Here's to all the Phi Mus who wear their heart and hand. To the rose and white ribbons that bind us in our bond. To the lion, we get our courage, our strength and honor too, may we always have the memory of the love that means Phi Mu!
Memory. Soon that will be all we have. Last night, after a particularly horrid day at work which resulted in me having to stay late to babysit some very wound up kids and miss my kickboxing class, I got some bad news. Phi Mu Gamma Alpha Chapter, that is the Phi Mu Chapter at the College of William and Mary, is shutting down. The National Committee, after many meetings, consultations and different recruitment approaches, has decided that Gamma Alpha can not sustain herself and must take a break from W&M Greek life until "the College climate changes."
So no more lions. No more carnations. I have no idea what will happen to our house. The poor sisters who are not graduating in Spring '13 will be left without a sorority. I hear they plan to appeal the decision but I feel since Nationals e-mailed the Gamma Alpha Alumni, the appeal won't go through. There is talk that the shut down is temporary and that the chapter needs a "break." Sorority membership quota at W&M is 90 and the chapter will have around 30 members after Spring '13 graduation.
I can't sit back and think "damn, those girls really can't recruit for shit." Because I don't think it is their fault. You see, what makes Phi Mu Gamma Alpha special is that we were not a stereotypical sorority. We didn't judge pledges on what they wore, how much money they have, who they know and how pretty they are. We looked for strong diverse women with high morals and a beautiful spirit. This decision to remain faithful to our values might be what eventually killed us.
Many women enter Greek Life at W&M because they are looking for more than a Sisterhood. They're looking for status symbols, a popular reputation, the opportunity to be desired by all the 'popular' fraternity boys and the same crap that high schoolers deem to be important and noteworthy. When you graduate W&M, popularity and social status are no longer important. You need to be smart, independent, hard working, foster professional connections and be innovative to succeed in "the real world." Nothing else matters.
During my run with Phi Mu, our reputation on campus was less than stellar. Despite this, we valued ourselves and our Sisterhood. We followed the rules but had a blast too. We were a melting pot sorority and reaped the benefits because of that. No cookie-cutter structure for us.
Now all we have is "the memory of the bond we share." Facebook statuses proclaiming Phi Mu pride and love are posted, cover photos are changed, the Gamma Alpha Alumni are celebrating years of Sisterhood and remembering "the good old days." I guess the shut down will temporarily bring Sisters together. Funerals bring people together too.
As a former Vice President of Gamma Alpha, I'm not ready to be positive yet. I'm still mourning a loss. Despite the fact I haven't been an active part of Phi Mu anything since 2009, I still feel this huge, gaping, looming loss. I'm not ready to celebrate the internal glory that was once my Sisterhood. I'm going to process this first. I'm going to get my mind right so when I return to W&M for a Homecoming I won't be disappointed that I can't visit the Phi Mu house because its not the Phi Mu house anymore. I need to get over the fact that status symbols and popularity are still insanely important to the 18-20 demographic. Once I come to terms with all of this, I'll be able to celebrate the memory of the love, honor and truth that is Phi Mu.
Until Next Time....