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  #1  
Old 11-08-2007, 10:16 PM
lemons232 lemons232 is offline
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starting a local on a non-greek campus

I am trying to become a founder of a local sorority on a campus that does not and will not support a legitimate greek life. It has become a dream of mine to become part of an organization that supports sisterhood and friendship along with strong academics, community service and of course fun! So I thought that I would make a positive change to campus by starting a social group for women on campus with the mission of a sorority.
I decided to play along with the rules established by the campus which included allowing all members of the community, men and women, into the organization. I was sure that we could get around that by advertising and promoting the group as a WOMEN's group on campus. But I just met with the student activities group and they want our campus to specifically state that it is a CO-ED fraternity. They have even changed the fact that we call members "sisters."
I am extremely discouraged now and I'm wondering if it's even worth it. So should I compromise my original goals in order to be a part of a fraternity, sorority, whatever that is recognized and fits within the university's guidelines?
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2007, 11:13 PM
AlwaysSAI AlwaysSAI is offline
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If your org doesn't meet the guidelines to be recognized by campus that will cause many hurdles in advertising and recruiting new members.

Honestly, I'm in a co-ed fraternity. It's the most fun I've ever had--seriously. I love it. We have ritual, initiation--we're like every other greek org out there.

Maybe you could charter a chapter of Phi Sigma Pi because we are not at all affiliated with the social greek system. But, our main purpose is to foster fellowship among our members. (www.phisigmapi.org)

What about service orgs? They are not affiliated with the social greek system either. There are many service sororities out there. I know of Omega Phi Alpha and Gamma Sigma Sigma.

I would talk to your student activities office again and find out exactly what they define as "greek life" because there may be many loopholes that you could take advantage of.

Unless, of course, you really want something just like NPC.
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2007, 12:53 PM
LPIDelta LPIDelta is offline
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Just a question--if this organization is not going to be what you, as a founder, want it to be, then should you really want to proceed? Greek organizations are typically founded on certain values--and if this organization is not going to reprepsent your values of bringing WOMEN together, then I am not so sure I would want to move forward.

Can you work with the campus to change the rules, so to speak, or is that out of the question?
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  #4  
Old 11-10-2007, 12:45 AM
lemons232 lemons232 is offline
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All of the rules at my school are so strict and non-negotiable that we knew going into this that suing the school could be an option for creating a sorority. Needless to say that's a little too messy, so we're trying to work with the admins.
While I did say I wanted the organization to be about sisterhood and women, I have done some re-evaluating of my motivation. Since my campus is 66% women, I don't feel like there would really be a strong male presence. To ensure that we have female leadership (which surprisingly is a problem on my campus) I'm going to ask if we can have a rule of only women in the executive positions. I really want to make a group on campus that brings together people from every dorm, every major, with any interests. I think creating such an organization would be a positive impact on my campus which has always been my number one goal.
I'd appreciate any other advice/input. Thanks for the comments, it helped me put things in perspective!
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  #5  
Old 11-10-2007, 07:40 AM
ZetaXiDelta ZetaXiDelta is offline
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If there is enough support and interest in a SORORITY and your school won't allow it, I say maybe you SHOULD look at legal options. Don't compromise what you want...your campus may have a strong female presence today but demographics may possibly change once you are no longer there, therefore leaving the door open to a situation you didn't think would happen - coed. You shouldn't just back down without a fight if it is something you truly want and believe in.

Remember...well-behaved women seldom make history. I don't know who said the quote but I love it!
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Last edited by ZetaXiDelta; 11-10-2007 at 07:41 AM. Reason: typo
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  #6  
Old 11-10-2007, 08:03 AM
Senusret I Senusret I is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZetaXiDelta View Post

Remember...well-behaved women seldom make history. I don't know who said the quote but I love it!
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
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  #7  
Old 11-11-2007, 01:13 AM
ZetaXiDelta ZetaXiDelta is offline
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Originally Posted by Senusret I View Post
thank you
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  #8  
Old 11-12-2007, 12:40 PM
RACooper RACooper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lemons232 View Post
All of the rules at my school are so strict and non-negotiable that we knew going into this that suing the school could be an option for creating a sorority. Needless to say that's a little too messy, so we're trying to work with the admins.
Trying to work or negotiate through the process should always be the first and heck last choice - it's only when there isn't anymore choices or avenues open should you consider formal legal action... basically because if you go the litigation route you are more or less forcing each side into adversarial roles that can last a loooong time.


Quote:
While I did say I wanted the organization to be about sisterhood and women, I have done some re-evaluating of my motivation. Since my campus is 66% women, I don't feel like there would really be a strong male presence. To ensure that we have female leadership (which surprisingly is a problem on my campus) I'm going to ask if we can have a rule of only women in the executive positions.
That last bit will no doubt be a conflict issue again with the school - if the school is adamant that your Local be Co-ed I can't see them agreeing to any sort of clause that is then exclusionary within the group itself...

However you could mandate a rule that say mandates an even split of the executive between the sexes with a conditional clause creating an exception if the "quota" isn't filled in the first round of elections/nominations (or something like that) that the "quota" is removed in the interest of filling the positions.

Quote:
I really want to make a group on campus that brings together people from every dorm, every major, with any interests. I think creating such an organization would be a positive impact on my campus which has always been my number one goal.
See now if you market yourselves to the school like the above they'd buy into it - the school is opposed to the idea of a single-sex only org. I'm guessing on exclusionary grounds so the more you down play the single-sex aspect and play up the service and community aspect the better your chances...

