When I first came to American University in 2020, the words “fraternity” and “sorority” seemed damning. With an otherwise omnipresent anti-Greek life and abolish Greek life presence on campus, those who sought to join these organizations were often shut out by peers who were adamantly against their existence. I was one of these people until I found myself close to transferring mid-way through my sophomore year.
In January of my sophomore year, as a last resort to stay at AU, I participated in formal recruitment from my childhood bedroom. The thought of joining a sorority made me uneasy, but I was desperate to make friends and build a community while at AU. I remember groaning at the idea of making myself look good for a Zoom screen of people I had never met. I thought that it was about to be the most superficial and judgmental process, being chosen by an organization after one conversation about something mundane.
However, it was exactly the opposite. I recall every conversation I had with every organization member during recruitment. I talked about being a barista with a member of Chi Omega and spoke about writing for The Eagle with a member of Sigma Kappa. Each of these conversations was meaningful and genuine, which is something I thought that the entire process would have lacked.
I have since joined Phi Mu and I credit my time there as the reason I decided to stay at AU, a fundamental reason for the amazing time I had while abroad last semester and a portion of why I hold my current internship position. I made best friends from this experience, whether they be from my organization, another sorority or a fraternity. I don’t feel these relationships would have been possible without going through recruitment two years ago.
The abolish Greek life movement’s presence at AU, in my experience, has substantially diminished since its inception almost four years ago. And with that, I have seen a staggering increase in students seeking to join Greek life organizations. At an otherwise socially cold and competitive school like AU, having a community through a Greek life organization is comforting.
Greek life at American University is truly unlike other universities. Sorority members, like me, are the same annoying wonks in classrooms and debates that make you wonder why you chose AU over your state school. Organizations want to see you succeed in the classroom, other extracurriculars and internships as well. Having an uplifting community is undoubtedly one of the best parts of my collegiate experience.
As I approach my final semester of college, I implore any student thinking of transferring to consider Greek life. It may seem extremely overwhelming, but it is an experience I can wholeheartedly say paid off. With numerous leadership opportunities, alumni connections and important philanthropies, it is difficult to feel meaningless resentment towards the AU community or Greek life itself.
And, if it really sucks, at least you get a ton of free T-shirts.
Allie Grande is a senior in the School of International Service.
This article was edited by Jelinda Montes, Alexis Bernstein and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis.