Posts Tagged ‘first impression’
U niversity of Colorado sophomore Kelly Cremer rushed across the Boulder campus to class Tuesday morning.
Showing up tardy was not an option for Cremer, who was sporting the letters of her Chi Omega sorority on her tank top.
Cremer said despite her good grades and attendance, some professors have negative perceptions of students in the Greek system, and being on time is just one way she is working to combat judgement.
“We make sure to tell the girls that when they wear letters to class they should look presentable,” Cremer said. “Don’t wear them if you look hungover or like you just woke up. we have to represent them in a positive way.”
In the fall, the Chi Omega sorority — along with nine other CU sororities — will host professor dinners at the house, inviting faculty to meet some of the members in hopes of quashing some of the negative impressions, Cremer said.
Karen Tracy, communication professor and associate chair of undergraduate studies, said Greek letters are just one of the factors that create a negative first impression for some faculty.
“I make assumptions of their social and intellectual interests,” Tracy said. “I may think they are more concerned about the social aspects of college life and class is not necessarily their first priority.”
Tracy said she typically associates males in the Greek system with partying and is more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to sorority girls, who have proved in the past to be some of her best students.
The gender discrepancy could be caused by the fact that Boulder fraternities are not affiliated with CU after pledge Gordie Bailey died of alcohol poisoning in 2004, causing them to part ways. Sororities re-established a relationship with CU in 2009, contingent on rules set by the university to help keep members safe.
“The feeling I got from the disassociation was that fraternities weren’t willing to be partners in the academic mission of the university,” CU business professor Joseph Rosse said. “That doesn’t engender real positive feelings towards them.”
CU sophomore Jake Silverman, member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, wore his letters to class Tuesday and said he is aware that most professors assume he parties more than students who are not showing their Greek affiliations.
“I just try to do well and show them I care,” Silverman said.
Rosse said his experience as a professor has made him slow to judge.
“I’ve met an awful lot of students who participate in Greek life to practice leadership roles,” Rosse said. “I tend to think of that first now, so if I have any thought at all it’s likely that, on a positive level.”
Despite her unintentional assumptions, Tracy said Greek affiliation is no more damaging than piercings, tattoos, or many other factors that could be connected to a generalization.
“Greek is just a tiny piece of it,” Tracy said. “At then end of the day, it’s about how they perform in class. I think a lot of those judgements are changed once I get to know the students.”
CU sophomore and member of Alpha Phi, Allie James, said she wears her letters at least once a week.
“It’s the same as wearing a Colorado shirt for school pride,” James said. “It’s showing your pride for your sorority.”