The Lee E. Eshleman Studio Theater was filled with rows of students from a variety of ethnicities Tuesday night at 8 p.m., many of them wearing unusual symbols on their shirts.
Not long into James Madison University’s Intercultural Greek Council step show presentation, which comes as part of the Performing Arts Series, came the shrill calls and special chants specific to certain sororities and fraternities as a way of introducing themselves, and as part of their tradition.
The presentation included students giving background information about their sororities and fraternities. They also explained a bit about the organizations’ mottoes and values, ranging from scholarship to service to friendship. There was also a slideshow of information on these groups narrated by Tenea Lowery.
After the slideshow there was a panel of students answering questions about their organizations. During this forum, students agreed that some of the things they get out of being involved in their organizations are more knowledge on time management, acquiring job skills, and especially networking.
The panelists explained the social benefits of being in a fraternity or sorority. The camaraderie that comes with “crossing” with fellow students creates a bond that can last a lifetime. One student specifically pointed out that it was nice to know that a sorority “sister” was always just a phone call away – even when travelling throughout the country.
“I thought it was good to have a little interaction with JMU,” said Senior Carmen Miller. “I hope that it sparks more interaction with JMU.”
One requirement for joining these organizations is usually a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Members stated that joining these groups is often a lifelong commitment. They told stories about graduate members who chose to stay involved in the programs even into their 80’s and beyond.
The actual step dances only happened at the very beginning and the very end of the presentation.
The dance that started the presentation included 12 newly “crossed” sorority sisters in green shirts, who danced a well-choreographed routine of slaps, stomps, and chants. At the end, only three fraternity brothers participated in the actual dance, which consisted of jumping, slapped knees and rhythmic stomping.
Although the entire presentation lasted an hour, the two dances only lasted about five minutes and left many of the attendees disappointed.
“I think the most prominent opinion was disappointment that there wasn’t more of a performance,” said Miller.
“I thought it was really cool and I enjoyed the information,” said Junior Cody Walker, “but I expected it to be more of a step dance show.”
Although the feeling of disappointment was common among attendees, students enjoyed hearing about JMU’s different sororities and fraternities, and felt that this event could lead to further interaction between the schools.