sororities Archive

Mar

3

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Tired of all the recent sorority drama? Hoping to join an organization that loves and supports the real you? Ready to live life with no restrictions (and practically unlimited access to alcohol)? If you answered yes to any of those questions, the Columbia University Marching Band has just the place for you: Gamma Theta Beta.

In the most recent of their comedy sketches (lovingly dubbed “Cumbshots”), the Band presents a sorority recruitment video to end all sorority recruitment videos. This sorority is clearly the place to be–it’s got it all: sisterhood, support, philanthropy, and cool coordinated outfits. And, best of all, it has yet to face any disciplinary action! For anything!

We could keep expounding upon Gamma Theta Beta’s virtues, but we think the recruitment video (below) explains them better than we ever could.

Jan

27

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img January 27, 201612:33 pmimg 27 Comments

On Monday, January 25, Anushua (Shua) Bhattacharya published an op-ed in the Spectator about her experience with sorority recruitment and sorority culture on campus. Over the past few days, other women who are in sororities or have resigned from sororities on campus have reached out with their perspectives in response to Shua’s op-ed. In this piece, Deputy Editor Rachel Deal explores the sorority experience at Columbia, from problems with recruitment to the pressures of sorority culture–specifically the pressure to remain silent. The article focuses on Shua Bhattacharya and two other women–Laura and Sarah–whose names have been changed due to their wishes to stay anonymous. The article incorporates experiences and comments from other sorority sisters as well.

All sororities were contacted during the development of this piece: five sororities declined to comment for various reasons, and one did not respond to our request.

For Shua Bhattacharya, the sorority recruitment process was uncomfortable. She outlines this feeling in her op-ed, and though she originally enjoyed and felt validated by belonging to her sorority, Sigma Delta Tau, this excitement grew stale. She started to realize that the bonds she had formed with most of her sisters were based on drinking and partying, not on things that were actually important to her. She went inactive, and realized that she could still remain friends with the sisters she grew close to, but not partake in sorority culture. “I wanted to believe that Greek Life at a school like Columbia could be different,” she said, “that the sorority would be about empowering women and valuing long-lasting friendships that weren’t based on drunken nights and receiving validation on social media.” When she tried to voice her concerns to members of her sorority, her negative experiences were brushed off, and she was told that all sororities were like theirs.

DFMO = "dance floor makeout"

From one of the Theta GroupMe’s. DFMO = “dance floor makeout”

Laura, too, went through the recruitment process her sophomore year after transferring from a different college. “I thought that I would get a family,” she said, “and I thought that there would be a common goal.” In a way, she thinks her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, did have a common goal, but not one that she was expecting or was necessarily comfortable with. “The goal, I realized, was overwhelmingly booze and boys,” two of the banned topics of conversation during recruitment. “There’s nothing wrong with partying, but I didn’t want it to be the focal point of being in a sorority,” she said. She wishes the recruitment process had revealed her sorority’s emphasis on partying earlier.

Sarah went through recruitment her freshman year, and her decision came down to two sororities: ”One of them felt like home, and one of them was filled with the kinds of girls I had always wished I could be.” She chose the latter, and she regretted it from the beginning. “I never felt like I belonged,” she said, and she didn’t understand why her sorority had chosen her. “I thought they picked me because they thought I would fit in, but I felt like I was nothing like my other sisters.” According to Sarah, the culture of her sorority focuses on “who can be the most well-known on campus, and who knows the most boys in frats.” Sarah is still a member of her sorority, Delta Gamma, fearing the disdain she would face if she were to resign. Like Shua, though, she has found that her concerns have gone unheard. “If I disaffiliated, I would be an outcast. They would say that I didn’t try to work things out, but I did try.” She expressed her dissatisfaction to the leadership of her sorority, and was told that other sisters felt that way, too. “They didn’t tell me who, though, and they didn’t do anything to address my concerns.”

