Jana Mathews

Sororities and Fraternities

I attended an undergraduate institution that did not have Greek-letter organizations and experienced a huge culture shock when I started teaching at a college that boasts one of the largest per-capita sorority and fraternity memberships in the country (approximately 45% of Rollins College undergrads are members of a Greek-letter organization, whereas the national average is 10%). My initial interest in these organizations derived from a combined sense of curiosity and hope that if I took a genuine interest in what excited my students, that they would, in turn, take an interest in what excited me: namely, medieval literature. You can read HERE about how that went.  

Since 2011, my involvement in the fraternity and sorority community has evolved from a passive observer to serving in sequence as a faculty advisor to several sorority and fraternity chapters on campus. Most recently, I served as the Executive Board Chairman (basically the head advisor) for one of my college's IFC fraternity chapters. In my role as an advisor and scholar, I've had the privilege to travel around the country and shadow dozens of sorority and fraternity recruitments, training seminars, social events (yep, I was that middle-aged woman lurking in the shadows of sorority formals), national conventions, and conferences. I'm in the final stages of compiling my academic and ethnographic research into a full-length monograph titled Group Sex: Relationship Culture in White Sororities and Fraternities.
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