To Greek or Not to Greek
Greek life hasn’t always been represented accurately in mainstream media. What we see are drunken ragers, massive houses, and outdated “hazing,” or initiation, practices. In reality, while there are parties, there are also lifelong friendships, serious service components, and strict academic requirements.
Tampa native Jenna Lee Hughes pledged Alpha Delta Pi at UF, and she reports that her campus didn’t even allow alcohol at chapter houses and that her experience was one of sisterhood and philanthropy.
Jenna Lee sought out Greek life as an antidote to being an introvert at a school with over 40,000 undergraduate students. “I’m a quieter person to get to know, and a sorority gave me a better chance to make friends with similar interests.” She chose Alpha Delta Pi because their values and goals aligned with her own–especially with regard to service.
“It made me feel good to know that we were helping people, whether it was with financial, physical, or emotional support,” says Jenna Lee. “And some events were really fun!”
In her role as ADP’s philanthropy chair, Jenna Lee learned about leadership and community organization while working to support Ronald McDonald House. She still helps her local alumni group prepare meals for the same cause. “It has grown to mean more to me now that I’m a parent,” she says. Her daughter needed surgery as a newborn and spent several days in the NICU and then PICU, and Jenna Lee saw first-hand how families were embraced by RMH.
“Greek life can open you up to a more diverse, service-driven world,” Jenna Lee says. She has retained her commitment to helping others and is now very active in an all-female social service organization. “My sorority life helped build the skills I use now to promote service and get projects done, while also knowing how to work with a large group of women.”
Asked if she’d join a sorority if she had to do it over, Jenna Lee responded, “Yes! In a heartbeat. I met so many amazing girls and lifelong friends. It creates a bond. No matter how long we may go without talking, it’s like we’re right back in the house, chatting in our rooms.”