Recruitment

Sorority recruitment at Columbia takes place over the course of a single weekend. The process begins Thursday evening and goes through Sunday, with three different rounds. The first round, “Philanthropy,” spans Thursday evening and all day Friday. This is the first time Potential New Members (or PNMs) briefly meet two to three sisters of each of the six sororities. Afterwards, the following rounds are invitation-only, based on the brief conversations a few sisters have with each PNM the day before. The next round is called “Development,” consisting of similarly brief “parties” in either Faculty House or a first-year dorm lounge, followed by more cuts for the next round on Sunday, called “Preference Night,” after which PNMs list the sororities from which they would want to receive a bid.

An excerpt from the 2015 Alpha Chi Omega recruitment handbook

An excerpt from the 2015 Alpha Chi Omega recruitment handbook

The rules of recruitment are strict—leading up to formal recruitment, sorority sisters and PNMs are not supposed to interact. There are dress codes for each day, and the requirements are particularly harsh for current sisters, who are required to wear a certain formulaic outfit each day, and whose outfits must get approved beforehand. Sisters and PNMs are told to stay away from discussing any of the 4 B’s—booze, boys, brownstones, and bars. According to women who have previously gone through recruitment, the process feels “tiring, repetitive, and superficial.”

Recruitment at Columbia is rushed (no pun intended).

Dec

10

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img December 10, 20155:36 pmimg 38 Comments

What scandals might be taking place within these hallowed halls?

What scandals might be taking place within these hallowed halls?

Towards the end of November, we received a tip from an anonymous source in the Gamma Phi Beta sorority describing how the newly elected president rose to her position by “bullying her opponent, promising appointed positions to get votes, and spreading false rumors.” The source, who is still a member of the sorority, declined to meet with Bwog as she desired to keep her identity anonymous.

The tipster revealed how Gamma Phi leadership, both the newly elected president and the chapter’s Collegiate Leadership Consultant (CLC), has attempted to cover up the unethical behaviour of the now former President-Elect, who resigned from her position as Chapter President earlier this week. In response, Gamma Phi’s Administrative Vice President sent a denunciation email to the entire chapter before resigning.

The Sorority’s New Chapter Coordinator (a primary advisor for Columbia’s Gamma Phi chapter, also referred to as the Chapter Advisor) responded to this denunciation in an email, of which the Gamma Phi tipster released portions to us. The Advisor outlined certain executive actions which were taken against the former President-Elect under the Disciplinary Action section, in what we believe to be the bylaws of Columbia’s Gamma Phi chapter.

It gets worse

Feb

23

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Members of Columbia’s Kappa Alpha Theta chapter have come under fire for posting pictures that many consider racist from their mixer last night on Facebook and other social media websites. While the mixer was reportedly “Olympic team” themed, Bwog thinks it would be difficult to play sports in a sombrero and fake mustache.

Spec posted a picture of one the Mexican group, which used sombreros, thick mustaches, and maracas. But sisters also dressed up in themed attire for the Netherlands, Japan, Jamaica, Germany, France, and other countries. “Team Japan” wore high stockings, pigtails, and chopsticks in their hair, and puts up peace signs for the camera. While sororities themselves are not allowed to have mixers or alcohol in their houses, we’ve been told that this particular mixer was held in Sig Ep and was registered with the administration. The pictures below have been submitted to tips@bwog.com since the Olympic mixer happened last night.

Update (6:27 pm): Jessica Chi, President of the Columbia University Panhellenic Association, just released the following statement, saying she “truly apologize[d] for any harm the incident and photos in question” may have caused and that the “concerns brought to light by this incident do not at all reflect the shared values” of the Greek community.  See it below the jump.

Update (11:33 pm): We have received a rumor that Theta members met today to discuss the incident and were instructed not to speak to the press.

Update (12:23 am)The Chicano Caucus Executive Board has released a statement regarding the issue, reproduced below.

