Differences and Similarities Between Multicultural and Panhellenic Sororities

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Multicultural and traditional sororities gather for a presidents retreat to kick off the 2022-2023 Greek life. Photo courtesy of UNC.

At the beginning of each semester, panhellenic and multicultural sororities host events at the University of Northern Colorado to invite students to join their organizations. Students can get to know each sorority and figure out where they belong and what type of sorority is a good fit for them. Multicultural and panhellenic sororities share similarities but have major differences. 

 Angel Chavez, recruitment advisor of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Incorporated, said that money is one of biggest differences between multicultural and panhellenic sororities. She said multicultural sororities can be more affordable for students. 

Angelic Arteaga, secretary of Sigma Lambda Gamma, said that the cost of a multicultural membership ranges from $200 to $250, while in a panhellenic sorority, the prices range from $600 to $6,000 per semester. 

Panhellenic sororities tend to be more expensive because they often have a traditional house where women live together. 

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Julisa Ruiz, vice president of Alpha Sigma Alpha, said that a difference between these two types of sororities is that panhellenic is still limited in their diversity and the culture they include. 

Another difference is the recruitment process. Panhellenic sororities have a rush week where students meet each sorority house and at the end of the week receive a bid, or an offer to join. Students have the option to accept, deny or defer to join a sorority. Panhellenics choose the students they want in their sororities. 

Multicultural sororities don’t rush. There is an application process that is sent to any students interested in joining. Then it is mandatory for those students to attend two events. These events are an open expresso and a close expresso. Chavez said that these events are important to attend because students need to know about the organization that they are about to join and what is like being part of an organization. 

“You choose us, we don’t choose you…we want you to find your home away from home,” Chavez said. 

Chavez said multicultural sororities are not trying to just have numbers. 

“We want to actually have people who are interested in building community within multicultural Greek life,” Chavez said. 

The events of multicultural and panhellenic sororities are unalike. Multicultural sorority events are based on cultural values and traditions, while panhellenic sorority events are based on campus lifestyle. Some events panhellenic sororities host are socials, where members get together with fraternities and do community service. 

The values of multicultural sororities are rooted being culturally aware, culturally sensitive and culturally educated. 

“We make sure to know about the history of others and acknowledge everyone else,” said Chavez. “We want individuals to find themselves and be proud of their identities.” 

Ruiz said that in a panhellenic sorority, memberswant to look good and be the best they can be for everyone. She said they represent their letters by putting them high up and behaving in a professional way. 

“MGC is also held to a very high standard, as well as a panhellenic,” said Ruiz. “I don’t feel like there is one that overpowers another one.” 

Panhellenic sororities have a larger community. About 50 to 60 women went through the recruitment process this year. 

Ruiz said that panhellenic sororities tend to be more popular because they try to make their faces familiar with new students. 

The multicultural sororities are a small community because they require at least 12 college credits so that students don’t feel overwhelmed once they join a sorority. An average of two to nine women join a multicultural sorority each semester. 

Arteaga said that having a small community in a multicultural sorority creates a big bond with her sisters and more space to create a better sisterhood. 

A similarity these two types of sororities have is that they try to make their communities a better place and build a safe space to help women during their college career.

Another thing they have in common is philanthropies. Panhellenic sororities host philanthropy days. Across three days, they raise money for the philanthropy they support. 

Panhellenic and multicultural sororities support similar national philanthropies and care about the academics of their members. Arteaga said that their goal as sororities is to see every single one of the women in their sorority graduate and succeed in college. 

“We all have the same goal, just that we find it in different little spots,” Ruiz said.

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