Last year, the university made the shift to market what ACU students have always called social clubs as “local fraternities and sororities.” Over the last 10 years, our campus has welcomed an influx of students brand new to the rich culture of Abilene Christian University – so Student Life thought moving away from the term “social club” would give students a better idea of what social clubs have to offer, and even help those unaffiliated with ACU understand what a Trojan might be.
Calling something a social club or sorority doesn’t really make all that much difference in how these groups of students function on campus – even if the name “social clubs” sounds antiquated or ambiguous to those who have never heard it and “local sororities and fraternities” might sound like a weird attempt to be on the same page as other schools we compete with.
To pledge or not to pledge seems to be an age-old question, but it’s not one of life or death consequences.
If you’re new around here, you should know something. On Sunday, the rushing process begins for students sophomores or older. And in about three weeks time, weird things will start happening on campus. Students will wear bright colored skirts or slacks and blazers every day from 8-5. They will yell things at fountains and park benches. They will carry rocks around and they won’t look you in the eye.
What on earth is going on, some may ask. Pledge and find out, they’ll say.
Since the first social club was formed in 1919, students have upheld traditions while adapting to university life as it’s changed over 100 years.
The Editorial Board is made up of a mixture of some students who have undergone pledging and some who have opted out. Here’s our thoughts for all you people still trying to decide if it’s for you.
“I didn’t pledge because I’d heard about what a big time commitment it was. My sophomore year is when I started commuting from home and I knew that balancing schoolwork, a 20 minute commute and pledging would be really challenging. I don’t regret not pledging but I do think I could have made more friends if I had.”
“I pledged GATA because I was literally destined for a social club. I love social activities, I loved rushing, I love meeting new people, I love having club songs and chants and symbols, I love wearing matching t-shirts and taking sorority pictures and doing silly stuff. I love having a group of girls that I can relax and have fun with.”
“If I went to a public university, I don’t think I would have pledged, because at ACU I was under the impression that social clubs stood for more than just another group of people with a signal commonality. I pledged because I wanted to be able to contribute to something bigger than myself, and in many ways I think I’ve found that. But there have also been times where there is not a distinction between the experience here and what I would’ve probably tried to avoid with public university Greek life.”
“I pledged Siggies because I wanted a tight-knit community of girls I could go to for support and encouragement and friendship. I wanted to find a place where I could be accepted without needing to change who I was to fit in.”
“I chose not to pledge for a few reasons. I’m very busy and I feel like adding on Club responsibilities would make me feel too overwhelmed. I’m very introverted, so a process like pledging would overstimulate me very quickly and make me feel very uncomfortable.”
“The local sororities and fraternities are the next step from high school social classes. You’re not in high school anymore though. By joining these, you may hold yourself back from learning to make friends in the normal adult world. But who am I to talk? I’m just the cartoonist.”
“I pledged because I wanted to be in Sing Song and have reasons to dress in weird outfits. But on a more serious note, I’ve found that my most meaningful relationships in college aren’t defined by what club someone is or isn’t in. While pledging and club has been a fun experience, I’ll think of a lot more than just a yellow skirt when I think of college.”
“I pledged because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. Being the oldest child, I always felt like I needed to be perfect, but when I joined GATA, I learned that I can have sisters whom I can count on, feel accepted for who I am and not feel the need to be perfect all at the same time. The friendships and memories I’ve made because of pledging are some of the best moments of my life. Participating and winning Sing Song, meeting some of my best friends and allowing 100+ girls into my life is something I will never regret.”
“When sophomore year came around I was really excited for the chance to participate in pledging, but when it came time… I was unable to because of athletics. Luckily I still got to grow close with a lot of the girls, but joining one was something I was interested in.”