Update (3:26 pm): The incident was picked up by Business Insider and Huffington Post.

Update (7:02 PM): Statement released by Dean Martinez in response.

Netherlands, Jamaica, France, and your personal platform.

Feb

11

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img February 11, 20144:58 pmimg 19 Comments

Ever wonder what sorority recruitment is like behind the scenes?  No?  Well we can’t really tell you anyway because all we have are these.  Bwog recently came across some intriguing papers in a printer somewhere in Columbia.  Peruse as much as your heart desires, we know we did.

More of the leaked papers here

Feb

3

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img February 03, 20144:30 pmimg 12 Comments

Tonight was bid night for all of the Panhellenic sororities. Bwog actually doesn’t exactly know what that means, but it looks kinda nice. We heard lots of chanting and laughter (even from inside Butler), and it looked like an exciting time for new Greek life members. But damn, those letters look heavy.

A video of SDT being loud after the break

Jan

4

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img January 04, 20147:58 pmimg 30 Comments

Tau Mu Tau sounds like a farm song to teach to children

Registration for spring Panhellenic formal recruitment ended on Wednesday at midnight, and now PNMs (Potential New Members) will wait until early February to start the stressful four-day process. For the next month, they’ll search for the one sorority of the five that fits them best. In the interim, current sisters will try to represent their sororities as best they can.

If you’ve never heard of Greek Rank, it’s a website that posts Greek news and information as well as allows members to score frats and sororities at universities across the country. Columbia’s page wasn’t too active in rankings or comments until late December (though even now it only has around 200 posts, whereas the University of Alabama has approximately 20,000) when it began to explode with trolls and comments, some very eager—and some not so nice.

Check out the discussion for yourself, but here a few posts that stood out:

Topic from PNM: “If I wanted to be HOT I would have gone to San Diego State. Let’s embrace our geekyness. Don’t bash it. I LOVE being AWKWARD!!!”

Reply: “We don’t want girls who won’t show up to mixers or act awkward standing on the sidelines getting plastered.”

Reply to an unrelated topic: “okay, the two comments above are plain mean, offensive, and untrue. dg is hands-down the best sorority, and for some reason, every other sorority here feels the need to define itself in terms of why its NOT dg and why dg is bad. im in dg, and we have great sisterhood and absolutely do NOT choose new members based on looks and wealth. im sorry if the people who we end up getting along best with look a certain way and have certain financial situations. NOT OUR FAULT.”

Sorority life before the advent of the internet via Wikimedia Commons

Sep

25

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img September 25, 20123:30 pmimg 36 Comments

Columbia’s PanHellenic Association—AXO, DG, SDT, and Theta—have decided which sororities will be joining Columbia over the next two years, according to Spec. And the winners are: Alpha Omicron Pi and Gamma Phi Beta! Specifically, AOPi AOII will be starting a chapter next semester and Gamma Phi Beta (whose cutesy abbreviation/nickname was not known at press time) will start colonizing Columbia “no later sooner than 2015.”

It is a homecoming of sorts for AOPi AOII, which was actually founded at Barnard. Gamma Phi Beta has no prior affiliation with Columbia also had a chapter at Barnard, but is at least and is from the same state—having been founded at Syracuse—and can claim to be the first women’s organization to be ever called a “sorority.” Like poor AXO, the two new sororities will be houseless.

Update, 9/25 3:40 pm: Bwog has since learned from a confidential source that Gamma Phi Beta’s cutesy nickname is GPhi.

Jul

26

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img July 26, 201212:11 amimg 34 Comments

Late last night, we a tip of the anonymous sort that PanHell (Columbia’s PanHellenic Council, the umbrella group for the AXO, DG, SDT, and Theta sororities) will be choosing between four sororities that want to establish chapters at Columbia: Kappa Kappa Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Alpha Omicron Pi, and Zeta Tau Alpha. Two of these four, said the tipster, will be eventually allowed to establish a colony and a chapter.

