It comes as no surprise that Elon University’s fraternity and sorority community is at a crossroads. For a couple of years now, we have torn each other down with pointless Yaks and rumors. We have thrown each other under the bus by abusing recruitment infractions and ranking one another on Greek Rank (don’t act like you’ve never been on there). We have continued to support and be passive bystanders when it comes to the negative actions and opinions of our brothers and sisters.
We can complain all we want about being under a microscope, but at this point, it’s something I completely support and find extremely necessary given how our community has evolved. It’s time for some changes, and it has been for a while.
But instead of pointing out everything we need to fix within our chapters, as Panhellenic president and as a friend, I’m going to offer some suggestions to my fellow sorority women.
Take it for what it’s worth, but there are little things here and there, easy fixes that, if we try them out, might shed some positive light on our community for once.
1. Use social media to highlight our successes, not our parties. More often than not, we choose to post every little detail about our weekends without thinking too much about how it not only portrays our chapters but also our community as a whole.
Is it your best friend’s 21st birthday? Great. Post some cute pictures of everyone in cute outfits with your cute decorations, and then save the ridiculous videos and pictures for friendly blackmail.
Are you throwing a date party this weekend? Love it. Of course, make sure everyone knows your cute theme idea and post cute pictures of you and your cute date, but does anyone want to see blurry pictures in a dark room of you and your bestie falling on the floor? No.
The point is, if we want people to stop saying that Greek life is just a social drinking club, stop feeding into the trash talk. Don’t give them anything to talk negatively about.
2. Do things with your chapter that benefit the Elon community, not just the Greek community. Don’t get me wrong — if your chapter raises thousands of dollars for your philanthropy, that’s incredible, and I hope you continue to share those success (positive social media!). But let’s start thinking about what we can do to give back to the community that gives so much to us every semester.
What are your sisters doing to get service hours? Let’s clean up the local parks and highways. Let’s volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club or Allied Churches. Let’s be a physical presence in the community instead of just a signed check or box of cans.
3. Talk about other Panhellenic women, every day. Praise them. Lift each other up, and let others know that being in a sorority is more than a social experience. It’s about service and instilling confidence in the women who surround us.
There’s nothing I believe in more than the Panhellenic community being a place where women can feel safe and cared for, where women know that the work they’re putting into their chapter and the sisters who surround them will teach them more about themselves than they’ve ever known before.
Have we become this perfect place yet? No, but I know that if any Greek community can take a kick in the a$$ and turn around and make a change, it’s ours.
Kayla Hammer is Panhellenic president at Elon University.