For college, I moved halfway across the country all by myself with no family within a 3 hour flight. I realized quickly that joining a sorority was something I wanted to do because I wanted to make friends, create memories, and try to be a well rounded student. I also quickly realized that being a proud conservative was rare in college, and especially in a sorority. After three years of wearing my letters proudly at CPAC and around DC, I realized that there definitely are some do’s and some don’ts when you go Greek as a conservative young woman.
1) Know you are not alone
Yes it might seem absolutely BONKERS, but you are not alone. I realized pretty quickly that even if your sisters are not as public with their views, they will eventually feel comfortable enough to text you or reach out to you with their own little secret. You should realize that although these sisters might not be as outwardly conservative as you, that they do exist and they are supporting you from the sidelines. I have had many of my own sisters reach out to let me know that they agree with me and share my views, but since they see how I am treated by those who disagree with me, are afraid to be vocal about it!
2) Don’t try to shove your views down your sisters throats
It took me awhile to realize that how vocal I am about politics and my political affiliation might make some of my sisters uncomfortable. No, I’m not saying you need to create a safe space in your sisterhood, but do understand where your sisters are coming from. Just like you, they probably grew up surrounded by their family and friends who shared their view on politics, and aren’t as comfortable with the other side.
3) Don’t let your values be quieted down
At the same time, know that your political views shouldn’t be squashed because you’re apart of Greek life. This balance took me a year to figure out because I was a new sister and didn’t want to lose connections, but I was letting the sorority tell me what I could and couldn’t talk about, post on social media, or wear. It’s a balance of respect for your sisters, but also respect for yourself. A sorority is supposed to be a group of different and diverse women who come together for a common cause. Don’t let yourself assimilate and lose who you are in the process.
4) Be open to other views
Let’s be honest with ourselves here, this is probably the hardest one on the list. This isn’t saying that you have to let them change your mind, but if you are open to their ideas, they will be more likely to be open to hearing yours. Be open to hearing why your sister is for gun control, or abortion, and not only will you gain her respect, but you’ll be able to create better arguments and reasons for why you believe in what you do.
5) Be respectful
I have had many terrible political discussions with sisters where I get yelled at or called names for my views, but I also have had amazing political discussions with my sisters because we understand we need to BOTH respect each other. I’ve had many nights with one of my sisters, whom I disagree with on a few topics, that we just sit there and talk about how we feel on certain topics. These late night conversations are some of my favorite memories with this particular sister because she is so understanding. Let yourself be respectful, and you will be respected.
6) Ask for permission, instead of forgiveness
I learned this one the hard way, but because of it I realized that permission is easier. At CPAC, I posted a photo of myself at the Capitol Building wearing my favorite fuzzy sweater that was embroidered with my Greek letters. The caption was something like, “I had an amazing time at CPAC, can’t wait for next year.” I received a text message a day later from our Risk Management chair asking me to take it down because the chapter doesn’t allow a political affiliation to be tied to our letters. I was upset because I didn’t think that wearing my letters at the Capitol Building was tying us to the Republican Party. After much discussion, we came to the conclusion that if I had a post I wasn’t sure if I could post, I would send it to them first. I also found out the President would let me wear my Republican elephant letters. Because we are working together, it is easier to talk to each other about why we think something is okay or not. I also reached out to my Nationals who said I was allowed to post whatever I wanted politically. If this sounds like something you are currently going through, reach out to your Executive Board, and then try to reach out to your Nationals, they are normally very helpful.