Sororities should apply for block seatingBy Alex Smith | 09/13/2017 11:23pm
I’ll never forget the absolute shock I felt last year as I witnessed one of my closest friends within my sorority make the courageous decision to encourage our sisters to apply for block seating. Her reasoning? We deserved to be rewarded for our hard work on campus and shouldn’t feel pressured to go with a date in order to get a good seat at a football game. My shock didn’t come from her recommendation that we apply for terrain typically dominated by fraternities, though. I was floored by my sisters’ reaction to it.
While it started off as a casual recommendation, the group conversation quickly veered off in an ugly direction. It was no longer a discussion about our accomplishments or what we deserved, but a discussion about what would happen to our “social standing” with other fraternities if we applied for block seating. We needed to have swaps with the most notable fraternities, we needed gameday dates and boyfriends. We needed to be accepted by these men on campus. Block seating could jeopardize all of that.
“We want guys to like us but with this they won't,” one member said defensively.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t wrong. Men had been reaching out to women over the past few days threatening to not come to date parties, attend philanthropy events or swap with our house. This did not sit well with me. The fact that these men were threatening not to socialize with women because they had even entertained the thought of taking ownership of their own achievement was extremely sexist. I couldn’t comprehend why it was such an outlandish notion for sororities to apply for block seating, just as fraternities, NPHC organizations and other student groups have routinely done in the past.
It troubled me to see so many successful women care so deeply about what these men thought, as if fraternities had power and control over their reputations. These women should have been excited and proud; they should have been eager to reap the benefits of their academic and campus achievements. Yet it appeared as if the possibility of being different or independent frightened them.
Block seating sections are delegated based on a merit system scored by averaging an organization’s academic achievement, involvement, leadership and service. Fraternities have realized that there are several sororities on campus that absolutely dominate each and every one of those categories. They feel threatened. They feel as if they are losing their influence over women on this campus and I hope that they are. It’s high time that all sorority women learn to base their self-worth on their accomplishments, not on the acceptance of fraternity men.
Last year – for the first time in history – two Panhellenic sororities, Alpha Chi Omega and Pi Beta Phi, broke the unspoken rule and applied for block seating. These groups of women claimed two of the front row blocks, arguably some of the best seats in the stadium. While these two sororities chose to re-apply this year, Chi Omega and Alpha Omicron Pi also joined the crusade. As the block seating chart was released last week, it was once again apparent that sororities would claim some of the best blocks in the end zone.
I’m proud that these women have been rightfully rewarded for their impactful work because they are more than deserving. These sororities have courageously decided to go against the status quo, setting a tremendous example for women across campus. It’s time for all sororities and all women to follow suit. My hope is that all Greek women will one day recognize their worth, because when they do, they will truly transform this campus.