Graduates go Greek: Breaking sorority stereotypes, building networks, friendships

by Maggie Prosser & Grace Sall

 

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Alpha Phi-mily Sloan ’14 and Clancy ’12 hold sister Maeve Nelson ’15 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s bid day. The girls sported multi-colored neon tank tops for a sunny day at Alpha Phi. Photos courtesy of the Nelsons.

After leaving Marian, most girls will not experience the exact same sisterhood that they did as students for four years. But some Marian graduates have found something similar in sororities.

“I see and feel a lot of the same values of sisterhood and community in Alpha Phi that I felt at Marian. It really is a sisterhood of fun-loving girls who are there to encourage you to do your best and to also pick you up when you fall down,” Claire Janecek ’17 said of her recently joined house, Alpha Phi at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL).

Although not for everyone, Greek life can provide lasting life values such as the importance of keeping grades up, leadership opportunities, community service and job networking. Sororities and fraternities have been around for centuries, and the connotation of Greek life has evolved throughout the years.

Junior Zaza Nelson is keen on the idea of rushing a sorority. All four of her Marian alum sisters have rushed Alphi Phi at UNL. There are 15 sororities at UNL, and with an undergraduate population of almost 21,000, these sororities can help make large universities like UNL seem a little smaller. Fifty-two miles away, Creighton University has eight sororities and worldwide there are more than 140 sorority options.

“The tradition definitely sounds appealing to me. My sisters are my absolute favorite people in this world. Being a part of something so special with them would be incredibly special to me. However, I do want to make my own path for myself unique from the rest,” Zaza said.

ZaZa also said she recognizes the many benefits that a sorority can have, such as leadership and community support.

Senior Franny Tvrdik is planning on joining a sorority next year at UNL. “Both of my parents were in Greek life in college and they both are still impacted by that today. My dad still goes on annual summer vacations with his frat brothers every year for the last 30 years. I’ve seen how much it’s impacted them and I want that for myself,” Tvrdik said.

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Alpha addition UNL Freshman Bunny Nelson ’17 celebrates with her sisters on her first bid day. Though Clancy graduated from UNL in 2016, she came back for her sister’s special day.

Though not every student has the large connection to sororities that Nelson has with four sisters, Marian students alike have connections based on mothers, aunts, cousins, sisters and grandmothers.

Nelson’s sister Clancy ’12 was involved in Greek life all four years of college and praised her chapter for the relationships she formed in her sorority. “Upon pledging, I found myself surrounded by the kindest, funniest, most driven, talented, loving and encouraging women,” Clancy said. She has also since traveled with her sorority friends after college.

Clancy also said that being involved in a sorority has helped establish connections and networking skills. “The alum network is incredible. I have met women who graduated not long ago and women who were in my sorority 30 or 40-plus years ago, and from universities all over the country,” Clancy said.

She and her sisters also learned valuable leadership skills and her advisors provided her with references when looking for jobs.

For anyone, especially seniors considering Greek life, Clancy is passionate. “Even if you think it’s not for you, even if you think it’s superficial, even if you’ve known someone to have a bad recruitment experience, do it. See for yourself. Allow yourself to find your home away from home. If nothing else, you get to meet people through the process,” Clancy said.

Marian is a unique place of confident, independent women. However, some graduates and students can find comfort after leaving Marian knowing that there are similar atmospheres of strong, compassionate women. In college and beyond, these women have grown as individuals and found lifelong friendships, just as they had at Marian.

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