Movies portray Greek life as a community solely focused on getting drunk and having the “college” experience. Most of JMU’s community outside of Greek life believes that this is true, but it is not.
There are some women these various stereotypes, however, Greek life at JMU has so many more things to offer beyond parties. Various groups are constantly stereotyped; however, this just creates a negative connotation based off of something that is not accurate. Sometimes women join a sorority to find their home or to go to parties, but they gain so much more than that.
When joining Greek life, particularly a sorority, you gain leadership opportunities, networking skills, a support system, and the opportunity to give back to the community. Rochelle Polodsky, the Vice President of New Membership for the Panhellenic Council, shared with me what Greek life has done for her: “Greek life brings life to people and allows us to be ourselves and develop confidence. I know for me it started with just being on the executive board for my individual sorority and now I’m on the Panhellenic Council, and have developed confidence to join so many other clubs and organizations.”
For Rochelle, Greek life gave her the opportunity to grow into a more confident person and that has allowed her to gain more opportunities throughout the whole community.
Sorority women have a big presence on campus through other organizations. Many women in sororities are involved in service and academic fraternities, volunteer organizations, religious affiliated organizations and so much more.
One of the most impactful ways sororities are involved on campus is through their philanthropy. Philanthropy based projects are ways any organization gives back to a charitable organization. Different chapters and the Panhellenic council are always hosting something new and different to raise money and awareness for their cause.
Hayley Chipchase, a sophomore in Phi Mu at James Madison University discusses how supportive the Greek life is with philanthropy; “JMU’s Greek life has a strong focus on our philanthropies. Each chapter is very passionate about their philanthropy/philanthropic partner. Each sorority is amazing at attending and supporting each other’s events. We build each other up rather than competing with one another.”
It is also great how organizations outside of Greek life feel welcomed to attend these events. Often people who are not involved in Greek assume that they are not welcomed or invited to attend Greek based events, however, that is not the case and Philanthropy events are one place where everyone feels comfortable.
James Madison University’s Greek life encourages everyone to go Greek and works towards creating a more inclusive culture. There are women from different races, different body types, diverse socio-economic background, and women of creative ideas.
The Greek community has a large impact on boosting women’s confidence and inspiring them to be the best versions of themselves and this is true through Panhel’s Be Beautiful week and through various events different chapters hold.
Be Beautiful week is a Panhel ran program that encourages body positivity. Throughout the week there are various giveaways and events on campus that encourage women to form a positive mental and emotional state.
JMU’s Greek life does not fit into these stereotypes; it provides a community to that promotes academic excellence, leadership development, and a great support system. Greek life for me has given me the confidence to be me and learn that I can be accepted for who I am.
I encourage everyone to join Greek life because it has the power to change and alter someone’s life by empowering them to be the best versions of themselves. People outside of Greek life should try and form their own opinions.
Sorority women are placed in a box and I encourage people who are not in Greek life to look past these stereotypes and give Greek life a chance. It has a lot of opportunity and has the potential to change someone’s life like it did for me.