Joining a sorority as a minority
Being a member of a sorority and a BIPOC
“Coming into recruitment, I was scared of feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere in Panhellenic. I was terrified because I knew the majority of the girls around me didn’t look like me or come from the same background that I did. Topics like these are oftentimes brushed off, and it wasn’t until I was officially a member of Greek life where I felt comfortable enough to bring it up. Looking back on recruitment, I wish I told myself that it’s okay to feel scared and to feel unsure about whether or not you’ll fit in a new environment. All of these questions and concerns are valid. Alongside these feelings, I found myself desperately seeking representation and inclusion within chapters while going through recruitment. Kappa Delta is a place that has made me feel loved, supported, and uplifted me every step of the way ever since I spoke to them Round 1 of recruitment. A true sisterhood does not care about where you come from or how you look. Instead, they care about who you are as a person, what you value, and everything below the surface.”
- Myanh Nguyen MC '20
“Prior to going through recruitment and joining a sorority, my only knowledge of Greek Life was from what I saw in TV shows and movies. The stereotypes and environments alleged in these shows were far from diverse and inclusive, which added to how nervous I was to go through recruitment. I knew that as a Latina, I might not look exactly like all the girls and they might not understand some of the culture and life experiences I’ve had as a result of my background. Throughout recruitment, since diversity was important to me and I hoped to be a member of a DEI board in whatever chapter I joined, I asked sisters about their chapter’s DEI initiatives and their personal experience in the chapter, especially if they were also Latina. In my first round at Kappa Delta, I got to speak to an incredible woman who was kind and smart and coincidentally, also Latina. I knew KD was home when she asked about my parents and my little brother (family is a really special part of my Colombian heritage), which was something that was not asked in any other house during my recruitment. I wanted a house that loved me for me, and Kappa Delta was that place. I felt seen, and most importantly, valued from the moment I walked into the house.
My advice to any PNM, if you want to hear it, is to think about what is important to you (values, diversity, philanthropy, etc.) before going into recruitment and make sure that you ask each chapter woman about it!! Yes, we as chapter women are trying to get to know you, but I encourage you to ask us about our personal experiences as well. Follow your heart y buena suerte!”
- Brooke Cordoba MC '21
“When I was rushing I was scared I wouldn’t find a place who wanted me for who I truly was. I feared I would have to pretend to fit in with a certain stereotype of what I thought someone in a sorority was like. I thought that my hispanic background would make me a target as an outsider who didn’t belong. But when I finally decided to rush I found a place where I feel comfortable to be myself and supported to represent who I am. I found my home at KD and couldn’t be happier being surrounded by people who lift me up and celebrate me.”
- Ariana Mendoza MC '21
A message from one of our members who is a part of the Jewish community
“I think there are a lot of preconceived notions of religion’s role in a sorority. Going into recruitment, I had heard murmurs about “this sorority is really Christian” and “this sorority is mostly Jewish.” I think it is really important to first address that there is a historical aspect to these statements.
As a reflection of the times, for a lot of the 20th century, many sorority members consisted of, and were quite frankly limited to, white and Christian women. I grew up listening to stories from my Bubbie (my Jewish grandmother) about going through sorority recruitment. When she went through recruitment in the 60s at The Ohio State University, she was released from every chapter that didn’t identify as ‘a Jewish sorority’ before Party 1. And in that time period, that was okay.
Thankfully, the Panhellenic community as a whole is striving to become more inclusive towards all women. I mean come on, this is 2022… I knew I wouldn’t be released after Party 1 just because I was Jewish… But honestly… Did I?
I had my doubts. I have faced anti-semitism on many accounts, but here I was seeking membership to a sorority and I wanted them to want me. But I wanted them to want the real me, not any facade that I could’ve put up for 20 minutes. So during every party in the first round, I found a way to slip into the conversation that I am a proud Jewish woman. That was my way of standing my ground.
In my conversation at Kappa Delta, the wonderful Emmy Iannone, the 2020-2021 Kappa Delta President, said something along the lines of: she hadn’t met many Jewish folks in her life, but that her freshman year roommate, Julia Levvy, the 2020-2021 Zeta Tau Alpha President, was Jewish and they became best friends. Julia taught Emmy how to make Challah and celebrate Shabbat!
Sure, a sweet and short exchange isn’t much. But it was a lot to me. I would be welcomed in Kappa Delta as a proud Jewish woman. Which was such a relief because after meeting Emmy in those first 5 minutes I knew she was supposed to be in my life. Fast forward 3 years and she is my big sister and one of my very best friends.
As for the Jewish community I have made here, honestly, there aren’t many of us, but I always have sisters to go to Yom Kippur service with. Eight of us this past May went to Israel together on birthright through UF Hillel. We were luckily joined by other wonderful and proud Jewish women who are members of other UF Panhellenic chapters.
So in short, if you want my advice: go to the chapter that feels like home. Tell them you’re Jewish or don’t! If it’s important to you, amazing! If it isn’t, that’s okay too! The Panhellenic community is about sisterhood and friendship! If you are looking for your Jewish community, you’ll find them within your chapter or if there isn’t one, there are other Panhellenic women at this university that will gladly celebrate Shabbat with you! Do what you feel is right!
All my love,
A Kappa Delta who is currently serving as a Panhellenic Counselor for 2022 Recruitment
Being a member of a sorority and the LGBTQIA+ community
“I came into recruitment hearing a lot about Greek life from my mom and family members. I had seen all the movies and shows and thought I had an idea of what it would be like. In high school I was a part of a wonderful community in my theater program and so they were very accepting when I came out. It did not come without hardships of course, and I ended up losing several friends as well as support from my church. I had come to terms with everything and was very proud of who I was. During recruitment my freshman year, I was hit with the realization that I would have to re-come out to an entirely new group of people. This terrified me. In every round I would convince myself that I would bring it up casually but never ended up doing it. I was worried that an organization of women would not be comfortable with a queer person. I actually didn’t come out to a single person until February of my freshman year. Although my concerns were very valid, I was met with nothing but support and love. I cannot believe it took me so long to be my true self because all along I was in the best place for me. The people in Kappa Delta have pushed me to be the best version of myself and I could not be more grateful.
I let my past experiences affect me during recruitment and for almost a whole year. I wish I could’ve told myself that it is okay and that you will find your people. I hope that people going through recruitment and anyone struggling with identity know how loved they are and to be your most honest self. I promise you will find the place for you and should not settle for people who do not enthusiastically support all parts of you. For me, Kappa Delta has been a safe haven as I cannot be fully true to myself when I go home or am around family. I know that college can be a chosen family for many people in the LGBTQ+ community. I hope and know that this will happen for all of you too.”
- Merrill Garlington MC '20