February 9, 2011

New Panhel Rules Draw Mixed Reactions From Sorority Members

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As administrators push to reform the drinking culture on campus, members of sororities in the Panhellenic Council reacted differently to the changes. While some worried that these reforms changed the cohesion within sororities, others said that they had led to more bonding between members.

This year, new members cannot drink with initiated members for the first three weeks of the new member period. Next year the period will be five weeks, and in 2013, the entire new member process will be dry.

Corinna Romantic ’12, Panhellenic Council president, said that the gradual implementation is preferable to changing the rules “cold turkey.”

“We’re still figuring out what we’re going to do,” Romantic said. “It’s a transition. We can do whatever we want now but in the end we have to get to what the University wants.”

Some sorority members said they feel that the changes are positive and that new rules have helped them “bond” with the people in their chapter.

“It’s made it easier because when you are not sloshed, you can actually talk to people,” said Kathryn Winner ’14, who is a new member of Pi Beta Phi.

“It’s good for bonding,” said Megan Wildman ’14, a new member of Alpha Xi Delta. “As long as you find fun things to do, it’s not a big deal.”

“In terms of social responsibility, it’s better for people to get to know each other first, before bringing out the alcohol,” Romantic said. “This will create more accountability, and people will be looking out for each other.”

However, many sorority members said they feel that there is now a lack of cohesion within the chapters.

“It’s harder for upperclassmen to get to know the younger girls without [the freshmen at] mixers,” Audrey Denvir ’12, a sister of Alpha Epsilon Phi, said.

“It’s a lot more stressful in terms of mixers,” Dani Gredona ’13, an Alpha Epsilon Phi sister, said. “We want freshmen to come, but they can’t drink.”

“Last year we had multiple mixers every week. It was fun, there was craziness,” Gredona said. “This year it’s more controlled. You don’t feel like you’re in the same sorority. It’s really frustrating.”

“The hardest part is to align our plans with the IFC,” Romantic said. “It’s harder for the IFC because they have more things to work through than we do.”

Several sorority members said they resent the Panhellenic Council’s rapid implementation of stricter rules for sorority women, while the implementation for fraternity men is more relaxed. The consequences for drinking range from an individual girl getting sent home that night to three weeks of social probation for the entire sorority.

“It’s a little unequal. It puts the girls in a really bad place and makes kind of an awkward environment,” Sarah McMahon ’13, a sister of Kappa Delta, said.

“Some [fraternities] make a clear and obvious effort to make it more comfortable, but I would not say that they’re united on that front,” McMahon said.

According to Anna Mazur ’14, a new member of Alpha Epsilon Phi, different houses follow the rules in different ways. Some do not allow new members to attend events after certain times, some put the alcohol upstairs and some simply do not drink. Many fraternities have open parties after mixers so that everyone can still have alcohol.

“The guys are trying to embrace it,” Isabella Poggi ’13, a sister of Kappa Kappa Gamma, said. “They don’t want to piss off a house and they want to build good relations.”

“They still want to meet girls,” Emma Brofsky ’13, a sister of Alpha Xi Delta, said. “They have dry mixers and themed parties. It depends on the house. Some are more inclined to meet girls in settings without alcohol.”

Many fraternities and sororities have had dry events together, including catered dinners, dodgeball games, nerf gun wars, minigolf, bowling and snowball fights.

“They’re trying to find ways to continue to meet each other,” Romantic said. “Some individual fraternity chapters are following the rules to a T. Some put up more resistance and break the rules whenever they can.”

Romantic said that so far there have not been any complaints about the changes from sorority chapters, but “some individuals within chapters don’t understand the rules and we weren’t going to get everyone to jump on board the first time around.”

“We’re moving to a place where we can get people to understand that this is what’s best for them.” Romantic said. “We’re trying to transition them into it and people are starting to understand.”

Many new members did not know that this year’s rules would differ from previous year’s.

Original Author: Laura Shepard