And Then There Were Six...

by Rebecca Josephson | 11/23/98 6:00am

We, the sisters of Zeta Beta Chi sorority, wish to announce that on December 10, 1998, our organization will dissolve and the assets will be donated to charity. Therefore, this is our last term as a member of CFSC and Panhellenic Council.

This decision is one that we have been considering for a long time now, and there have been several years of events in the timeline that led to this moment.

All of these things are very sad and frustrating to write. We are all students and, like so many of you, we see what benefits Dartmouth's Greek system has to offer its members and those who choose to join each year. We all chose to join the system and all that it had to offer us through philanthropy, sisterhood and socially. It is unfortunate that our desire to remain in this community has ben checked by real, tangible barriers.

Barriers such as money, which comes from fewer and fewer members for the past four years, have hurt our co-sponsorship and programming abilities. We felt the campus did not embrace our switch from national to local affiliation in the summer of 1997.

In many ways, this may not be a surprise to those of you who have been questioning or ignoring our existence since our new name was assumed a year and a half ago. Oh yeah, there is a seventh Panhellenic sorority on Dartmouth's campus.

It's hard to explain to those organizations who possess significantly more womanpower how much it hurts during rush to spend countless hours recruiting, with every single member giving their all, and then to have countless people turn away from the unparalleled opportunity to take control of a well-established house. It does cut deep to our self-esteem and feelings of worth in the Greek community. If we are supposed to be part of a system, why didn't we feel like it?

This piece is not meant to be a criticism in any way of the Greek system at Dartmouth. We are merely expressing our thoughts about why this has happened and being honest to the Dartmouth community about our feelings.

One quality that has been most positive about our house and that we will miss the most from each other is that we all truly do feel sisterhood between each other. It's not just a catch-phrase.

Through many shared experiences, the bond that the 15 of us have developed goes beyond what any of us might have had, had we met in another way. The leadership responsibilities, while not meaning that the president is managing 120 members, mean more when everyone contributes to everything. Everything that our house has done on this campus has been all of us, not just a few pledges or some of the more enthusiastic members.

In our house, outstanding leaders have developed. The president of the past year has seen her character significantly strengthen, communication skills become powerful, and maturity deepen further. The vice-president and social chair of our organization was recognized at the CFS Awards dinner this fall with the Lambda Rho Leadership Award, a.k.a. Greek Woman of the Year.

The physical house at 43 North College Street fell victim to unfortunate circumstances this past summer. The discovery of mercury in our basement and subsequent cleaning processes has meant that some members have never been able to live in our house.

But a house is more than its physical plant. It is the structure and function that each member plays in the organization that determines how the house operates within the Greek system and at Dartmouth. In our move to West Wheelock Street, our real test of sisterhood began. Would the house be cohesive without our own social space that is accessible 24 hours a day?

We are happy to report that we passed quite successfully. Rush was accommodated in other large social spaces on campus, and we definitely learned much about available social space on campus in our many searches.

In closing, we'd like to again express our deep regret that this is the end of the existence of an organization that was originally formed in April of 1985 as Alpha Beta, went national in 1986 as Delta Gamma and then re-formed as Zeta Beta Chi in 1997. We had hoped that this fall's rush would have been the turning point in our house, but there comes a time when you realize that all your efforts are just not working, and it's time to bow out gracefully.

Thanks to the Office of Residential Life, especially Deb Reinders and Mary Liscinsky, for believing in us and sticking with us throughout this difficult term. Our advisor, Susan Marine, has been a source of strength and model of sound thinking since the beginning. Lastly, to each other, remember that our sisterhood lasts forever.

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