Willow Groove – An Introduction to Sigma Epsilon Chi

Amber squinted when the midday sun flooded onto her eyes. Maybe sitting on the grass for lunch wasn’t such a good idea. The cafeteria had been noisy and crowded, but at least she could see inside. Though with cafeteria food seeing is not always a good idea either.

She balanced the individual slice pizza box, fork, napkin, and her Pepsi in one hand while shield the glare with her other. She spotted a nice shady spot to her left before her eyes teared over. A quick wipe of her eyes and a curse about forgetting her sunglasses was necessary before she made her way towards the spot. Staring at her feet while covering her eyes was the only way she could see while making the short time to the gaint oak tree.

Starring at one’s feet while walking is generally not an advisable task, especially for someone as clumzy as Amber. She was so focused on getting to the shade, she completely missed the pack of girls who had entered her path. It was only luck that the girls reached the shade before Amber, allowing her to briefly see them before colloding.

“Opps, I’m sorry,” Amber gasped, coming within inches of hitting the rear girl. She takes a step backwards, then turns to scamper off to the other side of the shaded grass.

The three girls turn around to face Amber. “You a freshman?” the rear girl asks as Amber turns away.

Amber pauses for a moment, “Yea.”

“Then come sit with us,” the shorter blonde who had been in the rear said.

“Ah ok,” Amber said. The taller girls had found a nice soft patch a grass by the base of the tree and sat in the start a circle on the ground.

“I’m Kayla,” the shorter blonde said before pointing to the other blonde and burnette, respectively, “and thats Amy and Amanda.”

“I’m Amber,” Amber said following Kayla over to the other girls.

“So how is orientation?” Kayla asked, taking out a sandwich from her backpack.

“Ah, ok. It was mostly tours this morning, and some speech by Dean Pitcher? He’s the guy in charge of undergrads, right?”

“Kindof, Dean Pritcher is the dean of undergraduate affairs,” Amanda answered. “He deals with some academic stuff and sits on the IGC, but mostly deals with student discipline.”

“IGC?” Amber asked before taking a bit of her pizza.

“InterGreek Council. Its the council of all the sororities and fraternities. Which have you thought about which sorority you are going to rush?” Amanda asked.

“Ah, no, I wasn’t planning on rushing a sorority. I’m not into that kindof stuff. You know, parties and all.” Amber commented then realized all three girls had a bold Sigma, Epsilon and Chi across the top of their t-shirts. Shit! She had just insulted sororities to three sorority members.

“Oh, it’s not like that here. Academics are EXTREMELY important at Myra. But you gota have fun too. The sororities here help with both. We try to help our girls as much as possible,” Amanda described.

“Yea, each member has a Big Sister who acts like a personal Mentor to help the girl with classes and such,” Amy chimmed in.

“You really should think about it. Nearly every girl joins one by the end of her sophomore year. I’m glad I pledged as a freshmen so I could get the benefits. I have a friend who waited and really struggled last year.” Kayla laid it on heavy. She wanted to prove to her older peers she was qualified to be in her position, even though she was a sophomore.

“Also, the sororities sponsor an academic hall, where we get to meet with the professors after hours. It really helps when getting internships or wanting to do independent study programs or even your thesis,” Amy continued.

Amber sat queitly, eating her pizza with a fork while trying to absorb the onslaught of information. She’d never thought of herself as a sorority girl before, but maybe she should join. All the stuff sounded good. “I guess I can try.”

“There is no trying! Sigma girls SUCCEED!” Amanda chided the younger girl. “Do you want to succeed?”

“Yes?” Amber answered, unaware where this sudden outburst came from.

Once Amber admitted some interest, Kayla had begun digging into her backpack for an application and clipboard. “Good! Fill out this application and I’ll make sure it gets reviewed for pledging,” Kayla said as she handed over the clipboard and a pink gel pen.

“You better, your responsible for them,” Amy snickered. “You wouldn’t want to make Sarah mad again. She really worked you out after that last incident.”

“Hey!” Kayla glared across the cirlce while blushing lighly.

“Hu?” Amber said while taking the clipboard and pen.

“I’m Assistant Pledge Mistress this year, which means I do all the admin stuff with pledging,” Kayla answered. “Sarah is the Pledge Mistress and in charge of all new pledges.”

“We are all officers actually, I’m VP for Admin and Amanda’s the Prez.” Amy chuckled at the younger sister’s embarrassment.

“Oh, well thank you.” Amber started filling out the form while the other girls discussed details of the RSO Fair which was to start in a hour. The application contained most of the standard questions, name, date of birth, college status, major and some questions about high school grades and activities. At the bottom were a dozen lines for “additional information to consider.” Amber wasn’t sure what she should put there. “What is this for?” she asked quietly, trying not to interrupt.

“Oh you can put anything there you want. Here, let me see first,” Kayla answered, taking the clipboard from Amber. She scanned over the completed sections looking for information which could be expanded upon. “You’re from New York?” Kayla asked as see came to the education section.

“Yea. My Great Aunt Martha passed away so my parents and I decided to move here.” The other three girls had big, broad smiles. “Why?”

“You want to be a Sigma, cause you’re a shoe-in.” Amanda said.

“OK, but why does being from New York make me a shoe-in?”

“Its how rushing works here. All of the sororities get points and then bid on their prospective pledges. It means every girl who applies gets a nomination. No one else knows who you are, so we can get you for only a point, where other girls cost 20 or 50 points,” Amy explained

“Oh,” Amber replied, a little downtrotten at her lack of value.

“Don’t worry, it is a pure strategy play and has no effect once pledging starts,” Amanda reinsurred.

“Yea, most of the cheaper girls are better members anyways.” Amy pipped in. “They want to be Sigma’s.”

Kayla tried stuffing the clipboard back into her full backpack, but could not get it in far enough to zip the backpack closed. Eventually she just decided to start over, and pulled all the contents out. A box of applications and fliers, half a dozen clipboards, a box of pens and a sorority paddle lay in front of her. Amber only took notice of the baby blue paddle with raised white greek letters. Kayla’s name was written in script along the bottom of the blade in white.

“Ah why does it have your name on it?” Amber asked, not really sure she wanted to know the answer. She’d heard of sororities paddling pledges, but thought they might be urban legends.

“Oh, every pledge who becomes a full member gets one from her big sister at initiation. They really are mostly to show you are a sister of Sigma Epsilon Chi. Those are not used to paddle pledges, if that is what you were thinking,” Amy explained.

“Oh, well it’s very pretty,” Amber commement.

“Thanx, Sarah, my big, is a great artist,” Kayla said as she stuffed the paddle back into her backpack last.

“Well ladies, we need to get to our table setup,” Amanda told her compariots as she stood up. She then dug into her purse and pulled out a business card in the same blue as Kayla’s paddle. “Here, feel free to call if you have any questions, sorority, university, anything,” she told Amber as she handed over the card.

“Thank you.” Amber said bashfully. She’d been at orientation for 4 hours and had already befriended some upperclassmen. Maybe Myra wouldn’t be as lonely as she had thought.

“Bye!” Amy and Kayla said in unison as they waved then followed Amanda towards the center of the Quad.

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