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Photo Courtesy of Kristyn Ewart

Rush a sorority, crush a stereotype

Scattered throughout The Commons this past weekend, you could find groups of women with their hair curled, boots laced and makeup perfected. These women were doing everything they could to put their best foot forward for UMBC’s Panhellenic Association’s Formal Recruitment, an event that spans the course of six days. Led by their trusty Rho Gams (also known as Recruitment Guides), each young woman traveled her way through The Commons to find a home away from home.

Each day was filled with philanthropy talks and speeches about each sisterhood, everything you would expect from a sorority setting. However, UMBC Greek Life shakes up these stereotypes that we have all become familiar with. From the diversity among their member-base to their extracurricular activities to academic majors, UMBC’s dedication to cultural and ethnic diversity does not stop with academia, but rather, extends into UMBC’s social life.

As a junior with friends (and friends of friends) involved in the Greek community, I decided to rush and see what the big deal with Greek Life was and to decide whether it was the community for me.

On the first day of recruitment, my nerves almost kept me home. I realized that I am not a ‘sorority type of girl.’ My wardrobe is seventy five percent black. I have tattoos, never gotten my eyebrows done and still don’t know how to curl my hair so that it doesn’t look like a tumbleweed. In a frantic state of mind, I called the one woman that always knows what to say: my mother.

Reassuring me with a, “Shut up, just do it. You’ll be fine,” my mother sent me off on one of the best and most rewarding adventures of my life. As the days passed, I found myself immersed in a culture of its own, one that loves and welcomes diversity in all facets of life.

During my Greek Life adventure, I met women from different cultures (many that are not associated with your typical sorority girl), women with different interests, women studying majors that I could never imagine putting myself through, and women whose accomplishments and work ethic demand respect.

When you look at UMBC’s Greek Life, you can see an extension of UMBC’s dedication to diversity and understanding diversity. When you look at UMBC’s Sororities, you can see the love and bonds that women have for not only the sisters within their own sorority, but for all women.

Editor’s Note: Rebecca Warns accepted a bid to join the UMBC chapter of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority. This article did not affect that outcome.