After Chapter, a Christian event started by the current Chaplains of each Panhellenic sorority, has shown that women of the Greek community are much more than stereotypical “sorority girls” concerned only with partying, booze and boys. With more than a 400-participant turnout on After Chapter’s opening night, Greek women are using their personal time to better themselves through a community built upon strong values. As stated on After Chapter’s Facebook Page, the event is “open to all Panhellenic sororities at UT Austin. It is a night of worship, music, talking, listening and getting to know your sisters.”
After Chapter was designed as a play on After Dark, a Christian event whose purpose was “to expose college students to the person of Jesus so they can decide for themselves if they feel like He is in any way relevant to their lives today.” The difference between After Dark and After Chapter, however, is After Chapter’s emphasis on sisterhood through the relation of similar values and the common ground of good morals and faith. Despite After Chapter’s Panhellenic premise, the Panhellenic Council is not involved in the event. After Chapter, unlike After Dark, is an event only open to women, which is one of its greatest strengths. And, as a woman who has participated in After Chapter, I can attest to the value of the event’s authentic premise to women in the Greek community.
As an out-of-state student from California, I did not anticipate that part of UT’s culture would include mass participation in worship, especially within the Greek community. The prominence of Christian practices and beliefs is demonstrated through the mass quantity of women who attend After Chapter. It is important that these women be commended for their actions, which are far from the Greek stereotypes perpetuated in movies like Animal House.
At first glance, After Chapter may be perceived as exclusionary toward sorority members with different beliefs, women not affiliated in Greek life and even men. The essence of the event, however, is sisterhood through the foundational religion of most Panhellenic sororities: Christianity. Therefore, it is logical to base After Chapter upon the long-standing Christian guidelines upon which these sororities were founded.
But, unlike some group events for women, After Chapter doesn’t aim to be matchmaking 101. On the contrary, it’s a testament to the event’s authenticity that it doesn’t allow males to participate. This truly shows that women using their free time to attend After Chapter have no ulterior motives. They are there strictly to better themselves and create a community of esteemed women who encourage their shared goals and aspirations.
The opportunity that the chaplains of these respective Greek organizations, who collectively organize these events, present their members is much more than a Bible reading. The values discussed in these events are universal and applicable to women of all religious backgrounds, allowing for group discussion, debate an individualized interpretation of faith.
After Chapter was first proposed by Chi Omega Chaplain Sara Davies during a Panhellenic chaplain meeting organized by Alpha Delta Pi Chaplain Alexa Babin. Davies wanted to create an event not only for worship but to unify all sororities under the universal connector of faith. To prove this universality, the event is housed in everyday places. The first two After Chapter gatherings took place Feb. 15 and March 25 in the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity gymnasium. (Though the event was held in a fraternity gym, no men were present during the event.)
As Delta Delta Delta Chaplain Lauren Gaskill said, “We wanted to show sorority women at UT that Christ is here at UT. He is everywhere, not just church. He can be anywhere; like the Sig Ep gym. After Chapter is designed to remind girls that God is in Greek life, and [Greek life] is not the dark place that some make it out to be.”
But the value of the event is best expressed by the women who participate in After Chapter. With glowing reviews, Greek women view the event as a time that allows them to be united regardless of their affiliation and unite as sisters under their common moral and religious beliefs.
Triolo is a journalism freshman from Hollister, Calif.
Editor’s note: Triolo is a member of a Panhellenic sorority involved in the organization of the event but is not permitted to disclose her particular sorority affiliation to the press. We have included her column in spite of this because we believe it is a valuable viewpoint.