Arts & Culture / Mosaic / January 24, 2013

Pledging to find a place in Greek life

(Andrei Papancea/TKS)

(Andrei Papancea/TKS)

In the past week, Knox has been abuzz with Greek life. Now, several students have committed to a fraternity or sorority and seem excited about their decisions.

Now that students have pledged, they are becoming accustomed to their new chapters and learning more about the traditions and histories held by their chapters. Many students appear enthusiastic about their decisions to pledge.

“Recruitment was long, and complicated, and stressful, but once you realize the sorority that is for you, if there is one for you, it’s awesome, and it just turns into this insane experience that is different from anything else that you really experience at Knox,” freshman Kayleigh O’Brien said.

The decision to go through formal recruitment is a major one, and many students grappled with the idea of pledging, due to pre-obtained stereotypes about Greek life.

(Andrei Papancea/TKS)

(Andrei Papancea/TKS)

“I wasn’t someone who wanted to be in a sorority and when I chose Knox, I didn’t like the fact that they had Greek life … I knew it wouldn’t be like on TV because I knew it’s Knox, but I thought they would be smaller and I thought it wouldn’t be as popular,” freshman Mackenzie Anderson said.

A lot of students, in fact, decided to attend Knox because Greek life is not as prominent.

“I chose Knox mainly because of the lower amount of Greek life that was here, but I changed my mind,” freshman Tyler Sauter said, who pledged last week.

Students agree that Greek life at Knox is more unconventional and different than at a larger state school. Another positive factor affecting students’ decisions was Knox’s policy on rushing only after a student has been on campus for a term.

“At first I wished they did it right away, but I’m glad they didn’t … my friends at other schools … felt like they had to join one, so they did. For me, I feel it was more of a calculated decision, and I feel like I have my friends who aren’t in sororities, which is why I think sororities work so well here,” Anderson said.

Of course, many students decided not to join, for reasons ranging from cost to time commitment.

“[I decided not to rush] mostly for the time commitment reasons,” freshman Hiba Ahmed said. Ahmed considered recruitment, and attended a Greek event during formal recruitment. That is when she realized her commitments would be too much if she added Greek life to her plate.

“I just did not have enough time to get everything done, let alone rush. So if I couldn’t rush during the week, I didn’t know how much time I’d be able to give to a sorority,” she said.

Though many students considered rushing, many decided not to.

“I thought about going to rush week just to have fun and to meet people but then I realized it really wasn’t something I could see myself doing,” freshman Carly Berenstein said. “I realized that I was part of so many groups of campus and that a society of girls wasn’t something I could see myself as a part of. It wasn’t that I had stigmas against it; it was just another commitment for me.”

Just as Greek life is not for everyone, the pledge process itself can be equally polarizing.

“I think you really have to be willing to put yourself out there … I don’t think that works for everyone, even if the girls are really open and really good at getting people out of their shells,” Anderson said. “I know that if I were more of a shy person, I wouldn’t have liked it at all. I think that’s why a lot of girls do informal.”

Because Greek life is less prominent on Knox’s campus, students have fewer sororities and fraternities to choose from.

“It all depends on what a person wants and what types of sororities there are on campus. You might be into Greek life, but there may not be a sorority on campus that fits what you’re looking for,” O’Brien said. “I would do it at another small school, but it all depends on whether or not I would find something that fit me.”

Students who have pledged appear confident about their decision.

“I think it’s cool that you’re part of a nationwide organization … it’s an exciting thing about future connections and people you can meet,” freshman Pawel Rakowski said.

Students cited positive attributes of Greek life, including community involvement and personal self-confidence.

“It’s already helped me be more social and be more confident with myself because I have more friends. When you join a sorority, you immediately gain thirty plus friends. They don’t second guess you, they’re automatically your friends,” O’Brien said. “They keep saying this is the honeymoon phase, but I feel like it’ll continue to get better in different ways. The excitement might wear off, but I’m just going to keep getting to know people.”

Kate Mishkin
Kate Mishkin is a senior majoring in English literature and minoring in journalism. She started working for TKS as a freshman and subsequently served as managing editor, co-news editor and co-mosaic editor. Kate is the recipient of four awards from the Illinois College Press Association for news and feature stories and one award from the Associated Collegiate Press. She won the Theodore Hazen Kimble Prize in 2015 and 2014 and the Ida M. Tarbell Prize in Investigate Journalism in 2014. She has interned at FILTER Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and WGIL radio and the Virginian-Pilot.

Twitter: @KateMishkin

Tags:  Carly Berenstein formal recruitment fraternities fraternity Greek hiba ahmed Kaleigh O'Brien Mackenzie Anderson Pawel Rakowski pledge sororities sorority Tyler Sauter

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Kate Mishkin
Kate Mishkin is a senior majoring in English literature and minoring in journalism. She started working for TKS as a freshman and subsequently served as managing editor, co-news editor and co-mosaic editor. Kate is the recipient of four awards from the Illinois College Press Association for news and feature stories and one award from the Associated Collegiate Press. She won the Theodore Hazen Kimble Prize in 2015 and 2014 and the Ida M. Tarbell Prize in Investigate Journalism in 2014. She has interned at FILTER Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and WGIL radio and the Virginian-Pilot. Twitter: @KateMishkin




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