The Truth About Tri Delta

Jessica Blau, Class of 2018

I have frizzy hair, I am a size 12 and I thought I would get a bid from GPhi or Kappa based on sheer charm and my sparkling personality. Writing this now I laugh at my sophomore self’s naivety. Before anyone cites any exceptions to this rule – yes, there are exceptions – but before you bore me with listing these – tell me, were they on a sports team? Do they have other connections to those organizations? I think I can claim confidently that fat (I am reclaiming this word) people are quickly weeded out of our Greek process. Of course, this article is based almost entirely on my own experiences as a white, Cisgender, privileged woman, and I do not mention many of the other huge problems with Greek life and its exclusivity, which have already been discussed by others.

The day I learned I had been cut from both Kappa and GPhi before I could even make it there for Philanthropy Night was one of the worst days of my life. I know there are way worse things going on in the world – Greek life is so trivial! But to me, it felt like a personal judgement on my appearance, something I had always been generally confident about, until that day. I could not get out of bed and my roommate had no clue what to do with me. I couldn’t even talk to her because I was crying so uncontrollably. I told my parents Colgate wasn’t the place for me after all, a place I had gone to partially for its Greek life, and I looked into transferring.

I would not consider my bid from Tri Delta for a second. I thought, if I couldn’t be with the “popular girls,” I won’t be participating in Greek life at all. Many people who have written the recent blog posts about Greek life have said they did not receive a bid “anywhere,” and seemed to have taken the same attitude as me, where getting a bid from Tri Delta was akin to not receiving a bid. I understand that attitude but I also want to point out that some of these girls did in fact receive a bid from Tri Delta, and chose to reject it. These people, unknowingly and unintentionally, played into the system that they were so adamantly rejecting. By classifying their bid from Delta as beneath them and something to be automatically dismissed, they were playing into the hierarchy that is Greek life at Colgate. I do not claim that all of these women rejected their bids from Tri Delt for this reason (there are financial considerations among others that are all reasons to reject a bid); I am only addressing those who rejected their bids and then claimed to be rejected from Greek life.

I also played into this hierarchy – on the morning of Bid Day, I was certain I was not attending. In the end, my roommate talked me into at least giving it a try, and here I am, still in Tri Delta with many friends who I would not have met otherwise.

The Greek system should end at Colgate. No one should have to feel what I felt, and what I’m sure many others feel, after being cut because you don’t “fit-in to the culture of our sorority.” (Read: “you don’t look like us”). However, if it does have to continue, I must advocate for Tri Delta as the most underrated and accepting Greek organization on this campus. 

When I was reading the blog posts last week, one in particular stuck out to me – a testimonial from a student who disaffiliated commented about Theta Chi and how “you just didn’t talk about Delta” if you were hooking up with a girl there. This line was taken down quickly because it upset many in my chapter. While I understand that, the reasoning behind this attitude commonly held by fraternities on this campus needs to be discussed and exposed. I have seen this pattern repeated in a million different ways – including my sisters in Delta being told (in varying ways) to keep things on the “DL” with someone who they were hooking up with. We all knew what that meant – the guys were embarrassed about being associated with someone in Delta and did not want their “brothers” to find out.

This is the opposite of female empowerment – men should not be the judges of our value. Frat men are deciding which sororities have hot enough women for their brothers to hook-up with and this is unacceptable. Sororities should not be evaluated by the aesthetic of their members – they should be evaluated by the work that they do and the sisterhood they create. Just as we have begun working to value women not by how well they fit the stereotypical vision of beauty, but how incredibly strong, kind, smart, etc., women are, we should be doing the same with sororities. 

Delta has a bad reputation among most of the men and women on this campus- that is an open fact – and yet people still stay in and join Delta every year. Why? There is absolutely no social capital gained by being in Delta- and yet, people stay. People stay, and I stay, because of the real sisterhood created in Delta. Maybe it’s because of our struggle to prove ourselves on this campus, or because the women of Tri Delta actually work to empower each other or because we actively participate in philanthropy (97 percent of all philanthropy on this campus by Greek-letter organizations is done by Tri Delt), that brings us all closer together. Most of our events in Delta are sisterhood bonding events. These include self-care nights, movie nights, Sisters Only Jug nights, Slices/Eatery study breaks, family dinners, sisterhood hikes, workshops on inclusivity and diversity and so much more. We are encouraged to attend each other’s events, and because we are involved in so many different groups, this always leads to learning something new.

We also have strict Fraternity Demands that stemmed from last semester’s culmination of sexual assaults and our discussions about safety at parties- and we will stick by these despite any social repercussions. We care more about our members’ safety than spending time with frat men who do not like us.

Sororities will never be completely inclusive, diverse, safe, etc. for all identified women, but Tri Delta is at least striving to do better.

When I look around at any Tri Delta event, I see empowered, strong, smart, beautiful women, who each bring their own unique personalities to our sisterhood. This lack of conformity and boring sameness is what makes me so proud to be a Tri Delta. Recruitment/the Greek Process make people feel horrible – this is not acceptable. But if Greek life cannot be removed completely – let me advocate for what I feel is the only accepting Greek house on this campus, and one I am proud to be a part of – Tri Delta. 

Contact Jessica Blau at [email protected]