I can remember how I felt nervously standing among my new member class of Alphas as we waited in line for our new member pinning ceremony.
I can remember how I felt surrounded by an even larger group of women as I was initiated with all the rights and privileges of a member of Alpha Delta Pi, bestowed with the secrets and ritual of our great organization.
I also remember countless meetings, intramural games, Panhellenic events, and socials designed at creating relationships and facilitating communication across chapters and councils.
I remember standing in a circle with my chapter, in the non-ritual tradition of a candle pass, as women announced the passage of their romantic relationships into serious steps of commitment with lavalieres of fraternity members and even engagement rings. This step was a decision made between two people to honor a commitment to one another.
The lavaliere, often known as a “drop” contains the Greek Letters of the partner’s organization. For women with non-greek boyfriends, something called “pearling” exists, in which the boyfriend traditionally gives the girl a pearl necklace, or in other cases a piece of jewelry containing a pearl. For women with a boyfriend in military service the lavalier is sometimes replaced by a set of his dog tags, in the military tradition called “tagging”
The meaning of this item varies among organizations and the fanfare with which it is given or recognized by their chapter run the gambit from small and private to large and public.
This week, two of my sorority sisters were honored as lavaliered by their respective boyfriends. One, still an active member, was able to hold a candle pass with the chapter. The other, an alumna was able to announce her good news through facebook and had the excitement shared by fellow members and friends across the country as they “liked” and commented on her news.
I am thrilled to see that the tradition of lavaliering is alive and well in the Fraternity and Sorority Community of Denton, TX. It is such a special exchange between two people that love and are committed not only to each other, but to their organizations. Letters, the physical representation of our ritual and organization is incredibly important to most Fraternity and Sorority members. Sharing those letters in a romantic relationship conveys trust and for some the same commitment they made to their organizations. It is important to keep these traditions alive and to celebrate the emotional milestone it is for the couple involved.
This week, it has been a pleasure to share in the happiness of my sisters and friends even from a far distance.
- An Athlete: What was the greatest moment in sports history?
- Me: Viktor Krum caught the snitch but Ireland won.
His name is Ajax, and he’s reading Dune.
I love cats and I love Dune. This photo is GOLD.