5 Things you Wouldn’t Expect about Sorority Life at University of South Carolina

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Philanthropy is SO important

We don’t mess around when it comes to philanthropy. Most chapters raise tens of thousands of dollars with bi-annual events like male pageants, paint wars, wing eating contests, lip sync battles, 5Ks and more! We fundraise year-round with percent nights, when a restaurant donates a percentage of a day’s profits to a chapter’s philanthropy. We send hundreds of women from the Panhellenic community to these events to increase the percent of revenue donated towards the cause! Each chapter is extremely passionate about their cause and happy to talk about how their philanthropy touches lives. We work all year to make sure we do our part to support and bring awareness to our cause.

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Our chapters love each other

What do you normally see in movies about Greek life? Fighting between chapters? Catty looks towards women wearing other letters? Competition to hang out with frats? (See the next point about the whole frat thing!) Spoiler alert: NONE of this is true!!! Our 13 chapters are equally hardworking, driven, confident and talented. There is no “top tier” or “bottom tier” chapter at our school. We support each other by attending each other’s philanthropy events, applauding each other’s accomplishments, sending baked goods to each other’s houses during exam week and raising funds for our Panhellenic philanthropy, Circle of Sisterhood. Some of your best friends will be in other chapters. We learn from each other and grow together as one Panhellenic sisterhood.

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Fraternity Men Aren’t a Given in the Sorority Experience

This is another thing the movies get wrong. At USC, fraternities and sororities don’t exclusively “hang out.” Some chapters pair up for philanthropy events if they support the same philanthropy to increase the amount of money they can raise. During Greek Week and homecoming, Panhellenic sororities are paired with both fraternity and sorority women from the Interfraternity Conference, National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council. Fraternity men don’t have to be a part of the sorority experience. The most exposure you’ll have to fraternity men is on your own individual terms! You’ll make friends with members of fraternities and sororities across all four councils. At USC, sorority life is what you make of it. You can talk to and hang out with whoever you want!

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Sometimes, you’ll get frustrated

It’s important to be honest about the commitment level required to be a Panhellenic woman and a good sister. Between philanthropy events, functions, weekly chapter meetings, sisterhood events, intramurals and more, your calendar will be full of amazing memories! …But what about homework? Tests? Dance Marathon? The school newspaper? Cleaning your apartment?!?!….. It’s important to practice good time management and stay on top of your responsibilities. It’s easy to take on too much and be faced with having to scale back later on in the year. Instead of dropping an activity or flaking on an event, make sure you know what you’re getting into before you make a commitment.

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You get a leg up

Being a part of a sorority at USC means access to THOUSANDS of connections, leadership positions and opportunities for personal and professional growth. The nature of being part of a social sorority makes it easy to become friends with women from so many backgrounds and areas of talent. Your sisters will go on to be in the top of their field, giving you a place to go for help, advice or even an internship or job! Not to mention, studying is so much easier when you can ask your sisters in the same major for help. You can sharpen your skills further by running for a leadership position in your chapter. Are you a master photographer? Run for photography chair! Do you love event planning? Help plan sisterhood events on a committee! There are so many places where your skills will be needed in your chapter – these opportunities are great for a resume and give you experience in the real world!

Ok, time to break the 4th wall here and tell you how true this really is. As VP of Public Relations for Panhellenic, my experience running social media, designing marketing materials, writing and more has been invaluable. When I interviewed for PR internships, my work for Panhellenic set me apart from others and I ended up as a PR Manager for a technology company. Thanks to my connections and leadership experience in the Panhellenic community, I landed an amazing internship that gives me a leg up in my efforts to break into PR!

 

There are so many ways that sorority life at USC breaks stigmas about Greeks. Sign up for recruitment here and don’t forget to follow our social media for more info and tips!

Instagram: @uofscpanhellenic

Twitter: @USC_Panhellenic

Facebook: University of South Carolina College Panhellenic Association

Pinterest: USC College Panhellenic Association

 

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A Letter From Your Pi Chis

Written by KB

Dear PNMs,

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First thing, welcome to Carolina!! We are so excited for your start your journey at USC and even more excited that you have chosen to start by going through sorority recruitment. I’m sure you’ve got a million questions that are running through your mind. They’re probably along the lines of: What am I getting myself into? What is it going to be like? Are the girls really going to be screaming at me like the videos that I’ve seen on YouTube? Hopefully, I can give you an insight into what you’re about to go through and get you pumped for recruitment!

