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  #1  
Old 07-01-2013, 05:16 AM
RCM2020 RCM2020 is offline
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Greek letters / spelling out letters

I was recently at a fraternity and sorority life conference (I'm an undergrad) and I noticed many of the other students with me wore philanthropy or formal or date party shirts that had the letters of another organization. For example, I saw a SigEp wearing a shirt that says "ΔΖ turtle bowl." At my school, if delta Zeta sold a shirt, they would have it spelled out "delta zeta."

I asked one of the students about this out of curiosity, if people can wear other letters. He said yeah, and an advisor walked by and joined this conversation. I explained that my school spells it out, and the advisor asked me, what's the difference? And to be honest, I didn't have an answer. She even told me there isn't even a national policy about wearing other letters! (Maybe organization based though)

Is there a difference by using your Greek letters or spelling it out? Do they both not mean the same thing? It seems silly but I've never thought about it that way. This year we changed our philanthropy shirt design by removing our Greek letters on it and spelling it out so we could sell to other students. But did we really have to? Are these just unspoken rules?

I'm curious on other opinions.
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:01 AM
amIblue? amIblue? is offline
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I think it's a campus (or possibly organization) culture thing. We wore shirts with other organization's letters at my school. This was generally sorority girls wearing fraternity t-shirts.
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  #3  
Old 07-01-2013, 09:06 AM
Sen's Revenge Sen's Revenge is offline
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For whatever reason, it "feels" better when it's written out, rather than the symbols. It's been like that for years, but the advisor is right: there really is no difference.

In NPHC orgs, we don't typically have event shirts and really try not to appear on all-greek t-shirts unless it makes us look terrible that we haven't included ourselves.

It really comes down to the individual policy of your organization, though. If the org is silent on the matter, then local practice rules. And yes, that varies by campus.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:43 AM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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Originally Posted by Sen's Revenge View Post
For whatever reason, it "feels" better when it's written out, rather than the symbols. It's been like that for years, but the advisor is right: there really is no difference.
Well, I would disagree with the advisor. Like you say, it depends on the policies and traditions of individual GLOs. For some orgs, there is a difference between the Greek letters and spelling out the letters in English. In my fraternity, only initiated brothers can wear the Greek letters; we don't even allow probationary members (pledges) to wear them. One way to think of it is that the letters spelled out simply indicate the name of the fraternity, while the Greek letters symbolize values or principles brothers have sworn to uphold. So if we're included on a tee shirt that will be worn by anyone other than brothers, the letters should be spelled out.

Then, of course, there's FIJI, which doesn't allow its letters on tee shirts to start with, much less allow non-members to wear its letters.

The advisor's "what's the difference" is just another example of why we should never assume that all GLOs do things the way our GLO does.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:53 AM
MaryPoppins MaryPoppins is offline
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Originally Posted by MysticCat View Post
Then, of course, there's FIJI, which doesn't allow its letters on tee shirts to start with, much less allow non-members to wear its letters.


This policy puzzles me because a brother of FIJI asked the future Bettie Locke to wear a FIJI badge but then said that she wouldn't be a member. This is what led her to the found Kappa Alpha Theta with three friends. I guess they must have changed policies since 1869?

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Last edited by MaryPoppins; 07-01-2013 at 10:55 AM.
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  #6  
Old 07-01-2013, 11:02 AM
Sen's Revenge Sen's Revenge is offline
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Originally Posted by MysticCat View Post
Well, I would disagree with the advisor. Like you say, it depends on the policies and traditions of individual GLOs. For some orgs, there is a difference between the Greek letters and spelling out the letters in English. In my fraternity, only initiated brothers can wear the Greek letters; we don't even allow probationary members (pledges) to wear them. One way to think of it is that the letters spelled out simply indicate the name of the fraternity, while the Greek letters symbolize values or principles brothers have sworn to uphold. So if we're included on a tee shirt that will be worn by anyone other than brothers, the letters should be spelled out.

Then, of course, there's FIJI, which doesn't allow its letters on tee shirts to start with, much less allow non-members to wear its letters.

The advisor's "what's the difference" is just another example of why we should never assume that all GLOs do things the way our GLO does.
But in the case of the person she asked, there was no difference. Had she asked a Sinfonian or a PhiGam, they'd have had an answer, right?
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:23 AM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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Originally Posted by MaryPoppins View Post
I guess they must have changed policies since 1869?
I think that may be the case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sen's Revenge View Post
But in the case of the person she asked, there was no difference. Had she asked a Sinfonian or a PhiGam, they'd have had an answer, right?
Sort of, but that's my point. In the case of the person she asked, there was no difference (presumably) in her sorority. But her "what's the difference?" suggests there isn't one ever.

