Ladies Soiree Society (LaSS) is a women’s social group and we do the same sorts of social and community service activities that I assume a sorority would be involved in if we had one. Not only do we throw the only parties with free jello shots, but we also do a lot of fundraising for important groups working on women’s issues and the Alzheimer’s Association. We also plan closed events just for members of LaSS. However, LaSS differs from a sorority in a few important ways. LaSS is an all-inclusive group for women and there is no sort of rush or selection process and definitely no initiation or hazing activities. Additionally, LaSS has no formal dues, so no one has to pay to join or be prevented from joining because of money — we are a chartered group funded by Swarthmore rather than a sorority affiliated with an outside organization.
LaSS seems to be considered by most of campus as a “fake sorority,” which is something we struggle with when we try to recruit new members. We do not have our own physical space on campus, and have not been at all welcome at the Women’s Resource Center (WRC). I have talked to a lot of freshmen who have gotten the impression from talking to other students here that LaSS isn’t a “real group” because it is just a “fake sorority” and thus are reluctant to join, when in fact LaSS does a lot of valuable activities. If a sorority were established on campus it might help give more of a “legitimate feel” to a group that is doing essentially the same activities as LaSS and attempting to fill what is honestly a large hole in Swat’s social life for women.
Carmen Perez-Leahy ’12 is President of the Swarthmore Ladies Soiree Society (LaSS).