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Communication Within Groups

There are many different kinds of groups that exist between college students that deal with communication they range from sports teams to many community or social groups. The type of organizations that are mostly found in many colleges today are Greek letter organizations. In this paper I will exploring communication within the realm of sororities. First, I am going to start with the history of Sororities, then I am going to write about how important it communication is during what sororities call the pledge process.

Furthermore I am going to tell about the different things that sororities have, such as the symbols, colors and different things that may deal with communication. Even though all sororities have different representations for their symbols and colors, they all have them and they mean certain things. Before sororities came about they only had fraternities which dated back the colonial times then later in the mid 19th century sororities came about due to the decrease in popularity (Encarta).

During that period, colleges focused almost exclusively on teaching the classics (Greek and Latin literature) and promoting religious piety, rather than liberal arts (science, history, and literature) or applications of learning such as engineering and agriculture. In response, students created their own outlets to debate the intellectual and political ideas of their time. The early debating societies took on names that reflected classical thinkers or ideas( Encarta).

Until the 20th century, most fraternities and sororities excluded African American students. The movement to create organizations for African American students began in 1906 with the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Cornell University. Two years later, the first sorority for African American women, Alpha Kappa Alpha, was established at Howard University. Members of African American Greek-letter organizations sought to help other black students develop to their full potential in a mutually supportive atmosphere.

Historically, the founding principles of African American Greek organizations included service to their community, academic achievement, and creation of cultural and social outlets for students (Encarta). There are different types of sororities. There are four basic types of Greek letter organizations: social, professional, academic or honorary, and service. Of these, social Greek-letter organizations are most popular (Encarta). The first social sorority started in 1851 by women at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia.

The women founded the Adelphean Society, which later became a Greek-letter sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. Other early Greek-letter sororities for women included Pi Beta Phi, established in 1867 at Monmouth College, in Monmouth, Illinois, and Kappa Alpha Theta, established in 1870 at DePauw University (formally Indiana Asbury College) in Greencastle, Indiana (Encarta). Social sororities contribute to the social development of members through organized social events and service projects.

Many chapters maintain houses on or near the campus where members can meet and hold social functions. Social sororities are known for their parties, dances, and other social activities (Encarta) . Many sororities encourage those interested ladies to go out and get to know people , and members of the sorority itself. ” Given the minimum requirement that pledges be academically capable of maintaining membership, the organizations that selected them are likely to pay attention to two kinds of qualities in a potential member.

First there are those that will suit them to general function of acquiring and maintaining friends, and interest in other people, skill in relating to them, and perhaps the most important, an orientation toward group life, which will dispose them to establish and maintain friendship within the house (Scott 92). The period of recruitment is called rush . The rush period is the opportunity for those who are interested in joining a sorority to go out to various events that the school may hold where they can get information about the sorority and find out what sorority they feel will best suit them.

When a sorority chooses you to join you receive an invitation called a bid. At that time you pick organization you feel which one that you feel you would best fit in, and with that you have to be communicate to them that you want to be commutative with them. After that they go into something called the pledge period at this time it is very important that you communicate with the people you want to become your fellow sisters. During this time it is important for the pledges to get to know as many sisters as possible. During the pledging process also called a new member education, the pledges learn about the history and goals of the sorority.

The sisters try to foster communication within the pledge class by forcing them to depend on each other. This is important because if you are not willing to communicate with the other people this can lower your chances of being able to survive in that sorority. When you are going thorough this process the sisters are looking out to see who they want to have become a sister in that sorority, if you do not go out and get to know anyone in the group you are going to become a sister of, then there is the possible chance that you will not become a sister of that sorority.

Even though the different sororities go through a process different such as this it may not be as drawn out as the social sororities and important that they communicate as much as they need to in order to survive in that sorority. Support in the pledge process is a communicative act perceived by a recipient as enhancing their well being that, it is a judgment based upon the support recipient perceptions of others behaviors (Journal of Applied communication Research). After completing the pledging process, when you become a sister.

The process is generated toward fostering commutation with other sisters and establishing lifelong bonds. Sororities use five different goals for their communication. “First they tend to respond to what they hear by sharing similar experiences of their own lives, allowing the bonds to grow into what will be sisterhood, rather then building on each other for tit-for-tat fashion. Second they tend to pay close attention to the feelings and perceptions expressed by their communication partners so that they can offer support.

Third, they maintain their relationship by keeping up on what is happening in their communication partners lives, the women tend to ask questions and in their own ways invite their communication partners to talk about their experiences . Fourth, it encourages talk that the women tend to respond directly to what is said, and asking for details and using both verbal and nonverbal encouragement. Finally, to keep their conversations open and inclusive, women tend to use tentative language, such as qualifiers for tag questions.

Communication within the sorority is a way to prove oneself and to demonstrate that on has knowledge and skills. (Journal of Applied Communication Research). Communication plays a vital role in the survival and the dynamics within the group. When I asked a friend about her organization she said “when talking with her chapter we use weekly meetings with organized format to address issues within the chapter and upcoming events. When dealing with the organization wide issues we primarily use emails, and when we are dealing with things of a social nature we call each other to catch up.

Communication is very important to them because it is how they bond, ” it is how you can know someone as far as 1,000 miles away from you that they haven’t’ even met yet” There are a different variety of symbols and colors in the system of sororities. Even though the symbols mean different things within each sorority they all have them. Each symbol classifies a different thing as to what the sorority means and stands for. The sorority chapter has a website and this is a form of mediated communication. Her sorority uses organizational communication and mediated communication.

Organized communication is how the communicate within the organization and there is a chain of command which is how they communicate with the rest of the world via their website. One unique thing that another friend of mine sorority does is called stepping. Steeping is done primarily done by members f minority Greek letter organizations. The Arizona star did and article about the art of stepping. Stepping is a mix of cultural expression using parts of the body such as the thighs, arms, hand and feet to produce sound.

Stepping was used by enslaved Africans as a means of communication. It originated in the diamond mines of south Africa where slaves couldn’t communicate because of language barriers and they would use stepping to communicate with rhythms( Arizona Daily Star 2003). Today’s sororities perform step as a means of sending messages to the audience. UCLA said “we have step shows to convey positive messages and to captivate the audience so they have what we have to say. Back then it was a way of saying their pain so they wouldn’t get in trouble.

They couldn’t’ say anything negative so it was a kind of a code that they had used( www. dailybruin. ucla. edu). ” In conclusion sororities like other groups have communication which is important for them to survive. Throught communication sororities are able to continue the legacy and reaffirm the goals set forth by their founders, as well as help the organization to grow. In this paper I have talked about sororities history of how they started and also the things that they do as forms of communication in order to survive in the group.

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