Sororities push academic success

Heather Thomas

Branded with the stereotype of being social butterflies and party fanatics, sorority members at Kent State strive to rise above that stigma and show they place significant value on academics.

“We’re more than just parties and being glamorous. (Having good grades) shows that we are serious about school and school comes number one,” said Lauren Zakelj, Delta Gamma’s director of scholarship.

In fall of 2009, according to the Kent State sororities’ Web site, the Kent State Sorority Community achieved a collective grade point average of 3.07, which is higher than both the Kent State all-women’s GPA of 3.03 and the Kent State all-student GPA of 2.94.

Zakelj said girls in sororities get better grades because they hold each other accountable for their actions and strive to be the best.

Brianna Lawhorn, president of the Panhellenic Council, said in order to do formal recruitment, girls have to have a 2.5 GPA to be considered, and maintain it to remain a member of the Greek community.

“Grades are really important because they’re basically the whole reason why we’re here,” Lawhorn said. “During formal recruitment that’s something we really push to girls joining, ‘If you’re joining just to party, then you’re in the wrong place.’”

Lawhorn and Zakelj discussed many outlets sororities provide to their members, including study tables and educational mentors, which help to achieve success academically, or to get back on track if they’ve fallen behind.

Zakelj said Delta Gamma hands out awards for exceptional grades each semester, and has started a new program where girls can win a gift card by turning in all of her A’s. She said hopes the awards, gifts and positive encouragement will help the members succeed.

Even with the helpful programs, Lawhorn said it really depends on how responsible the members are and whether or not they actually care about their grades.

“It’s kind of a cross your fingers deal,” Lawhorn said. “We push and push and push academics to the members, but we can’t do their homework for them.”

Being in a sorority and sustaining good grades requires “a lot of time management” with all of the events and meetings they are required to attend, as well as their involvement in other organizations, Lawhorn said.

“A lot of times if (a member is) struggling, sorority leaders will push ‘work on school first, don’t worry about attending a social rather than getting an ‘A’ on a test,’” Lawhorn said.

Lawhorn and Zakelj said the typecast of a sorority made by TV shows and movies is false. Academics are in fact one of the most important parts of being a participant in Greek life.

“A lot of girls think of sororities as the stereotypical place to party, like how they act in (the TV show) “Greek,” but it’s a lot different,” Lawhorn said. “Grades are really important because you join a sorority to make yourself a better woman, so we (as officers) don’t want your grades to suffer in the process.”

Contact Greek life reporter Heather Thomas at [email protected].