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Old 03-02-2019, 09:57 AM
PhiSigmaSig PhiSigmaSig is offline
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Last edited by PhiSigmaSig; 03-03-2019 at 02:03 AM.
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Old 03-02-2019, 11:38 AM
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thetalady thetalady is offline
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Originally Posted by PhiSigmaSig View Post
Hello! I'm a sophomore, and I want to take a little this semester!

Sign-ups to be a big were during the first week in February, where it was explained over text that we need: "a 2.5 gpa, be here for at least 1 more semester, & [you can't] exceed $130 on gifts". I can do all of that.

In the contract I signed last month to qualify it says:
Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5
Current on all financial obligations (dues paid up-to-date of matching)
Maintaining active status for at least 1 semester before graduation and have no plans of taking a status with Phi Sigma Sigma

My responsibilities would also be to not haze, go to events, act as a mentor and big sister during her new member process, and share my knowledge with her throughout my lifetime.

Here's the issue... I want to go abroad next semester and I took the contract as how it directly says, being here for "at least 1 semester before graduation", and I'll be here for three after I come back. About 2 days ago, I was notified saying I wasn't eligible because the rule is that I have to be here during the next semester following this semester, and I'm heartbroken because it doesn't seem fair.

This isn't a chapter issues because I contacted a high school friend also in my sorority but at a different school, and she said they can take a little if they study abroad the next semester. It isn't a university issue either because other sorority girls I've talked to have people who are abroad right now who took a little this past fall. Apparently my founding SCD (which was last year since we're new) denied the ability to be a big during the fall to a lot of girls who wanted to go abroad in the spring, yet one of the bigs last semester is in Australia this semester so that doesn't make sense.

This rule wasn't made clear when I was applying, and I didn't hear about the debate last semester because I was a new member. The technicality is on my side, and I technically can because of the wording in the contract, yet the rule is interpreted as a no by the SCD. I don't understand why my chapter allows this at other schools, and my school allows this at other chapters, and this was in a way allowed last semester, but now it's a no.

I've also been transparent during my coffee dates so that if me not being here next semester turns new members off, they can decide to leave me off their preference list without being blindsided. There's one new member who's also a sophomore, who I really want as my little and she is also studying abroad in the fall. Since we're both going away, I thought it would be a good match and I was really excited before this news.

My president and SCD are really stuck in their decision about this and I want to petition my intelligibility but there is no judicial system set up to my knowledge where I can go to share my findings and concerns.

I asked to meet with my president and SCD on Monday about my ineligibility, and I was wondering how I could explain with the highest respect why I should be allowed to be a big, without saying that they're wrong.

Thank you for any advice <3
Think about the little sister that you might have, if the exception was made. She will have you to learn from and lean on for a couple of months, then you will be gone. In a new chapter, without a lot of members or alums to lean on, the chapter sees the need to build relationships and bonds. You will be leaving soon, so you won't be there to do that.

Be selfless.... bow out this time and do your semester away. Then come back and apply to be a big sister, when you will be there for 3 continuous semesters.
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Old 03-02-2019, 12:12 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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If this was a 20+ year old chapter and you had a big and big2 and big3 and even farther up your tree in alumnae, I would say they were being ridiculous. But you dont, so theyre not.

Also, did the girl in Australia know she was going or is that opportunity (which I assume is a once in a lifetime one) something that came up at the last minute? Im guessing its the latter and she acted in good faith that she would be there. And even if not...she is ONE out of a group and it seems everyone else was held to the same rule you are being held to.

If she is also going abroad, that is even more reason that she should have a big who is still active in the chapter.
It is all 33girl's fault. ~DrPhil
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Old 03-03-2019, 02:42 PM
AZTheta AZTheta is offline
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Sigh. This thread is why we QFP. I'm sad the OP deleted her other posts. I was enjoying her perspective and comments. Obviously someone got to her. I didn't see anything awful in what she posted. It was honest and thought-provoking and could have definitely sparked a discussion on the forum, which has been quite dead of late.

*sad face*

FWIW I think there are always kinks and growing pains in every new chapter.
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision." Bertrand Russell, The Triumph of Stupidity
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Old 03-04-2019, 10:35 PM
PhiSigmaSig PhiSigmaSig is offline
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Update: it was explained to me during the meeting I asked for today that we started with 120 alphas who then all wanted to be bigs to a class of 60 betas. They had to filter who would make the best bigs, in order to make the process more organized. It made sense to stray away from the alphas going abroad because the beta little would have no one in her family the following semester.

As the 15 gammas and 60 deltas came in, almost everyone who wanted a little was able to take one, with the exclusion of 3-4 girls this fall. With the recent informal recruitment of 15 epsilons, we had to beg sisters to take a little because there were only 6 original girls who were willing to sign up. At one point I was ready to take triplets.

My family is large. The alphas were assigned twins, who during the beta recruitment took one little and another set of twins. One twin took a gamma and then a delta little, while the other twin took delta twins, one of which is me. I actually come from the largest family in my sorority due to all the sibling and twin taking, which is surprisingly uncommon in my chapter. There is only one other set of twins in my chapter I know who aren't alphas and also are not related to my big/little tree.

