Admit it, whenever you think about sororities you think about one thing: parties.Rush just finished, and all the new talk is about mixers and date parties. Instagram is swamped with various themed pictures, ranging from “little back dress” to “high school stereotypes.” While a sorority’s image may be effected by how much or how little they mix, what is a sorority really about? Why would girls join a group that only goes out on weeknights and tailgates on Saturday’s?
In Bernard Suit’s The Grasshopper, the grasshopper spends his whole summer partying and not doing work. As a result, he dies in the winter.Within the story, a couple of ants offer to give him food as long as he eventually repaid them. To which he replies, “My dear child, you still don’t understand. The fact is that I will not work to pay you back. I will not work at all. I made that perfectly clear.” This is exactly how sororities are perceived: all play and no work.
On the other hand, the ants only focused on working. They constantly gathered food for winter, saving up so they could survive. But with all that work, how do they find time to have fun? The sorority’s ideals themselves are based upon that principle. Originally founded in 1929, my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, established the four diamond points of “sisterhood, service, scholarship, and social.” Sisters were obligated to participate in large amounts of community service, especially within the sorority’s adopted philanthropy, the Ronald McDonald House. The early years of Alpha Delta Pi were focused on the first three points of the diamond, where the fourth was almost non-existent. Today, it is almost backwards, or so it seems.
The way a sorority runs now is almost in the middle of the two extremes of work and play. What people don’t realize is that the philanthropy of a sorority is central to their identity, and they spend a lot of their time working towards helping their foundation. Behind the scenes, girls are spending countless hours organizing events like Pi Picnic, Cider for Sight, or other fundraisers for a cause. When they aren’t working towards raising money, sororities do have a social schedule. Being social is also another key to their identity, because having friends in other fraternities helps to build a network within the community.
The next question that comes to mind is happiness. Is being in a sorority the same thing as being in Utopia? Suits states, “Then we appear to be left with game playing as the only remaining candidate for Utopian occupations, and therefore the only possible remaining constituent of the ideal of existence.” In his eyes, being in a sorority that isn’t only play would not be possible for a Utopian society, but in reality, how awful would a sorority that only partied be? The mix of the work and play within a sorority seems like a good balance to me, and although Suits may be right, that Utopia is all play, maybe there isn’t meant to be a Utopia. Having some work is necessary to define a person and even an establishment.