Lottie Harold – Geography – University of California, Los Angeles – United States
Firstly yes, I’m a girl.
Greek life is infamous in American college movies and in real life it’s pretty much like one expects. Girls are split into sororities and guys are in fraternities, all named after Greek letters, living in beautiful mansions on ‘Frat Row’, and holding huge weekly parties. But what I wasn’t aware of were co-ed fraternities, which usually have a specific theme – such as an academic fraternity, volunteering fraternity, or honours student fraternity.
At the start of my time abroad I had no intention of rushing (going through the selection and initiation process of joining a sorority/fraternity). But watching my roommate go join a Business co-ed fraternity and being completely jealous of the friends and amazing opportunities she had, I would have given anything to go back to the beginning of the year and give it a try!
After Christmas when our first term was over and our results were in, I received an automated email sent to any student with a GPA of 3.5 or over, with an invitation to rush for Phi Sigma Pi National Honors Fraternity! I finally had my chance! I went to the first rush event and immediately knew this was a group I wanted to be part of. Over 200 people turned up and only a certain number would make it through to the next round, so everyone was trying hard to make an impression (TIP: milk that English accent for all its worth). 30 people were invited to the next round, a cocktail party meet and greet, and then 25 of us were selected for interviews. I was so happy to receive my email to say I was one of the 19 chosen as the new initiate Kappa class! We had our initiation (a very culty candlelit ceremony) and had an intense 7 weeks of learning all about the fraternity and the Greek alphabet for our national exam, organising events, and bonding with our new Big (our mentors) and Twins (our Big’s other Littles).
As an Honors Fraternity we follow the three principles of Scholarship, Leadership and Fellowship, and so our activities are centred around scholarship, service, fundraising and socialising. So far events have included trips around LA, going to concerts, hiking, working with homeless charities and animal shelters, and walking for American Cancer Society.
Phi Sigma Pi has been the best thing I’ve done at UCLA so far, I’ve experienced so much, and made friends for life! Make sure to take advantage of all the societies and groups you can join and say yes to every excursion that comes your way!