real sorority

This article was written by a student of ENGL 2310: Introduction to Journalism, which is taught by Mike Pulley.

In a time when many relationships are forced to be virtual and from a distance, sororities at Clemson University face the unusual task of both maintaining relationships within their sisterhoods and continuing to foster relationships with their beloved philanthropies.

In a normal year, sororities at Clemson frequently host various philanthropy events each semester. These events include both in-person elements and fundraising. Previous events have included 5Ks and visiting the various philanthropies. Members of sororities often comment on how much they enjoy having personal relationships with their philanthropies. With restrictions on gathering size and social distancing, hosting in-person events seems nearly impossible.

“I think that in-person interactions with Girls on the Run is ideal, but not realistic,” said Gwyn Atkian, a senior Marketing major who serves as the Vice President of Public Relations for Clemson’s Gamma Phi Beta. Girls on the Run works with elementary and middle school girls and holds a 5K each year.

Ultimately, sororities must do what’s best for their chapter members, their philanthropies and the Clemson community. One way that many sororities are attempting to maintain an in-person aspect of supporting their philanthropies is through proceeds nights. On proceeds nights, a percentage of sales made at specific locations goes towards sororities’ philanthropies.

“We have already had one proceeds night at a local boutique,” said Taylor Petrucci, a senior Psychology major who serves as Philanthropy Chair for Clemson’s Tri Delta.

Many sororities at Clemson have adapted to online methods of fundraising. Alpha Delta Pi, for example, is hosting a virtual 5K this semester.

“While we are sad we can’t be together for our annual Pi Spike tournament, this online event will give us the opportunity to invite friends and family from anywhere to participate,” said Kylie Vanhorn, a senior Management and Sports Communication major who is Director of Philanthropy for Clemson’s Alpha Delta Pi.

Fundraising in each sorority will be affected differently by COVID-19 restrictions. For Pi Beta Phi, being unable to host its usual philanthropy event was a huge loss.

“This event is where the majority of our fundraising comes from, so the inability to have an event this semester will dramatically affect our fundraising efforts,” said Caitlin Fisher, a sophomore Political Science major and the Director of Service and Philanthropy for Clemson’s Pi Beta Phi.

The ways sororities adapt to new restrictions and engage the community will ultimately determine how much support they are able to raise.

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