However you could always go for the long-term in founding a Co-ed that could then split into brother and sister orgs. once membership gets "too large" in the future
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  #9  
Old 11-13-2007, 10:24 PM
lemons232 lemons232 is offline
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I am completely frustrated. I held an interesting meeting tonight and no one showed up. I know there probably wasn't enough advertising but I have basically been acting alone in my efforts since both of my partners have been sick. I put up as many fliers as there were places on campus but we had trouble getting the room reservation and this was at the same time that they changed us to a co-ed fraternity so I didn't get them until three days before the meeting.
Also my roommate was telling me that one of the guys, someone I considered a friend and who is in the underground fraternity here, was saying that we were stupid for even considering starting a local and that it's basically a terrible idea. I know I don't have to listen to that but it's just another thing to put me down about the whole founding of a women's fraternity.
I have the support from the office of student activities here which is really important. But is that even enough? When do I know to just give up?
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  #10  
Old 11-13-2007, 11:35 PM
LPIDelta LPIDelta is offline
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You have the support to start a women's fraternity, or to start a co-ed? Again, starting a co-ed was not what you set out to do, and it will likely not meet your goal of having an organization for women on campus.

Groups like this don't start with interest meetings--they start with a small group of friends coming together, determining the goals for the group and going from there. You have to start talking to your friends and dorm mates to determine if there really is an interest. Once you have a group for people to join, it will be easier. That said, I still question why you are moving forward if this group is not going to be able to fulfill your original purpose? Good luck!
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  #11  
Old 11-15-2007, 08:54 PM
lemons232 lemons232 is offline
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I realized I sound really whiny on here when actually everything's pretty good. So they changed the fact that we're a sisterhood but that doesn't mean my goals have changed. I want a way to bring lots of different people together just to have fun, do community service, and really be a part of an organization on campus. So we're moving ahead and it's going to be awesome!
I have three other girls who are totally with me (though one of them is gonig through surgery right now) The only thing that's not so great is the fact that the underground fraternity is adamently against the creation of another greek org on campus. I don't understand why, they're national (Psi Upsilon) and we're not and we don't even want the same kind of people. Any insight on how we should approach the situation?
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  #12  
Old 11-15-2007, 11:02 PM
AlwaysSAI AlwaysSAI is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lemons232 View Post
The only thing that's not so great is the fact that the underground fraternity is adamently against the creation of another greek org on campus. I don't understand why, they're national (Psi Upsilon) and we're not and we don't even want the same kind of people. Any insight on how we should approach the situation?
You'll always face opposition when you are doing something new. Honestly, they may not want the competition. If you are going to start a co-ed org. you may be pulling from the guy-pool and they may not like that.

Heck. My SAI chapter was chartered in 1999 and before that Mu Phi Epsilon had the monopoly on women. Now, some 8 years later, they are still blaming us for their decline in membership.

If it's what you want to do, do it. Don't let anyone stand in your way.
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Old 01-27-2008, 05:20 PM
lemons232 lemons232 is offline
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I realized I hadn't posted on here in awhile because I've just been so busy. But I wanted everyone to know that, despite all the problems we went through, our organization was officially recognized on January 16th!!! Though it feels like the end of a really big struggle, I know there is still so much we have to do. It's just really awesome to feel like I've accomplished a huge goal.
What we're working on right now is getting our numbers up. And on a campus that has a lot of girls, we're focusing all of our attention on recruiting them. Because of the way our campus club organization is run, nobody really has any control over our chapter operations besides us. So I have interpreted it as we are open to everyone, including guys, but our focus is bringing women into our group.
I just wanted to let anyone who wanted to know that Alpha Mu Sigma is up and running and we're prepared to show our school how awesome greek life can be!
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  #14  
Old 01-29-2008, 12:54 AM
OPhiAGinger OPhiAGinger is offline
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What about service orgs? They are not affiliated with the social greek system either. There are many service sororities out there. I know of Omega Phi Alpha and Gamma Sigma Sigma.
Thanks for the shout-out, AlwaysSAI. For the record, Omega Phi Alpha sisters can be male as well as female. Although we don't attract many male members, in my capacity as the national officer in charge of expansion I have been lucky enough to work with several outstanding "mister sisters" who helped found an OPA chapter on their campus.

Best of luck, Lemons, in getting your numbers up and don't let the administrative hurdles get you down. I know you'll do great! PM me if you need some non-traditional recruitment ideas.
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  #15  
Old 01-29-2008, 03:41 AM
PhoenixAzul PhoenixAzul is offline
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Oh that's awesome, glad to hear things are going well.

Part of the beauty of local sororities is the autonomy and self-determination/direction. But that can also be the downfall. That whole, "with great power comes greater responsibility" bit. Right now, you don't have an alumni group watching and making sure you're keeping things on the level, so perhaps enlist a group of advisors (staff/faculty of your school, perhaps community leaders?) to just act as a go-to person/people that are removed from the group. Once you start establishing alumni, then there is less and less need for this sort of oversight (although, it could be a nice gesture to initiate/honor initiate those that helped you out in the beginning).

From local greek to local greek, just be mindful that people are watching you, expecting you to fail or to step out of line. Don't give them that opportunity. You've done a tremendous amount of work, and you're reaping the rewards. Don't let anyone take that away from you and your sisters.

Welcome to the wider sisterhood of local greeks, we're here to help however we can.
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