August 30, 1999
Breaking Down Our Rituals
Tonight was our first chapter meeting of the semester and a lot of things were changed. Apparently the Alpha Chi Omega national headquarters doesn’t like some of our practices, not because they are bad, but because people outside of our sorority can misread them. Since hazing has had a high profile in the media lately all fraternities are concerned with protecting their images. Our national advisory board has told us to change several of the things that we do in order to make sure they cannot be viewed as hazing. The biggest change tonight was the fact that we can’t sit in bond order in chapter anymore. For those of you who don’t know what that means, when we get initiated into our respective chapters we sign a “bond book” and we used to arrange ourselves in chapter meetings so that we were sitting in the order we signed that book (alphabetically by pledge class). Anyway, nationals thought that could be construed as hazing so we have to sit in plain alphabetical order now. It really sucks. I have been a sister at the Gamma Iota chapter for two years and I think I have earned the right to sit in the front of the room during chapter.
OK, so I am a little bitter about something stupid, but we are taking this hazing awareness thing a little too far. The Greek definition of “hazing” includes only things that new members (pledges, but we can’t call them that anymore – long story) do that set them apart from sisters. Since new members come into chapter after the sisters have already performed ritual they are still separated from the others! So this new seating arrangement doesn’t help at all, in my opinion. We do give special status to graduating seniors, but since I am not one of those I still have cause to complain about this situation. There are lots of little things nationals has made us change in order to uphold our clean image, but they still won’t let us skip wearing pantyhose to chapter. Our headquarters is in Indiana and they have no idea how hot it is wearing pantyhose in Florida in the middle of August! I say they are making a lot of misinformed decisions.
My chapter has changed several things while I have been a member that have made us a better house. The initiation procedures have been altered in regards to the new members because of the issues raised by my pledge class. We didn’t like some of the things that went on while we were being initiated so they have now been eliminated. Not that anything that we went through was hazing, but we weren’t comfortable and we let the chapter know about it. I am very proud of the changes that have been made and at least I know the pledge classes that followed me have been treated differently.
Chapter tonight was about two hours long. We got a calendar for the entire semester so that is pretty helpful. Alpha Chi Omega Founder’s Day is October 15 and I was puzzled to see it written on September 15, so I asked our president about that. It was pretty funny to hear the whole chapter harass Beth about forgetting our Founder’s Day. Anyway, we have a Grab-A-Date sometime within the next two weeks so I need to be on the lookout for the ad in the “Alligator” announcing it. Our other date functions have been scheduled including our Destination Unknown on October 23. I am really looking forward to that. Having a boyfriend to take to these date functions is a dream come true and I couldn’t have asked for a better guy to be my date.