Sorority pledging requirements vary greatly. In fact, some Greek life groups have no formal pledging processes at all. Members simply hand-pick new pledges informally. Though some common experiences exist, you can talk to current members, other students and your school's Greek life adviser to get more insights on particular sorority practices.
Rituals that include binge drinking, dangerous or illegal activities and other embarrassing or risky behaviors are commonly referred to as hazing. While this practice still exists, many colleges, Greek life organizations and sororities have banned hazing activities. Plattsburgh University in New York indicates on its Greek life website, for instance, that any pledges or current members who engage in hazing or aid and abet hazing are ineligible for Greek life membership. If you have concerns about being hazed, talk with current and former sisters and other students with insights into sorority activities.
One of the earliest requirements of pledges is to attend an informal or formal, open or by-invitation gathering with current sisters and other interested new pledges. This venue gives current members their first opportunity to get to know the young women interested in learning more about the sorority and possibly completing pledge week. In some cases, if you don't attend one or more open houses or social gatherings during pledge week, you won't get in.
With hazing restrictions, many sororities have shifted their efforts to putting pledges through hands-on activities to gauge their potential for leadership and bonding. Some sororities assign pledges, often in small groups, tasks to repair, renovate or improve the campus or sorority house. This activity serves a dual purpose of promoting service, but also gauging the leadership abilities and willingness of pledges to bond through a shared work experience.
A number of other pledge activities center on a pledge's spirit and drive to become a sister. Some sororities have members go around campus wearing sorority shirts or attire and getting to know other Greek life organizations and members. Many schools also have "rush week" activities, such as float building, talent shows and cheering competitions that pit sororities and fraternities against each other in friendly competition. Pledges are often required to attend a certain number or all of these activities for membership.
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