When you come to orientation, you will be greeted by two VERY excited sorority women, probably with huge smiles on their faces and dancing around- these are your Pi Chis. For the next two weeks, they will be your guides, your mentors, your best friends, your confidants, and anything else that you need. We have given up our letters so that we can help you find your home. That’s a term you’ll hear a lot during recruitment, “finding your home.” When you join a sorority, you’re not just joining a group of girls who do community service projects or attend functions. You’re finding the place that you feel most comfortable, the place where you can go to on your worst days and find a friend, and the place that holds all your sisters. Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 2.18.16 PM.png

Trust this process. At times, you’re going to question why you’re here. The days can be long, Columbia will be hot (it’s not called famously hot for nothing), and you’re going to have a lot of emotions as you decide which chapters you would like to go back to. But trust us, the process works and there’s no better feeling than running to your new sisters on Bid Day (the day where you find out which chapter you recieved- don’t worry, you’ll learn all the lingo soon!) There are so important things we want you to know about before you take on this process and I hope that you keep this in mind when you join us in Columbia:

  1. BE YOU. The girls in the chapters genuinely want to get to know you and what makes you special.
  2. Wear what makes YOU comfortable.
  3. It’s okay if you’re sweating, if your hair is out of place, or if your voice is starting to fade. It’s all part of recruitment and the girls just want to talk to you.
  4. Trust your gut and stay true to yourself. This is so important to remember!
  5. There will be lots of cheering- don’t be scared. You’ll get used to it very soon!
  6. Use your Pi Chis! They are such a resource for you and are so excited for to help you find your home. Text them day or night and they will be there for you.
  7. HAVE FUN! I don’t think this one needs an explanation.

 

Recruitment is right around the corner and we cannot wait to welcome you home to Carolina! When you see a group of girls cheering, dancing, and covered with paint and glitter- you’ve found the Pi Chis!

See you at orientation!

Love, Your Pi Chis

 

Secrets from the “other side” of Panhellenic recruitment

Nervous for recruitment? Don’t know what to expect? Wondering what the chapter women recruiting you are thinking? Look no further than this guide to secrets from the “other side” of recruitment!

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We’re eager to meet you

We’ve been waiting all year for this! If it seems like we have a lot of energy, we do – we’re excited to finally meet the girl bosses, future leaders and potential sisters of the next pledge class! We realize it’s difficult to put yourself out there and we appreciate that you’re willing to take the time to get to know our members, values, and community.

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We’re nervous too

We’re trying to make a good impression on YOU! We want to open our sisterhood to more kind, confident, witty women who will bring their unique talents and energy to our chapter. We’re looking for sisters who will support our philanthropy like we do. We want to share our every experience with you to show how amazing a sisterhood can be. The new pledge class will be made of our littles, grandlittles, future bridesmaids and confidantes. Recruiting new members is a big deal for us, so we have butterflies in our stomachs too!

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This takes a lot of effort

The decorations. The songs. The outfits. It all takes work! We spend months preparing for your arrival. I promise you we didn’t show up to the house wearing the same exact thing without careful planning! Don’t be intimidated – we did not wake up like this. We put effort into recruiting because it matters to us. You and your experiences are important to us, no matter where you decide to call home. Keep in mind that even though we’re putting our best foot forward, we’re not faking anything. We’re being authentically ourselves so that you can find a sisterhood that best fits you!

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No matter what sisterhood you end up in, we still want to be friends

As we’ve talked during the rounds of recruitment, we’ve come to know and adore your personality. We genuinely love stories and conversations about values, friends, family, pets, emotions and everything in between! Recruitment is an intimate process where you get to know others better than you thought you could in just a matter of weeks. We want you to know that after the recruitment process, whether or not we’re sisters, we want to be friends!

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We sympathize with you

We remember the ups and downs, the waiting, the long days and the hot weather. We welcome you into the air-conditioned houses with love! We appreciate active participation, authentic conversations and an open mind even if you may only be running on a few hours of sleep. It takes work on your side to walk into every house with a positive attitude. We’ll be patient with you along the way as long as you’re patient with us and the process!

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“Trust the process” is REAL

On that note, make no mistake: pi chis, friends, and other mentors will tell you to trust the process and they’re right! There is no such thing as a “top tier” or “bottom tier” sorority. We’re just a group of close-knit sisterhoods that value authenticity. There is no way you’ll end up in the wrong place as long as you’re being your genuine self with every chapter. There will be days where you get a list of chapters back and you’re disappointed, but keep in mind that the sisterhood you belong in will always be on that list. Let the thought of the opportunity to meet amazing women and future sisters put you in an optimistic mood before you get your day started!

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We’re excited for you

Recruitment is exciting! Finding your family and home away from home is an experience you’ll cherish forever. Along the way, you’ll make lasting friendships with pi chi groups and chapter members no matter where you end up! We remember what recruitment was like for us and how good it felt to run home on bid day. We’re excited for you to bring new perspectives and friendships to our chapters and we can’t wait to see what you’re going to do with your time with us.

 

Got questions? We have answers! Tweet us on Friday, June 8th at 1pm EST @USC_Panhellenic with #AlanaAnswers and Alana Tyler, the Panhellenic VP of Recruitment, will respond!

Alpha Delta Pi Kicks It for the Kids

Written by Charlotte Raiford

The sisters of Alpha Delta Pi held a BubbleBall Soccer tournament supporting the Ronald Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 10.08.20 AM.pngMcDonald House Charities of Columbia on April 22, 2018 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Strom Thurmond Wellness & Fitness Center fields. Attendees purchased a $5 ticket from Alpha Delta Pi sisters, which included admission to the tournament, four raffle tickets and food from a variety of delicious vendors including Chick-fil-A, Mellow Mushroom pizza and Pelican’s snow cones!

