Sororities at Drake University welcomed nonbinary students to participate in rush this fall semester.
Elyse Dye, a senior in Kappa Alpha Theta who identifies as nonbinary, believes it was last year was when Drake Panhellenic Council officially changed their bylaws to allow for nonbinary members in sororities.
Now, sororities on campus are hoping these changes will welcome a new generation of members in the coming years.
But that was just the start of making sororities more inclusive, Dye said. According to Dye, most of the language used in chapter meetings and ritual procedures are traditionally gendered. As Diversity and Inclusion Chair of their sorority, they are working with the people who run ritual and chapter to help make their language more inclusive.
They believe that steps like that should be taken in all chapters in order to make non-binary people feel more safe and included. Progress is already being made, Dye noted, saying that members were encouraged to put their pronouns in their bios during Zoom recruitment this year.
“Pronouns are usually something that aren’t discussed in recruitment as it is unfortunately assumed everyone is cis, so it was really nice to have people put their pronouns in their bio. If pronouns could be added to name tags for recruitment in the years to come, that would be awesome,” Elyse said.
Despite the usage of some progressive language, the term ‘sisterhood’ will be applied in honor of the traditional value that it has represented for its members.
“The whole time that I went through rush, it was very accepting and very open, you know,” said Devon Vick, a first-year who uses she/they pronouns, said. “Everyone respected your pronouns, I think I’ve had more people use my they/them pronouns than my she/her pronouns the whole time I was there.”
“It’s definitely something that’s going to make a lot more nonbinary people both now and in the future feel more comfortable,” first-year nonbinary student Andi Turnbull said. “Especially in a situation where sororities are viewed as full of girls and with nonbinary people, you’re like, ‘Well I don’t want to be there, but I also don’t want to be in fraternities cause that’s like all guys.’ ”
Turnbull said that after hearing about the new policy allowing nonbinary students, they will “definitely plan to join rush next year.”