I knew very little about sororities as I entered my freshman year at Western Carolina University. There were no mailings during the summer selling Greek life on campus to naive freshmen and none of my friends or family had been a sorority member. My first impressions were through the Mascot at WCU. He had attended my high school and I looked him up. He suggested that I go through recruitment and even suggested a sorority that I should join because it had the girls who were the cheerleaders. My roomie and I talked about rushing, but both of us came from families that were struggling to pay the tuition and after long discussions decided we would wait and see.
We watched and heard about rush from the girls on the hall and rejoiced with the ones receiving a first choice bid and agonized with the heart broken when there was no bid at all. Watching all this, we decided that we had made the correct decision. Even so, throughout our freshman year, we kept our eyes on the sorority sisters and saw that these groups of girls became close and formed a niche where each one seem to fit, seemed to contribute, and had lots of fun in the process.
We decided to take the plunge and give rush a try during our sophomore year IF we had good grades. Our grades were not just good, but Dean's List Good! We both presented to our parents the costs involved, the time and all the positives we could think of. We must have done a great job because both said yes. Rush was exciting, frustrating, and challenging, but in the end we both placed our bid for Alpha Xi. We did not talk about our decisions and walked to turn in our bids together not knowing if we had chosen the same group of women. We only confirmed our choices once we received our Double Blue and Gold invitation.
We set our clocks early and somehow in the excitement and anticipation, set it an hour early. We awoke, and in our sleepiness thought we had overslept. How quickly we dressed, practically running to the church where the ceremony was to be held. We brushed our hair as we ran and made do with very little make up. Much to our surprise, no one was there. We were mortified! Our first thoughts were, We're late and they have moved to another venue!! So what do we do now? Within the next 20 minutes with tears in our eyes, we went over options and choices. Thankfully we did not have to make any of those choices. The president of our chapter pulled up in a car and with a shocked look on her face asked why we were here so early. What relief it was to know that we had not missed our initiation, but was just overly early. Alpha Xi proved to be the stepping stone for the rest of our lives giving us wonderful sisters whom we still meet for lunch so we can remember with warm hearts and laugh about those good old days.
Written by Renita Walker, '69 Western Carolina