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A Different Sisterhood Doesn’t Necessarily Mean a Lesser Sisterhood

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At the end of my freshman year of college, after not being able to transfer to the University of Alabama, I made a decision not to be one of those insufferable people that don’t do anything to change situations they aren’t satisfied with, or complain without taking any action. I decided that if I couldn’t transfer into my ideal college experience, I’d have to create one where I was. In my sit down with the VP of Student Affairs, I advocated for national sororities and fraternities being colonized on campus, but it was clear that she and the rest of administration were dead set against it.

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Where there’s a will, there’s a way, though, and I began looking into other options. After long nights turning into long mornings of research, I realized that there was a solution, and that solution was a local sorority.

There are plenty of people, Greek and non Greek, with misconceptions about what a local organization entails. Over the weekend some lovely fellow pupils of mine accused me of trying to start a “bull shit sorority,” and being that they are completely clueless about what I’m doing and Greek Life as a whole, I wasn’t surprised or upset, but I realized that there are plenty of people that are ignorant and misinformed about locals, and took it upon myself to set the record straight.

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What is a local sorority?

A local sorority is an independent sorority, not belonging to a larger governing council like the NPC or NPHC, and generally does not have multiple chapters.

The Downsides:

  • Smaller numbers: Unfortunately, you’ll probably never get to enjoy meeting a sister on the other side of the world and being able to immediately connect with them, knowing that you went through the same initiation and participated in the same rituals. You’ll probably have to go into a more detailed explanation about your sorority when you have conversations about Greek Life because people won’t immediately recognize the name.
  • Less resources: As most local sororities have been established much more recently than thriving, national organizations, a lot more thought needs to be put into budgeting and fundraising for holding events. However, it’s important to note that this issue isn’t entirely unique to locals.
  • No one to answer to: Because locals don’t have anyone to answer to, it’s easy for them to become negligent and not take themselves seriously enough. And unfortunately, that makes it easier for people to stereotype them as “fake” sororities.

The Upsides:

  • Building a legacy: If you’re one of the first classes of a sorority, you are literally making history. You are putting yourselves in the shoes of the women that founded some of today’s most notorious organizations.
  • Having a say: You have much more power in shaping the future of your organization in a local than in a national organization. The only people you need to convince and compromise with are your sisters, and since so many of them know you personally, they are more likely to seriously consider your input.
  • A unique sisterhood: Although you won’t enjoy the privilege of recognizing your letters all over the country, you will be able to take pride in a unique and one of a kind sisterhood, and having more common ground with your sisters. While all sororities bond over shared values, an ADPi’s experience at an SEC school could be completely different than that of her sister at a small liberal arts school in the Northwest.
  • No one to answer to: This is both a disadvantage and a benefit, because while you have no one to hold you accountable, you also have much more freedom to do as you please and see fit without fear of being reprimanded by your national headquarters. This doesn’t mean you should act in a manner that will poorly reflect on your organization, but that you don’t have to go through excruciating processes to accomplish anything.
  • Less expensive dues: Sorority dues range from $100-$500 a month depending on school size, and NO local organization would ever be nearly as costly.
  • A better opportunity to bond with sisters: It’s much harder to get to know and appreciate your sisters on an individual level when there are 300 of them on your campus. With smaller numbers, it is easier to become familiar with all of your sisters on a personal level and cherish your organization all the more.

Every chapter is different: all locals aren’t the same and all national chapters aren’t the same. There are plenty of outstanding local chapters and plenty of dysfunctional NPC chapters; so judge a sorority not by how many members it has nationwide but by the strength of the sisterhood. As much respect as I have for the NPC and the 26 sororities that have managed to not only stand the test of time but expand and flourish, being local is nothing to be ashamed of.

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