By Danielle Rideau
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, September 19, 2005
There are some students who spend their Fridays sleeping in and looking forward to parties, but the women of Phi Beta Chi look forward to other things: handing out lollipops on the UA Mall.
Every Friday the new Christian social sorority, Phi Beta Chi, participates in “Random Acts of Kindness Fridays” because they don’t believe they need a reason just to be nice to people, said President Sarah Weyenberg.
Weyenberg, a history junior, who started Phi Beta Chi last year, said she wanted to be a part of most aspects of sorority life like sisterhood, philanthropy and community service, but didn’t want to be subject to hazing, drinking and being judged about her looks and money.
To shy away from these stereotypical greek events, the sorority was formed to “provide a safe place for Christian girls to have fun in a social but alcohol-free environment,” Weyenberg said.
All events hosted by Phi Beta Chi are alcohol- and drug-free by regulation of their national chapter rules, but colony secretary Jenice Panknin said they still host parties and experience a lot of the same social greek events as other chapters.
They also participate in greek Bible study sessions and mentor Alta Vista High School students on Fridays as part of their colony’s local philanthropy, said Panknin, a finance junior.
While their numbers are still small, with five women total, they are trying to get their name out and recruit new members before they ask the dean of students and the Panhellenic Council for campus recognition.
Once their numbers grow, the women will outline their sorority’s national history, financial status and UA goals to both the dean and association in separate presentations, Weyenberg said.
Upon recognition from the dean, Weyenberg said, Phi Beta Chi will only be considered a campus club. But if the Panhellenic Council recognizes the group, the colony will be considered an official sorority.
An important aspect of their recruitment is how they are nonselective. Women don’t have to be Christian to join, nor do they have to participate in any of their spiritual events, said Elizabeth Luna, sorority treasurer and a journalism sophomore.
Many students might think just because Phi Beta Chi is a Christian sorority, they force their beliefs upon non-Christians, but Weyenberg said they are not “Bible pushers.”
“We do have sorority Bible studies and prayers before our meetings, but it’s OK if someone doesn’t want to be a part of the spiritual aspect; we are a social sorority,” Weyenberg said.