I received a check today for what I believe was my housing deposit… a one hundred dollars that I really never anticipated seeing again. I thought to myself, “Way to go, Maryville College. This is pretty awesome.” Then I started thinking back on my undergraduate experience; there are a lot of things that I did that probably did not fall under the handbook standards. Of those things, there is explicitly a place in the handbook that states that no student should be involved in a Greek organization. I did my best to hide it for as long as I could while I was in college, but now, after the fact and the housing deposit, I’m just going to come out and state it to everyone. I was in a Greek organization. Not only am I going to announce it, but I’m going to tell you all the details of what it was like to pledge, join, and eventually become Co-President. It goes against everything that I have vowed against, but here are the gruesome details of the time that I pledged… Jappa Kappa.
My freshman year, one of my friends desperately wanted to be involved in an underground organization on campus. There were of course the colors: the greens and purples and reds. Of course, if you really wanted to be among the elite girls, you would pledge the remaining society: the only girl’s society with actual known Greek letters. She waited to get her bid because she was confident that she would, and to be honest, all of us were pretty confident as well. She was decently popular, well-respected, and extremely active on campus. When it was all said and done, she would not receive that letter, and because I was done with all my homework and did not really want to interact with my roommate all that much, I was there to pick up the pieces. All of the bids from all the girls’ organizations had been handed out… or so she had thought. That night was the night that we all received our bid letters from an even more special organization: Jappa Kappa. My friend Kasi and I were bored and, like most college freshmen, had way too much time on our hands. So on a dark evening in 2009, we created Jappa Kappa: a formation of both of our names using only one legitimate Greek letter, so that Rebecca had a place to call her own. In the past semester, we knew that at least some of the organizations spread glitter of their organization’s color across campus during their pledging weeks. It was everyone’s least favorite week of college because the glitter ended up everywhere: in classrooms, in the library, in the cafeterias… sometimes in people’s eyes. The glitter never officially disappeared until some time around finals week. To put it lightly… the glitter was a total bitch.
So, we approached Rebecca with our offer. To our surprise, she gladly accepted, and we were off to Target. We bought all the glitter we could find. The woman that checked us out that evening was terribly confused. I’m sure she assumed we were either just extremely enthusiastic craft people or that we were buying up stock for an upcoming gay pride parade. It really was an absurd amount of glitter. That night, we traipsed around campus wearing all black. We nonchalantly emptied our containers: red, purple, and green… and blue just because we knew that no one would really know what the hell blue was for. At one point, I feel like someone screamed out “Ya! Ya!” because it seemed appropriate, though Ellen Burstyn nor Sandra Bullock was no where to be found. Once we finished, we nodded to each other in affirmation and agreed that we had finished. We were now members of what I assume is the dumbest, but only, fratority that had ever existed.
The next day, chatter of the glitter was the talk of the town. Average students, or GDIs as the Greek system often refers to them, complained of yet another glitter mess across campus that seemed a bit more extreme than it had been in previous years. Members of the societies secretly glared at members of the others, believing it to be an early approach to a semesterly tradition. How dare those skanks in the greens do this to the reds? How could the purples screw us over like this? Eventually, it was determined that it was those preppy girls in the elite society that had caused all this mischief. Rebecca, Kasi, and I laughed under our breaths and mocked the stupidity of the glitter mess to all of our friends.
Eventually, we wanted another member, so we made our friend Sam carry around a balloon we had found for about an hour. Just like that… BAM. He was in, too. After freshman year, we all kind of gave up on Jappa Kappa, and to my knowledge, it’s probably going to be nonexistent now that we’ve all graduated. Eventually, Kasi and I would commit to our own semi-exclusive groups and Rebecca would join a sorority once she transferred. Sam decided to go into Student Affairs, which is kind of like when a once-prostitute joins a convent to become a nun. He will spend the rest of his days asking for forgiveness for the sins he committed within the bonds of Jappa Kappa.
In my next three years, I never saw a sprinkle of glitter on the ground from the hands of the secret societies. In a weird way, I missed it. But there is something legendary knowing that the last really obnoxious, and semi-vandalistic, glitter mess was at the hand of the vengeful and haze-filled Jappa Kappa. We were an eclectic group that never threw a party, paddled anyone, nor drank all that much. Our motto was “Don’t tell anyone that we did this. We’ll definitely get suspended.” Every once in a while, we talk about what it was like to be in Jappa Kappa, kind of like when veterans talk about their time in ‘Nam. There are flashbacks, but no one can ever take away the night that we really confused everyone by throwing glitter all over the place.