by Skye Bork
I vividly remember watching Legally Blonde for the first time and feeling instantly repelled by the perfectly pink sorority mansion and sisters that opened the movie. Growing up in a culture that seemed to reject Greek organizations and lament the toxicity of college campus greek life, I found it impossible to marry a feminist outlook with membership in such an organization. Sticking to my feminist, girl-power guns, I was certain that I would NEVER join a sorority, so certain that I sought out colleges with minimal Greek life presences.
Yet, this past weekend I became a new member of a sorority on Columbia’s campus.
Why? Had I abandoned all principle?
Far from it.
Stepping foot on Columbia’s campus brimming with aspirations and armed with an unadulterated idealism, I was ready to shoot for the stars! Yet, slowly but surely I confronted reality. From the intensely competitive atmosphere and the remaining (though admittedly minimized) boys club dominating spheres of campus and beyond, life was not as perfect as it had once seemed. This was a reality impossible to understand without dabbling in the “real world”.
Cue Columbia’s sorority scene.
Meeting the high powered women that made up Columbia’s sorority life throughout first semester, I felt myself drawn to a community that I had so assuredly sworn against. These women were, and are, student government and club leaders, activists, and role models in every respect. Given my own experiences, how could I understand the disparity between the greek life of movies and the media, and the communities of ambitious, successful, and intelligent women I had found on my own campus?
I have found my answer in the persistent, powerful commitment of Columbia’s sororities to adapt and evolve to the changing, progressing values of the contemporary woman. Stripping away the outdated traditions and embracing diversity, an academic and professional focus, and focusing on community building, sororities at Columbia and similar institutions have set themselves apart by committing to change.
Had I let unfair prejudices dictate my relationships on campus, I would not have found the community and network of female leadership I now find myself immersed in. I feel so lucky to have found this space on campus and cannot wait to be a part of the revolution, transforming what it means to be a 21st Century sorority woman.