Girls just wanna have [well-earned] fun
Every year, around the time that the air gets chilly and the leaves start to fall, the women of Wash. U.’s Greek scene can be spotted prowling the racks at St. Louis shops and boutiques, hunting for the perfect dress: not too tight, not too short and definitely not too fancy—save that one for spring formal. Yes, semiformal season is upon us.
Semiformals are social events often hosted by sororities and fraternities in the fall. For sororities, which, unlike fraternities, do not have their own houses and so don’t have the same opportunities to host their own social events, semiformals provide sisters a special night to dress up and bring dates for a night of fun and dancing.
Says Evvie Kelley, social chair of Delta Gamma, “[semiformal] is invite-only, a formal dress occasion, and fun for DGs because it is one of the few times we invite our boyfriends, best friends, or love interests into our sorority world.”
This year, every sorority held a major philanthropy event before their semiformals took place. For many in Greek life, this represents the importance of contributing positively to the larger community.
Delta Gamma held Anchorsplash on Sept. 17, when members of Wash. U.’s Greek community came together underwater to benefit Service for Sight. Alpha Phi’s kickball tournament, Phi-Ball, and their first annual Red Dress Ball, were held on Sept. 20 to raise money for the Alpha Phi foundation and cardiac care awareness. Kappa Kappa Gamma’s annual Walk to the Arch was held on Oct. 4, and raised money for the Rose McGill fund to help Kappas “who [find] themselves in a financial emergency and just need a little help to get back on their feet again,” according to Kappa’s Web site. Chi Omega fundraised for the Make-a-Wish Foundation on Oct. 5 with the Chi-O Classic volleyball tournament, while Alpha Epsilon Phi’s Oct. 7 Phi Pheast raised money and awareness for the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Pi Beta Phi had their annual Down-N-Dirty basketball competition on Nov. 8 to benefit Links to Literacy, an organization dedicated to overcoming illiteracy in the United States.
In addition to these events, many sororities volunteer throughout the year; Alpha Phis go to Crisis Nursery every Friday, and AEPhis spend time with the kids at University City Children’s Center each week with the boys of AEPi. After all this good-deed-doing, no one can deny that these girls earned a chance to celebrate sisterhood with a formal social event.
Kappa Kappa Gamma kicked off semi- season on Friday, Nov. 7, at Club f15teen, which social chair Sara Shapiro called the “perfect size” for the 150 guests in attendance. Many Kappas were excited to be able to celebrate their sisterhood with a social event.
“Walk to the Arch is great because it’s just Kappas and we get to spend time together, but semi-formal gives us the chance to meet the people that are important to our sisters,” says junior Lindsay Garbutt. She added, “the club was really cool–I loved the outdoor balcony and the DJ was really good.”
Alpha Epsilon Phi’s social chair Alyssa Zucker worked hard to keep the location of their semiformal a secret so sisters would be pleasantly surprised; each year, social chairs try to find fun and unique venues to host the event, and this year certainly didn’t disappoint. On Nov. 8, sisters and their dates danced to music mixed up by one of TKE’s resident DJs at Busch Stadium’s Red Bird Club in front of views of the field and the arch.
Alpha Phi’s semiformal was the following week, Nov. 14, at SqWires Annex, a private event space connected to LaFayette Square restaurant. Jen Sisto, Alpha Phi’s social chair, looked for a “smaller space … to create more of an exciting atmosphere.” Guests danced to a DJ provided by KWUR’s Audioservice and could take pictures in a TNT Photobooth.
Chi Omega held their semiformal the next night, also at Busch Stadium. Lisa Huang, social chair, says she liked the Cardinal Club room because it was very intimate. About 100 Chi-Os attended with guests, who were excited to be in such a fun and unconventional location.
“I think it was a success—everyone seemed to enjoy it,” Huang said of the night.
The same night, Delta Gamma’s semiformal took place at the Jewel Box in Forest Park. Evvie Kelley called the location “really special” compared to past venues.
For DG, the event proved to be a great opportunity to get to know new members, according to Evvie. Junior Camilla White, who attended, said she “loved the chance to hang out with her new pledge daughters with the rest of the chapter.”
Still to come is Pi Beta Phi’s semiformal, which will be held on Dec. 5. Recently off social probation, Pi Beta Phi no longer faces restrictions on social events and is “planning events just like everyone else.” While the location is as yet undisclosed in accordance with Greek Life policy, social chair Nicole Salzman promises this year’s semiformal “is at a fantastic venue” and will be “ridiculously fun.”
Yes, semiformal season is certainly here. Up next: fraternity semiformals!