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So They’ve Joined a Sorority
Congratulations if your daughter has found a place to call home. Being in a sorority opens the door to so many wonderful experiences. I made some of my greatest friends when I was in a sorority at UF. They have been a part of my life through the ups and downs, good times and bad times. To this day, some of them are amongst my closest circle of friends. And, with Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with so many more of them. We now will meet up in Gainesville for football games and sorority reunions as well as getting together locally.
Every sorority is a little different as it relates to living in the house, eating meals at the house, academic requirements, philanthropic requirements and social requirements. Your daughter will be expected to attend chapter meetings, eat their meals at the house (it is included in the fees) and participate in their sorority’s events. They are paired up with fraternities for socials which may be mandatory. Some sororities require you to dress up for dinner; others do not care if you come straight from the gym. Some may require you to live in the house with their class; others it is optional. My older daughter lived in her sorority house her junior and senior year, loving the fact that there were always other women around to hang out with, talk with, watch tv shows with and just the entire experience. The advantage was the cost to live in the house. She had a parking spot so no parking fees and the rent was very reasonable. My younger daughter chose not to live in the sorority house, preferring to be there for meals, meetings, and socials. She prefers to have more privacy.
Be prepared for an entire wardrobe change as they can often be seen wearing frat tanks (some girls sell their collection for as little as $5 a shirt), sorority shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry and more, proudly wearing their sorority’s letters or name (some new members are not allowed to wear the letters until after initiation). And get ready for some major arts & crafting as your daughter will be making a paddle once she gets her big- some girls pay someone else to do this for them.
Over the years, I have purchased sorority gifts for them, mainly at orientation. Between Big/Little, Orientation and Bid Day, they have accumulated jewelry, water bottles, stationery, wall signs and so much more. And while I know eventually (after they graduate college and move into an apartment to start adulting, their decorating tastes switch), seeing them enjoying this bond with so many young women and the impact the sorority makes during their college years is well worth having all of the sorority items they collect.
As for those that were on the meal plan through UF, because most sororities’ membership includes most of their meals, what happens to the meal plan you purchased during orientation or when they first moved in? Gator Dining will refund the cost of the fraternity/sorority meal plan only provided the meal plan is mandatory. This amount varies by chapter but you will get some, if not all, of it, applied to your student’s account. There is a $35 administration fee assessed. It is the student’s responsibility to submit the proper paperwork to Gator Dining. For additional information about how to go about making changes to their meal plan contract, click here.
Being in a sorority is not just about the social aspect, although that is a big part of joining. Many of the sororities require their members to participate in the philanthropy aspect teaching them about helping those less fortunate. They are expected to keep up their grades as each sorority loves to be able to brag about having the highest GPA amongst all sororities. They can be found holding positions on Homecoming, Gator Growl, Student Government, Blue Key, HerCampus and Dance Marathon to mention a few. This opens the door for new members to have the opportunity to get involved on campus.
And most sororities not only have Family Weekends every year, some in the fall and some in the spring, they also have Mother Daughter and Father-Daughter Weekends which typically rotate every year. Most colleges are extremely strict today when it comes to drinking and hazing. I am not going to cherry coat this; it does happen. UF is no different. Sororities have been put on probation for alcohol consumption and not been allowed to have any socials. Your daughter should never feel pressured to do something that makes her feel uncomfortable. You can read about UF’s position and policies here.