If there's one thing I've seen time and time again on GC, it's that there is an understandable tendency, particularly among collegiates or new alumni, to assume that the way things are done in "our" GLO or on "our" campus is the way they're done by everyone everywhere.

I'm not saying the advisor's response wasn't understandable. But a better response would have been "it varies according to policies of specific fraternities and sororities -- to some it matters and to others it doesn't -- and according to campus culture."
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  #8  
Old 07-01-2013, 11:34 AM
angels&angles angels&angles is offline
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I know in my org on my campus, we would always spell out our letters for anything a New Member or nonmember might wear (tshirts for formals, philanthropy, etc). But I know other orgs on my campus did not do this.
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  #9  
Old 07-01-2013, 11:43 AM
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Sciencewoman Sciencewoman is offline
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My daughter said she wasn't allowed to use the Pi Beta Phi Greek letter tote bag she received from her rec writer until she was initiated. She could only wear items that had Pi Beta Phi spelled out. She also has a FIJI-Chi Omega fundraiser shirt in her now-extensive Greek event shirt collection.

We don't have a letters rule...the only stipulation is that only initiated members can wear anything with our crest on it.
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  #10  
Old 07-01-2013, 02:39 PM
ChioLu ChioLu is offline
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Originally Posted by Sciencewoman View Post
My daughter said she wasn't allowed to use the Pi Beta Phi Greek letter tote bag she received from her rec writer until she was initiated. She could only wear items that had Pi Beta Phi spelled out. She also has a FIJI-Chi Omega fundraiser shirt in her now-extensive Greek event shirt collection.

We don't have a letters rule...the only stipulation is that only initiated members can wear anything with our crest on it.
Not allowing your New Members to wear letters until being initiated is (now) called HAZING. It singles out what 1 group of members can do, or cannot do.

Chi Omega (also) can put letters on a shirt which non-members can wear, but no one except members can wear the crest.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:49 PM
shirley1929 shirley1929 is offline
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Not allowing your New Members to wear letters until being initiated is (now) called HAZING. It singles out what 1 group of members can do, or cannot do.

Chi Omega (also) can put letters on a shirt which non-members can wear, but no one except members can wear the crest.
Wait...what's the difference in letting a NM wear a shirt with letters but not one with the crest that makes one hazing and one not?

This is one of those cases of "it's hazing!" that muddies the water of what actual hazing is. IMHO.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:49 PM
WhiteRose1912 WhiteRose1912 is offline
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Originally Posted by ChioLu View Post
Not allowing your New Members to wear letters until being initiated is (now) called HAZING. It singles out what 1 group of members can do, or cannot do.
I'm pretty sure this varies? I know Theta Phi considers it hazing, but I thought I'd heard of at least one NPC org that had a national rule about only initiated sisters wearing letters. New members don't know what they mean, so why should they wear them? I see both sides of the issue.

Edit to add:

Quote:
Originally Posted by shirley1929
Wait...what's the difference in letting a NM wear a shirt with letters but not one with the crest that makes one hazing and one not?
ChioLu said "members", not "initiated sisters". I think she means that you could give your dad a shirt with letters on it, but not one with the crest--that's only for members, be they new or initiated. Correct?
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  #13  
Old 07-01-2013, 02:53 PM
honeychile honeychile is offline
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Alpha Delta Pi's policy is the same as Chi Omega's. Our use of the crest is for members only, and should never, ever appear on glassware made for alcoholic beverages. That said, it happens. That said, it upsets me when I see the crest on shot glasses etc!
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  #14  
Old 07-01-2013, 02:59 PM
shirley1929 shirley1929 is offline
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Originally Posted by WhiteRose1912 View Post
ChioLu said "members", not "initiated sisters". I think she means that you could give your dad a shirt with letters on it, but not one with the crest--that's only for members, be they new or initiated. Correct?
Ok, that makes a little more sense, I guess?
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  #15  
Old 07-01-2013, 03:32 PM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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Originally Posted by ChioLu View Post
Not allowing your New Members to wear letters until being initiated is (now) called HAZING. It singles out what 1 group of members can do, or cannot do.
It's not called "hazing" by my fraternity. It's mandated in our national bylaws. Some orgs may consider it hazing, but many other orgs do not. Distinctions in what one group of members can do as opposed to another group is not the definition of hazing. If anything, it is just a bright line that some groups have adopted to try and make sure no one gets anywhere near hazing.

Serious Question: Do you allow New Members to wear the badge instead of a new member pin prior to initiation? Because if you don't, it seems like that would also be hazing if the criterion is singling out what one group of members can do and another group of members can't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shirley1929 View Post
This is one of those cases of "it's hazing!" that muddies the water of what actual hazing is. IMHO.
Absolutely.
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