- Ghana Philosophy
When someone searches online for news referencing the words "fraternity" or "sorority" they get a lot of mixed messages. On one hand, they see articles about fraternity men and sorority women serving their communities and, on the other hand, they find articles about fraternity drug busts or sorority hazing. It is no wonder that we are portrayed so poorly through the Total Frat Move website or in the Urban Dictionary.
This begs the question: Are we who we say we are?
On our official fraternity and sorority websites, we boast about the thousands of stories of Greek men and women truly making a difference in their communities through leadership and philanthropic endeavors. When we couple these anecdotes with research showing that Greek life experience benefits a member's personal development, we easily produce an argument for the continued growth of the fraternal movement.
Unfortunately, until we eliminate the negative press surrounding fraternal culture we will never have a perfectly positive image, no matter how many pages of touching stories or research data we share. And we won't eliminate the negative press until we get rid of the negative behavior.
A lot of people throw around the phrase "values-congruency" and it seems to be a hot topic these days, but it is imperative that we understand what it truly means. Being congruent with our values doesn't require absolute perfection (we are all human, after all) but it does expect consistent, intentional dedication to being who we say we are. It requires us to possess high ideals and attain somewhat unto them.
Every organization has a creed of some sort, giving guidance to its members on how they ought to live and who they ought to be. We have the Alpha Gamma Delta Purpose. When we were initiated into the Fraternity we pledged to live up the values of the organization. Those values are found in our Purpose.
Collegiate women now have the Gamma Experience to walk them through each line of the Purpose, leading them on a path of discovery into what the Purpose means for their lives, not only as individual members but also as collective chapters. Alumnae members can also rediscover meaning in the Purpose by keeping a copy in their workspace or in their homes as a reminder that joining Alpha Gamma Delta is a lifelong commitment and that the Purpose continues to gain deeper meaning throughout their lives. The closer we align our thoughts and our actions with the Purpose and the values of our organization, the more Alpha Gamma Delta becomes who we say she is.
Can you imagine a day when Total Frat Move or Total Sorority Move are overridden by stories of dynamic leadership, benevolent grace and authentic development? What about a day when no college or university questions our relevance on their campus? Can you imagine a day when people know fraternity and sorority members and organizations for our values?
We can. And we'd like you to join us in pursuing that dream.
The word "resolution" in the music world refers to the need for the song to move from dissonance to consonance, sometimes meaning from a deceptive to an authentic cadence. Dissonant music is sometimes dark or sad, chaotic or unsettled. While dissonant music feels unfinished or needing something more, resolution brings that dissonance to consonance, which sounds stable and strong. (To hear the difference between dissonance and consonance, check out this video.)
Much like music, dissonance in our lives can feel chaotic, unfinished or unsettled. The mixed messages that people receive about fraternities and sororities cause a state of dissonance.
We know that our members contribute to the world's work by serving their communities and that our chapters multiply the talent of leadership. We see it every day! We know that our members are strong, purposeful women, and we also see the news of fraternity men and sorority women making poor choices. When our actions say something different than the values found in our Purpose, then we are in need of the solidarity and strength found in resolution.
This year, instead of making superficial New Year's resolutions about making more money, having more things or mimicking Hollywood stars, let's seek resolution. Let's rededicate ourselves to a commitment to be authentic to who we say we are.
Let's Live with Purpose. And let's inspire our brothers and sisters in the fraternal movement to do the same. Because the successes and failures of each individual, chapter or organization affect us all.