Wed12022020

Last updateWed, 18 Nov 2020 1pm

Club & Greek

You Deserve Sisterhood Now More Than Ever

You DeserveCOVID-19 has unfortunately taken many things from many people. It’s had the power to take lives, jobs, and for Monmouth students, it’s taken away the ability to sit in a classroom and learn in a traditional way. But beyond the classrooms, it has affected on-campus organizations. Largely, Greek Life.

Monmouth University is home to five sororities: Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Sigma Tau, Alpha Xi Delta, Delta Phi Epsilon and Phi Sigma Sigma. It is also the home base for fraternities, Sigma Tau Gamma, Sigma Pi, Phi Kappa Psi and Tau Delta Phi.

Greek life’s presence at Monmouth in a COVID-19 free world is large. Greek organizations are constantly holding table events outside the Student Center, philanthropy events in Pollack, and usually hold chapters and rituals inside academic buildings. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances at hand, this has broken down the element of sister and brotherhood, a major selling point for these organizations.

Over the past week, Tina VanSteenberg met with the Panhellenic chapters on campus to discuss ways to increase sisterhood in our now virtual world. VanSteenberg is a proud alumni of Alpha Gamma Delta and hails from Twin Cities, Minnesota. With her powerful speaking abilities and her knowledge of Greek life, she has been offering talks to chapters to help them navigate the struggles of having the sorority experience amidst a pandemic.

She opened up her meeting with Monmouth’s Iota Theta chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi by inviting girls to share how they are “genuinely” doing right now. Immediately, the chat box flooded with responses that highlighted stress, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed. VanSteenberg acknowledged that everyone is in the same boat right now.

“Sisters are a bright spot in our world,” she said. “We all want to spend more time with the people we love, and we are up against some pretty big barriers.” Sisters are often a source for sorority members to go to during times of trouble, and with restrictions and fear of spreading COVID, it can be challenging to lean on those support systems.

This often leaves sorority members feeling powerless. But she wants members of Panhellenic organizations to know that they have the ability to take that power back. In a pre-COVID world, there were often instances of what she called, “accidental sisterhood,” which occurred by simply running into sisters in class or by just showing up to chapter.

These days, it is much more difficult to connect with sisters due to COVID-19 protocols and fear of spreading/ catching the virus. This leaves members feeling a sense of disconnect. Though sisterhood is something members truly desire right now, it has been difficult for many chapters in the community to make it a priority.

VanSteenberg discussed three barriers to prioritizing sisterhood. The first one that she recognized was the lack of time and energy to put into other things beside class and work, etc. The second one being that many sisters feel as though they are a burden to fellow members or friends. The final obstacle, and one that many sisters resonated with is the element of struggling with mental health.

VanSteenberg then placed members into breakout rooms so sisters could discuss what barriers they resonated most with. In these rooms, many sisters agreed that it’s nice to see everyone relating to each other. One sister added in the chat box that it made them feel as though they were “Never alone.”

Another sister said, “It is so easy to think and feel like you are the only one going through these things.” However, VanSteenberg’s activity made the sisters bond over the struggles they are all facing right now. It really drove home the point that sisterhood is something everyone could use during these challenging times.

 VanSteenberg said, “Women are not meant to go through a global pandemic alone. This is exactly what sisterhood was created for.” She emphasized that sisterhood is not just “showing up” to events. It is a feeling of support, love, laughter, care, and knowing that someone is going to be there for you.

At the close of the event, VanSteenberg encouraged members to share stories of a time when a sister supported them. The stories that were shared were heartwarming and created a sense of inspiration to do the same for others. VanSteenberg encouraged members to keep putting forth the effort, and that it is work worth doing. “Even when the mental health tank is low, go the extra mile.”

The sisters of Alpha Omicron Pi thoroughly enjoyed the event. For more information on Tina VanSteenberg, be sure to follow her Instagram @tinaraevan.

 

PHOTO COURTESY of @tinaraevan

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