The seven BubbleBall teams competed for a $200 gift card to Village Idiot Pizza in knockout-style tournament. The organization with the most attendance received a $100 donation towards their philanthropy as well.

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 10.08.36 AM.pngThe Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) proudly
supports the simple idea that a child should have a
“home away from home” while undergoing serious
medical treatment at a children’s hospital. RMHC believes that families should be able to focus on the health of their child rather than where they will get their next meal or where they will be able to sleep at night.

In total, Alpha Delta Pi raised almost $7,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 10.08.47 AM.pngColumbia. The total cost of one family staying at the house per night is around $75, but no family is required to make any financial contribution in order to stay at the house, which is why RMH relies on the support of the community. The money that Alpha Delta Pi raised is equivalent to 90 nights for a family to stay at the house and over 200 meals. Our sisters serve the house weekly by cooking meals for the families, playing with the children, cleaning common areas and taking care of Alphie, the golden-doodle puppy that our chapter gifted to the house in 2016 (as illustrated in our flyer).

Tri Delta Supports St. Jude with Delta House of Pancakes

Written by Addie Broom

IMG_2820.JPGOn April 12th from 6-8 PM at Breakers Live, the ladies of Tri Delta hosted our annual philanthropy event, DHOP or Delta House of Pancakes, benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At the event, we had live music from a local Columbia band called ‘Tripping on Bricks’ and unlimited pancakes for all! Along with pancakes, we served bacon, sausage, fruit, and orange juice, everything needed for the perfect breakfast feast. Everyone at the event was encouraged to write letters to St. Jude patients that our Tri Delta sisters delivered to the hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. We had a great turnout thanks to our panhellenic community and fellow St. Jude supporters.

Tickets were $5 and all the proceeds earned were donated to Tri Delta’s national
philanthropy, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It costs approximately $2.4 million dollars a day to operate the hospital. The money raised at DHOP went to help operate the hospital and find cures for childhood cancer. Treatments at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from

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20% to 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago. Patients and families at St. Jude receive world class treatment at no cost because of philanthropy events and fundraisers like DHOP. Because of DHOP and all it’s supporters, countless children have enjoyed a lifetime of moments they might otherwise have missed.

Alpha Gamma Delta Gambles for Good during Poker and Pearls

Written by Meredith Schroeder

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 8.26.28 PM.pngWhen reflecting back on the past few weeks, the one word that comes to mind regarding our philanthropy is unity. No matter what year you are, where you are from, your major, or who you are friends with, for three hours on April 5th, the women of the Theta Omega chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta at the University of South Carolina were united together to fight the fight against hunger. Having just undertaken this new philanthropic purpose, all of our sisters have had to come together in order to make the greatest impact possible on our community. In the weeks leading up to Poker and Pearls, all of our sisters sold tickets to the event, and participated in tabling events and spreading the news Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 8.26.36 PM.pngaround campus. On the night of the event our whole chapter played Poker, Texas Hold ‘Em, Craps, and other casino games in order to gain raffle tickets for items donated by local businesses. The event was an incredible success with us raising money for the Alpha Gamma Delta foundation, and all of our sisters coming together in order to participate in our crusade to end domestic hunger, starting with our Columbia community. Whether it is driving around Columbia together to drop off meals for Meals on Wheels, organizing cans for Harvest Hope Food Bank, or playing Poker and Blackjack at our annual philanthropy event, Poker and Pearls, our sisters are serving together, and changing the world while doing it.

Chi Omega Grants Wishes during War of the Wings

Written by Maggie Luke and the Chi Omega Philanthropy Team

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Chi Omega held our annual spring fundraiser, “War of the Wings,” benefitting the Make-A-Wish foundation on Friday, April 6 at Music Farm Columbia from 5 to 7pm. War of the Wings is a bracket-style wing eating competition where teams of five have 20 seconds to eat as much of their wings as they can. Each team member is given three wings and the spice of the wings increases as the rounds proceed.  The team who has eaten the most moves on to the next round until eventually we have a final winner! As fun as it is to watch your friends and family chow down on

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wings with barbecue covered faces, it was not the only activity at War of the Wings. There were raffles that guests could enter to win items such as a football signed by Gamecock Football Coach Will Muschamp and countless gift cards. As the event is centered around food, naturally there was a variety of food to snack on throughout the event such as a nacho bar, Insomnia cookies, and of course, wings.

IMG_1679.jpgAlthough we all love to eat, Chi Omega’s favorite part of War of the Wings was getting the chance to hear from a few of South Carolina’s Make-A-Wish families. The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses, helping them to feel like a normal kid and bring happiness to them and their families- something that is hard to come by when your child is going through serious treatments or surgeries for their illness. Throughout War of the Wings, several families got onstage to share their personal experiences with the Make-A-Wish foundation and Chi Omega. They emphasized the importance of fundraising for the Make-A-Wish foundation and expressed an innumerable amount of gratitude to those who have helped their love ones take a break from hospital visits and make a wish of theirs come true. It was truly an unforgettable experience filled with love, laughter and full bellies.