During the meeting, I was grateful to learn the history behind the interpretation of the rule. I learned last semester the SCD allowed girls to take a little even if they were going abroad, because she didn't feel the rule was relevant with everyone having some sort of family now. She saw it as an opportunity for the gbig and the glittle to meet, and an opportunity to create stronger family connections across classes. However, there was a backlash from the alphas who were denied the privilege last year, making the new/current SCD too nervous to do the same thing.

I was worried and disheveled because I was interpreting the situation as a feeling of disempowerment among the exec. I was worried they felt that their hands were tied and that they felt that they *couldn't* change how the alphas envisioned things should be run. I realize now it is rather a feeling of fear that's controlling this decision, as it was stated to me during the meeting, "I don't want them [the alphas who couldn't take littles] to yell at me too, after seeing it happen last semester, so I'm going to say no."

In my eyes, I think the SCD last semester was doing right. She was able to see that the gammas and deltas would still have the alphas if the betas weren't around. She saw it as an opportunity for gbigs and glittles to get close and form a multi-initiation-class bond. She believed that it was an unfortunate situation that the alphas were in during their founding year, but it would be unfair to restrain other classes from a privilege that sisters in other states have, and that other fsl chapters at our school have.

I recognize now that I'm not the first to fall into this situation, and after speaking to other sophomores in my position who are in the new epsilon class, I've realized I'm not going to be the last. I believe we are all 18, 19, 20, & 21, and we should be able to make decisions as adult women on who we want as our big/little. I think sisters should support each other going abroad and genuinely want to be close to their gbig/glittle. Potential bigs should be transparent with new members if they are going abroad, and if a big studying abroad is a turn off, the new member should be able to exclude them from their preference list, while still having the privilege to make the decision for themselves as an adult.

Where it stands, I was given a choice to study abroad or take a little, and to make the decision by Wedesday. I took this choice with gratitude. I spoke to the girl who I had hit it off with, and had envisioned as my little. We share the same graduating class, the same major, the same ethnicity, the same study abroad semester, and have many of the same interests. She saw I could be help to her academically, socially, and personally as she is also the first international student in my sorority. I met her a day before recruitment during an ethnic holiday festival, of which non of my sisters had interest to attend. She said she had met a delta who convinced her to go through recruitment but didn't know how. I helped her find our social media page and get directions to our house on recruitment day. She said she would have picked me as her big if she had a choice.

I am thoughtfully deciding what to do when it comes to study abroad, as being a big (as much as I talk about it) is not the only thing I'm thinking about. I also have internship start dates (spring), career fairs (fall), traditional holidays (spring), interviewing (fall), significant graduation dates (spring), recruitment (fall), leadership elections (spring), and summer/winter courses on my mind. I wanted to share this story because I believe different situations have different solutions, and something that potentially works better in a founding class may not work the best in later years. I believe fear should not run decisions and that sometimes backlash comes from progression due to jealousy. I believe we should be supportive of sisters branching out to educate themselves in other cultures, and that we should care about our family tree even if this girl is your glittle rather than your little. Even if she isn't your responsibility, she is your sister and should be welcomed into the family. I believe as SCD, president, or other exec position, you should feel empowered and supported to make decisions on behalf of what is wanted and fair by your sisters rather than was was done last year. I believe that we are adults and should be able to make our own decisions if we honestly believe we fit best with someone, and that big/little relationships last longer than a semester away does.

While my ineligibility has not changed, unfortunately, perhaps this is food for thought for someone else. I discourage ultimatums and believing that the chapter will abandon a sister without a big for a semester. I would love to encourage sisters to support new members during their first semester while also being allowed to explore their own opportunities, and trusting in the sisterhood to support a little while her big is away for those three months. I believe cultures can be changed, and while I know my family is strong and others may not be, saying "that's not how it is so we shouldn't try" wont help, but working on creating a supportive community can. I have a passion for supporting others, within the sisterhood or not, and creating a welcoming community. I'm sure the interpretation of this rule will eventually be changed, and even though I won't get to benefit from it abroad, I'll be there shaping a supportive culture.

Last edited by PhiSigmaSig; 03-04-2019 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:23 AM
GreekOne GreekOne is offline
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It sounds like you have a lot in common with the woman that you would have chosen for your little. There is absolutely no reason why you can't continue to bond and support her in every way that you would if you were able to be her big.

While certainly supportive and friendly with my little during college, after decades out, I am not particularly close with her any longer. We live hundreds of miles away and only really converse on social media. Whereas, I have a group of about a dozen sisters that were all in different pledge classes, graduation years, families, etc that I see almost weekly.

The big/little relationship is important to helping new members acclimate into a new chapter but it doesn't have to restrict your relationship with your new friend.

Best of luck studying abroad. I hope that you get a great little sometime down the road. But, don't let this set back stop you from forging a bond with this new member that you have recently enjoyed meeting.
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