Describing “Srat” Life

To be honest, so-called “Greek” life isn’t a big deal at McGill. We don’t have the same reputation for giant frat parties that our American counterparts hold. Sororities and fraternities are not officially part of the university, unlike other campuses. Events like Derby Days are unfamiliar to students, whereas Hype Week rings a very strong bell.

I decided to give it a go this year by joining McGill’s newest sorority, Alpha Phi, as a founding member. I was expecting a student organization that empowered women and lots of stereotypical sorority activities. But the movies were all wrong; being in a sorority is nothing about finding a way to go to parties or hazing (in fact, there are strict anti-hazing policies!)

I think many people who aren’t involved in a sorority (or a fraternity) aren’t sure what it is we really do. To begin with, joining a greek-letter organization is like joining a new family. You get to meet new people and develop meaningful relationships with your brothers or sisters. You look out for each other, you take care of each other, and you remain loyal to each other. We respect our sisters and support them in achieving their goals because, as the word “family” suggests, one person’s achievement is a milestone for all of us.

One of the important aspects of sorority life is regular sisterhood (or “bonding”) sessions that help us grow. Whether it’s a sorority retreat, a delicious brunch, or just a movie night at a sister’s apartment, these small activities help us bond and encourage us to make time in our daily lives for the small things that matter. Together, we participate in a range of community service and philanthropic events too!

In addition, the drinking stereotype definitely doesn’t fit. There are actually regulations in place that promote harm reduction during events where alcohol is present. We encourage our sisters to make safe, responsible decisions at all our events, drinking or non-drinking. It’s actually quite difficult to host an event involving alcohol; our risk-management committee follows strict procedures to create a safe, equitable environment.

So, if you’re interested in joining a sorority or a fraternity, watch out for Fall and Winter recruitment. Some organizations use continuous-open bidding and individual invitations, too!

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