The history behind sororities

I caught myself talking to a couple of girls in a sorority last week, which got me thinking, “What exactly is a sorority, and why were they created?”  Google told me a sorority is a, “society for female students in a university or college, typically for social purposes.” Google also told me the Latin root ‘soror’ means sister. 

Sororities were first formed in 1851 and were known as fraternities until 1882. It was changed in order to better reflect the sisterhood and bond created between the women. 

Being a transfer student from Santa Rosa Junior College and growing up in Sonoma County my whole life, I have a strong foundation here. Everywhere I go in Sonoma County, I run into at least one person I know. This is not the case for all Sonoma State students. Being in an unfamiliar place without the comfort of your friends and family is very difficult. Joining a sorority is a great way for students to build a foundation while in college.

I do believe there are a variety of benefits to joining a sorority. There are some truly amazing and successful women throughout history that have been in sororities. Olympian participants and winners, first ladies, astronauts, doctors and many more have been in sororities. Jerrie Mock, first woman to successfully fly solo around the world; Nancy Goodman Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation; Carrie Underwood, Grammy award-winning singer are just a few to name of the powerful women throughout history who were involved in a sorority.  

Hands down the most incredible member in my opinion to sorority history, is Carrie Chapman Catt. Catt led the suffragist movement and was the founder of the National League of Women Voters. 

She used her sorority sisters to get support for the movement. Having a support system to rely on is a huge benefit to being a part of a sorority. The concept of a support system is still valid today. There are national and local sororities that offer a mix of different levels of support.  

Community is the foundation to the creation of sororities. Women first created them to feel connected at a time when college campuses were predominantly male. Sonoma State University is predominantly female, but a community to connect with is still needed. For all the students looking for a home away from home, sororities can offer that warm welcome.  

Personally, I am always meeting new people and making new friends. I’ll strike up conversation with literally anyone. This has led me to talk to a wide variety of people, including young, old, male, female, etc. and through this I have learned a lot about other peoples personal experiences with sororities. Some of the people I have talked to said the only reason they did not drop out of college, was because of the community they had found in their sorority and the bond they had created with there sorority sisters. 

While being in a sorority can be pricey and time consuming, there is no price to be placed on making lifelong friends especially if one is new to the area and looking for a way to get involved. 

I say time consuming because our Sonoma State University sororities hold various events in the community and fundraise to help local causes. Sororities strive to help the local community; volunteering time to help accomplish these events can be a large commitment.    

This weekend Sonoma State University students had the opportunity to be introduced to the national sororities on campus, and figure out if one was right for them. I have new appreciation for sororities, what they stand for, and what they accomplish. As you start to see the different Greek letters appear across campus, I hope you keep in mind the strong history behind it all.