"Why I Left My Sorority" Video

The Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed Alex Purdy, a student at Syracuse University who posted a video, "Why I Left My Sorority." Purdy explains her decision without calling out her particular sorority, but gives some damning examples, such as sisters "body shaming" other sisters. She says the biggest problem is "the overwhelming lack of compassion for one another." Purdy is also careful to say that this reflects only her experience and may not represent all sororities.

In the interview, Purdy says she worked on the video for more than six months and had been worried about how people would react. Since then, the video, with the hashtag #sororityrevamp, has received more than 100,000 views, and Purdy has appeared on the Today show.

Most Twitter comments are positive, complimenting Purdy for raising the conversation. Some expressed gratitude for their own sorority, which they say is a kind, compassionate place.

Dani Weatherford, executive director of the National Panhellenic Conference, provided this statement for The Washington Post:

We share in Alex's call for a thoughtful dialogue regarding how to best shape the modern sorority experience. Our member organizations set high standards, and a conversation about living up to them is one that we always welcome.

We also know that for millions of women, sorority membership has been and continues to be transformational and life-changing. We know from research that sorority women are not only more likely to graduate, but to graduate on time and to report a positive sense of engagement in their personal and professional lives.

For us, Alex's story is a reminder that our work must continue as we seek to enhance a sorority experience more than 100 years strong that's rooted in creating opportunities for service, leadership and scholarship. 

Discussion Starters:

  • What examples do you hear of logical argument, emotional appeal, and credibility?
  • How does she organize the video? Do you find this structure helpful to her argument, or does it detract from her points?
  • How do you assess Purdy's own credibility? What makes her credible, and what might diminish her credibility?