Because nothing incentivizes TV in bed/never moving over doing our own shoe-leather reporting like the summertime, we turned to the Spec for the full report. Turns out PanHell has wanted to bring more sororities to campus for a while, since so many female students choose to go Greek. One sorority chapter will be established this fall in time for January recruitment, and a second chapter will be established in spring of 2015, according to Spec.

Check Bwog for more updates (and a bevy of tags that incorporate “sisterhood” puns) as we learn more over the next few weeks.

Sep

10

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img September 10, 201111:35 amimg 10 Comments

Last night, Bwog spotted a public safety officer guarding the door to Theta’s brownstone. We’ve learned from tipsters that an unidentified male walked into Theta yesterday, pretended to be friends with one of the girls, stole three four laptops, and left.

Later that evening, Director of Residential Programs Stephanie Nixon sent an email to the presidents and house managers of Greek organizations with brownstones. While making sure not to blame the Theta girls for the theft, she explained that “the individual was seen by multiple residents but it was assumed that the individual was a guest of someone in the house” and encouraged them to be more careful about letting strangers into their houses.

Check out the full email from Stephanie Nixon after the jump

Feb

9

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img February 09, 201110:00 amimg 2 Comments

And we thought we had it all.

Our very own NoCo may have “the most elegant aluminum siding in America.” But seriously, people like it. (NYT)

It really is hard out there for a pimp.  The internet is changing the face of the NYC sex trade, argues sociology prof Sudhir Venkatesh. According to one ex-pimp: “You learn one thing,” he said. “For a good blow job, a man will do just about anything. What can I do with that knowledge? I have no idea.” (Wired)

Our very own Law professor was named senior advisor to the FTC. Tim Wu coined the term “net neutrality” and has also been to Burning Man, so we can trust him. (WSJ)

The long awaited Five Guys on 111th and Broadway will open in 29 days or less! The burger battle is coming… (DNAinfo)

A record 289 women registered for Panhellenic Recruitment, 170 were placed it remains to see how many will be placed. (Spec)

Last week’s DevFest was a kind of a big deal! Hackers of the future and collectively hacked things, and attendees contributed exciting new creations: a class note-passing board; a Risk-like game called CU Generals; and a smart phone app to take you on campus tours.  Lots of Columbia students got shout-outs!  Exciting!  (TechCrunch)

Image via Wikimedia

Oct

5

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img October 05, 201010:13 amimg 55 Comments

Bwog stole this placard. Sorry!

Barnard’s administration held a “town hall” meeting of the strong and the beautiful last night to discuss recognition of sororities. Bwog was there.

Barnard’s Town Hall meeting on Greek Life recognition and funding drew ten full tables worth of of letter-sporting sorority girls from Barnard and Columbia, SGA members, and a sprinkling of administrators and girls unaffiliated with Greek Life. There were two men in the audience. After some initial warnings about what everyone thought would be the heated debate ahead and pleas to stay civil, Dean Denberg was introduced to give a short and objective history of Greek Life at Barnard.

Attendants were then invited to discuss how they felt, with the help of fact sheets and suggested questions, while they enjoyed lasagna and “Assorted Barnard Cookies”. The meeting concluded with a polite summary of what small groups had discussed.

(more…)

Oct

4

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Despite the rain, this sign was displayed prominently outside of Campo this evening, in order to coincide with the SGA Townhall meeting.

Sep

30

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The Theta Delta Chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Incorporated will be giving away Gamma hugs from 4:30pm-6:00pm throughout campus — and they’re free!

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Apr

8

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There is a very loud and very exciting sorority initiation going on on Low Plaza right now, next to the east fountain. Lots of singing and dancing and chanting. It’s for ΣΛΓ. It’s the most fun sorority initiation Bwog’s ever been to!

Update, 8:45: It was the Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority. That’s ΣΛΓ. Sorry our Greek lettering took a while!

Photo by ECS

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