"I didn’t rush my freshman year because I legitimately thought Greek life was ‘whites only’. I went to an all white private school and all my friends went through rush and so I didn’t really see it as an option for me until the end of freshman year when I decided to look into it to see if I could find a place there. I was warned not rush by family and friends because of greek life history but when I decided to go through recruitment I knew that I wanted to join a sorority not ignoring the history of racism within Panhellenic/IFC Greek organizations but despite of it - and after a year at uga I definitely saw the obvious segregation and the plainly prejudice foundation of it all. I knew I would have a hard time but I wanted to be apart of something because I figured I had every right to. I met a ton of people freshman year outside of Greek life and was apart of a church where I’d met girls that became my friends and that were apart of ADPi and so I assumed they liked me enough as they all encouraged me to do it..
My Recruitment Experience: On my first day of recruitment when it was time to visit ADPI where all my church friends were members of I saw them as they turned there eyes away from me and I was rushed by a girl who looked over my head the entire time, ignored and rolled her eyes at everything I tried to say. I wanted to run from Milledge and forget about recruitment all together but decided to stick it out - after that week of recruitment I was informed from a friend who sat on the recruitment committee in their organization that their exec and advisors refused to consider me a candidate because as an old tow chapter they never could and would consider giving a bid to a woman of my “unique background” and this was supposedly determined prior to recruitment even starting.
The rest of recruitment was OK in the sense that i told myself I didn’t really care, there were houses I loved but I assumed they wouldn’t actually want me as I looked at the faces staring back at me none of them looked like me and I felt like others around me were getting attention where I was not. It hurt knowing I wouldn’t have what the people around me would have because of something I couldn’t change about myself and it made me extraordinarily insecure about who I was..
My experience as a black Panhellenic member with IFC and other Panhellenic women:
I ended up joining AOII which I adored - that had one other woman of color which deemed it the most diverse Panhellenic sorority on Milledge. My BIGGEST challenge during college was with other groups other than my sorority in particular interactions with fraternities and other houses. Girls I met in other houses would refer to me as the token black, and they assumed I got into a “top” sorority just because there was a black quota that needed to be filled so my house wouldn’t look bad. I remember being apart of the philanthropy committee with in my sorority and being asked to go along side another member to a group of fraternity chapters to speak about philanthropy events: one of these houses upon our arrival only let her in, and another after we spoke about our event a member of that fraternity texted the girl I was with and said ‘I didn’t know your sorority had a black girl - when was that allowed’. I would avoid socials and interacting with fraternity members because I felt ostracized for the longest time. I had a friend that I grew up with, had known since 5th grade and once he had accepted a bid from a fraternity, he neglected to know me at all. One night I was approached by another friend of mine in the same fraternity and as I talked to him, I saw a message from his fraternity group on his phone - they’d been taking pictures of me all night teasing him for talking to a black girl, and he explained to me it had been a running joke for months to take pictures of me while I was with him and post it to their groupme and he then asked me not to talk to him in public because everyone thinks that he has ”jungle fever”
. Accepting to be around these people, who ostracized me was disheartening and at the time didn’t know how to stand up for myself. Hearing the “N” word thrown around by every fraternity boy like it was remotely acceptable and listening to room get quiet when I walk into social event and even being asked to leave the social bar downtown because ‘of dress code’ - Although Greek life at UGA gave me a great sorority and a great group of friends my initial experience was hate, and insecurity and an environment where I felt I had to hate who I was and what I looked like to be accepted and like.
There was a point during college when I really didn’t want to deal with it anymore - I asked myself why did I come to uga not thinking I would experience any racism why didn’t I just go to an HBCU. But At the end of the day I wanted to make atleast a small difference by sticking through it, running for exec and showing girls that looked like me as they come into recruitment that they should be able to join whatever organization they wanted to be apart of."