I never wanted to be a part of Greek life in college.
Visiting colleges as a high school senior, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about those kinds of social organizations. At that point, I had decided that I would just use my time on campus to join other clubs that interested me.
But Greek life at Augustana is a little different than at other schools. Here, the rush process takes place during the second half of the year. Other schools do it in the beginning of the year and some even have it the week before school starts.
That type of a process works very well for those institutions, but I think Augustana does it right. Augustana Greek life has students rush after they’ve gotten a chance to get used to the college schedule, living with a roommate, and after they’ve met a foundational group of friends.
That way students have the chance to add another group to current extracurriculars and students get to meet so many new people - it’s unreal.
Fast forward to my freshman year, walking around Augustana’s campus I saw all of the Greek students in their letters, integrated into every aspect of the college. They were students in my class, my coworkers, my club leaders... they were everywhere.
The Greek chapters on campus host a series of different events from fundraisers to pageant shows. After my first few weeks on campus, it was clear that Greek life was a part of Augustana’s culture and it was making a difference in the surrounding community.
The Greek students weren’t an isolated group of people that stuck to themselves They were just Augie students that walked the campus like I did. I began to realize the similarities between myself and these other students and quickly became friends with a lot of them.
When spring term rolled around, it was time to decide if I wanted to rush and meet all of the groups. All of my friends were rushing, so I did too. It was fun to get dressed up and meet new people. I loved the rush process and, to my surprise, I could tell that there were a few groups I would have a lot of fun joining.
At the end I was invited to join a group - which was my favorite and my first choice. I paced around my room, trying to justify the commitment of joining a sorority, while I heard people screaming excitedly in the hall about the invitations they got. I was unsure of what to do with my situation and ultimately, I chose to not join as a first year.
It’s one of my biggest regrets during my time here at Augustana.
For the next three years, I was fortunate to be able to do some really great things with my time. I joined the Campus Ministries leadership team, I learned Photoshop in the EDGE center, I studied abroad in Rome, Italy, I got a second on campus job, and more.
Now, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t have been able to do these things if I had joined Greek life as a freshman, because I absolutely would have.
The point is that I was still able have phenomenal experiences despite not joining a sorority. Most importantly, I never felt ostracized from my Greek friends. I remained good friends with everyone and I watched a lot of my friends pledge, join, and participate in different Greek groups throughout the years.
But as years passed, I began to imagine what my life would have been like if I had joined the sorority as a first-year student. I definitely would’ve been surrounded by great people in a group that I admired.
Then during the spring of my junior year, I was given the chance to become an honorary member of the sorority I originally wanted to join. I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity again and without any hesitation I accepted the offer.
I began my senior year as a full-fledged member of the group.
I was expected to come to the weekly meetings, do the same amount of service hours, attend required events, and more. Being an honorary member has been one of my favorite parts of senior year.
It’s given me a second chance to do something I wasn’t ready to do as a first year - not everyone gets that.
I’m so proud to be a member of a group that shares my values, passion, leadership, and respect and I appreciate that they embrace me and the three other honorary members as just another part of their big, wonderful family.
While you don’t have to join Greek life to have a fantastic four years at Augustana, I can say that being involved with the Greek fundraisers, attending Greek sponsored campus events, or even joining a group will enhance your experience more than you may even know is possible.
If you’re curious, take some time to learn more about Greek Life at Augustana. You might be surprised about what you find!