.

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