What Is Sorority Initiation? The Ultimate Guide

Nervous about sorority Initiation? While I can’t reveal the entire truth about Initiation, I’ll try to provide the best description about this once-in-a-lifetime sorority experience.

Sorority Initiation is a rite of passage ceremony every new member of a sorority goes through to become an official Sister of their sorority. Each sorority has a different and unique Initiation ceremony that is rooted in the sorority’s core values and beliefs.

Unfortunately, much of what goes on during Initiation is top secret and is not to be shared with non-initiated members. But in this blog post, I’ll try my best to provide you a good idea about what to expect for your upcoming sorority Initiation.

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What happens during Initiation?

Sorority Initiation is a ceremony that occurs a few weeks after a new pledge class as received bids and completed their new member period.

During the new member period, new members learn general information about their sorority during new member meetings, such as:

  • The values and expectations initiated Sisters should uphold
  • The founding Sisters of the sorority
  • Public facts about the sorority (motto, animal, date the sorority was founded, etc.)
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Big Little mentorship program
  • Philanthropy
  • Financial obligations
  • Etc.

Initiation is the final step of the new member process. It provides closure to the new member period because you’ll finally learn the “secrets” of the sorority and become an official sister of the sorority.

What should I wear to sorority Initiation?

You will be told by your New Member Educator what you should wear to your sorority Initiation.

It varies by sorority, but in general, you will look pretty plain the day of sorority Initiation. And that just means more beauty sleep for you!

How long is Initiation?

Depending on how large your pledge class is and how organized your sorority is, it could take 1 hour to even 3 hours (give or take) to complete the Initiation ceremony.

And for New Members, there may even be a debriefing, post-initiation workshop after the ceremony, so I’d recommend taking off of work that day if you have a job.

Who attends sorority Initiation?

Every active, initiated Sister and all new members attend sorority Initiation from start to finish.

Does hazing occur during Initiation?

Hazing should never occur before, after, or during sorority Initiation.

All sorority chapters have strong bylaws in place that strictly define what hazing or harassment is.

Hazing, according to HazingPrevention.org, is defined as:

Hazing is any action taken or any situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or team, whether new or not, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.

HazingPrevention.org (source)

If you are experiencing or witnessing any form of hazing or harassment please talk to and report the incident to your:

  • New Member Educator
  • Education Vice President
  • Chapter President
  • Chapter Advisor
  • Department of Greek or Fraternity and Sorority Life at your university
  • Trusted adult, professor, or mentor
  • Campus police

You can also find more information about hazing at StopHazing.org or HazingPrevention.org.

What if I can’t attend Initiation due to a time conflict?

If for some reason you have a sudden emergency or a class during the time of Initiation, you need to talk to your New Member Educator and or Education Vice President, about scheduling a different time for a private Initiation ceremony.

In my experience, girls who were not able to be initiated on the official date of Initiation had their ceremony before the next chapter meeting.

But, don’t worry, only a few sisters have to attend, so if you have already been Initiated don’t worry about having to go through the whole ordeal again.

Usually only executive council and the sorority bigs of the new members who still need to be initiated will attend a makeup Initiation ceremony.

What could prevent me from being Initiated?

New members are only eligible to be initiated if they are in good financial standing and have purchased and received their membership badge or pin.

If you, for some reason, have not been keeping up with your sorority dues or missed the deadline to purchase your badge or pin, you could be prevented from being initiated.

You may also like: How Much Does It Cost To Be In A Sorority?

I personally have never seen this occur during my time in a sorority, but from what I understand, if you are not initiated with your original pledge class, you will be initiated with the next pledge class.

However, there is also the potential to have your membership terminated if you are unable to be initiated. But you would have had to do something seriously wrong, like vandalism, stealing, revealing sorority secrets, etc., as a new member to be terminated.

Can you wear sorority letters before Initiation?

Yes, you can wear your sorority letters before Initiation, but there is one restriction.

Until you are initiated, you cannot wear anything with the crest of your sorority.

You can, however, wear anything that has the name of your sorority written out in Greek letters or word-for-word.

Before you are initiated you cannot wear anything with the crest of your sorority. Click here to purchase.

Before and after you are initiated, you can wear your sorority letters in Greek letters or spelled out. Click here to purchase.

Can you drop a sorority after initiation?

While you are able to drop your sorority at anytime, you need to think very carefully before you make this decision.

If you drop your sorority after you have been initiated, you are not able to go through sorority recruitment again. In other words, initiation disqualifies you from joining another sorority chapter.

However, if you transfer to another university, and they have a chapter of the sorority you were initiated into, you can join that chapter. But you cannot join any other sorority even if you transfer schools.

You can read more about the process of dropping your sorority by clicking here.

Concluding thoughts on sorority Initiation

Sorority Initiation is an incredible experience for new members and I hope you are excited for it.

However, it is understandable to feel nervous or anxious about an event that is so secretive. But trust me, you will be just fine during the whole entire process!

So take a deep breath and soak in every moment of it because you only get to experience sorority Initiation once as a new member.

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