Pink Is Not My Favorite Color

Once upon a time, as a little freshman trying to find her niche in college life, I decided to attend an informal recruitment event for an all-women’s organization on campus. Yes, I am the member of a National Panhellenic Council sorority. Does it surprise you? Did you expect to see a blonde, baby blue-eyed sorority girl in a pink, low-cut cashmere sweater sitting behind the words on your screen?

Well if you did, shame on you, because I’m not any of those things (and I don’t even own anything cashmere). For the last 3+ years I’ve been an active member and leader of my sorority, holding two separate Exec Board positions and having experience on the campus Panhellenic Council. Believe me when I say that this bitch has been involved.

Perhaps you’re wondering how in the world a nerdy, shy, nonathletic, nonsmoking and nondrinking, former band-geek got wrapped up in the Greek system – which is infamous for bitchiness, alcohol poisoning, and general catty skankity (and that applies to both the men and women). The only one of those criteria I had down-pat was the bitchiness, which I was trying to quell for the sake of making new friends. I won’t lie and say that I was lured to the initial event by the promise of sisterhood and manicure parties. Rather, I was tempted into going by this kinda-sorta-maybe gigantic crush on a femme bisexual girl who had announced the event at several of the introductory meetings of clubs I was trying to join (among them the Science Fiction/Fantasy Club, and our campus LGBT advocacy group). Not to mention, at least 1/3 of my female hallmates (including my roommate) had gone through the formal recruitment (rush) process and most had accepted invitations to join (bids). I was jealous, I’ll admit. My roommate was ecstatic about her new sisters and when she started hanging up her chapter’s letters on the wall, I was even more determined to see what the fuss was all about.

I still remember exactly what I wore to the sorority house that night. Draped purple shirt, skinny jeans (which was a huge step for me, as I hadn’t ever had the courage to wear them before college, too afraid I’d look like a land whale), and bright red flats. At the recruitment party, I was greeted by a 5-foot-nothing black girl with a huge, bright, and genuine smile who bounced a little when she introduced herself as the Recruitment Director. I didn’t have the slightest clue what that meant, but I smiled and nodded all the same.

I talked to a lot of women that night (one of whom would eventually become my Big Sister), though if you’d asked me their names I’d only be able to rattle off a few. I went home excited and more happy than I’d been in a long time. It was honestly the most I’d ever talked to people I barely knew for such a long period of time. Was it awkward? Yeah, a couple of times when the conversation lulled, but as long as someone brought up Twilight (which was just getting really huge at the time) there was always something to talk about.

I received a bid the next evening and accepted immediately. I’d already discussed the possibility of joining with my parents mom and it was established that I’d have to pay my own way. When I accepted my bid, I really honestly had no idea what I was getting into…

I had no idea that my sorority’s colors were pink and white.

I had no idea how much it would cost.

I had no idea that my chapter was unpopular on campus.

I had no idea what “sisterhood” meant.

I had no idea that it would be the best decision of my life.

No, I’m not kidding. Being a sorority girl has been the most influential part of my development as a young woman. I’ve learned how to speak in front of large groups, how to plan social events, how to mediate problems, how to manage and construct an organization’s budget, not to mention I’ve found a large pool of women from which to pick my bridesmaids one day…

My mom once said, “Of all of my daughters, you are the last one I would have expected to join a sorority.” I really think that’s a testament to how lucky I was to find a chapter where I felt at home.

Being a “sorority girl” doesn’t mean I go out to frat parties and get schwastey-faced until I end up in some dude’s bed. It also definitely doesn’t mean that I judge everyone by their appearance and the brand name of their shoes. I did not pay to have these friends (being Treasurer really opens your eyes to just how much money is essential to running any organization). Some of the stereotypes of sororities can be entirely true, but I firmly believe you can’t judge us until you’ve spent some time around us, maybe even living with us. My chapter, though small and struggling a bit in terms of membership, is full of vibrant and beautiful women who put their heart and soul into loving and supporting one another. I’m proud to be a part of an organization that will love me for life, no matter where I go or what I end up doing. I’m still me, just me as a part of something interconnected and special.

And my favorite color is still green.

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