In honor of Michigan Alpha’s 125th Anniversary, more than 250 alumnae and collegians converged on Hillsdale College for a weekend of events. The following stories, written by Michigan Alpha collegians, were shared during the celebration.
By Kelly Scott, Michigan Alpha Sophomore
Had you asked me two years ago if I would join a women’s fraternity, my answer probably would have been a “no.” That’s if I could have made it through my laughter. You see, before coming to Hillsdale, my image of sorority life was much like “Legally Blonde.” In my mind, sorority girls did three things: lounged by the pool, rode bicycles in designer shoes and waited for a ring from their picture-perfect boyfriends. However, once my freshman year began, I soon realized how wrong that image was.
Through all of my encounters with the Pi Beta Phis, I was blessed to see examples of strong, confident, intelligent, poised and beautiful women. From the leader of my freshman year Bible Study, who prayed with me as I contemplated returning from break for formal recruitment, to the girls I met during the Honors Program’s retreat, one of whom would become my dear Big Sister, I saw that Michigan Alphas weren’t what I expected, but they were everything I wanted to become.
During recruitment, I learned about the academic support and leadership opportunities this house could give me. I heard impressive statistics about how Pi Phis are leaders of more than a third of the college’s GOAL volunteering programs, that the house’s average GPA is higher than the all-campus women’s average, and how the skills gained through a women’s fraternity helped Pi Phis to earn incredible internship opportunities. However, while all of those facts were true and encouraging, meeting Pi Phis showed me much more. I learned Pi Beta Phi ties women together with beautiful bonds of wine and silver blue. Ours is a sisterhood that strives for noble womanhood.
I was blessed to fall in love with this house, even before I knew if it had fallen in love with me. I remember standing outside of our house before preference parties, shaking with nerves and excitement in my heels and dress, when another Potential New Member approached me. She squeezed my hand and simply said, “We’re going to be sisters!” With those five words, I became a part of the sisterhood before signing my bid card. I would later be fortunate enough to call that girl my sister, roommate and best friend.
To me, Pi Beta Phi is the comfort of that simple gesture. It’s knowing there are 145 years of women before you, and even more than that to come. It’s repeating, promising and living the words of our ritual. It is taking the same oath during your Initiation that every Pi Phi has before you. Pi Beta Phi is sharing the heritage of Michigan Alpha with women who were at Hillsdale in 1887. It is having the chance to serve your house with whatever time and talents you can offer. It is the excitement of wearing your three letters for the first time and the sorrow of graduation. It is sharing an enormous plate of nachos or talking on the front staircase until three in the morning. Pi Beta Phi is one of the most beautiful gifts given among a group of women. It is a promise to love you, to support you, to admonish you if necessary and to strive together for noble womanhood. I couldn’t be any prouder to be a part of our sisterhood and to call myself a Michigan Alpha.
Looking back now, I see how foolish I was to cast all sorority girls into one type. Sure we check that our lip gloss is perfect before recruitment rounds, cry tears of joy when picking up our Little and some do end up with that sparkly diamond ring, but during my two years at Hillsdale, I’ve learned a Michigan Alpha is much more. She is a true sister, even in the most trying of times. A Pi Beta Phi is a noble woman.