Down the rabbit hole with OZT sorority girls
Black and red streamers fluttered in the doorframe of the rabbit hole that lead to the Greek lounge. Doe eyed freshmen peered through the slits, curious about what was inside. A tea party awaited the girls who rushed the new sorority on campus, Omega Zeta Theta (OZT).
The girls fell through the cracks of the streamers but were caught by a warm embrace from one of the OZT founding mothers, Lauren Mounts. Other attendees at the party greeted newcomers with smiles, hellos and cheers. Cookies and hand-crafted tea cups cluttered the tables surrounded by enthusiastic girls. Although the room was small, the tea party took place as if it was in Wonderland.
This semester is the first in which OZT has had a presence at Cameron. A year in the making, OZT is an entirely new Greek organization built from the ground up.
“The meaning of the individual letters is a secret but there is a rhyme and a reason to our madness,” Mounts said.
Not too long ago, Mounts along with fellow founding mother and Cameron alumna Leanne Perales realized the need for another sorority on campus and began to dream of what is now OZT.
“We recently got approved by Greek council, and now we’re officially here,” Mounts said. “It’s really awesome. We’ve completely made all of this up on our own – the name, all our rituals, all our secrets – everything has been a team effort.”
OZT has eight total members, seven of which are active. Over the summer, the founding mothers met each week to create the foundation of their sorority. One of the founders, Mercede Kirven, has been involved with the group since it first started.
“I love the girls,” Kirven said. “They’re freaking awesome.”
Both Mounts and Kirven searched the different kingdoms of the Cameron Greek community prior to OZT, but they did not find their niche.
“The reason you join a sorority is because you click like a family, real sisters,” Mounts said. “And we didn’t feel that way with any of the other groups.”
Even though OZT are the new girls in the land, Mounts praised the acceptance and help they have received from the other Greek organizations.
“They have been very supportive,” Mounts said. “When we have questions, we have people to talk to, but it is hard to make this up on our own. And we’ve never done it before.”
Unattainable inspiration for OZT surrounded the girls, but Greek organizations have their secrets – traditions, rituals, initiations, rush week, etc. Kirven said that it was difficult coming up with their own. She couldn’t ask anyone who was already in a sorority about how they do things because they couldn’t tell her.
“It took a lot of research and a lot of thinking,” Kirven said. “We were trying to be different, for the most part. It’s hard because there are a lot of sororities out there but I think we’re unique.”
Two weeks ago, OZT hosted their first rush week. They held different festivities on campus, such as giant Twister, hat and teacup decorating, a tea party and a pajama party. Each event had an Alice in Wonderland twist.
Bid Day was the last event of the week. Many of the girls who were interested in joining OZT received an invitation to join the sorority, but not all the girls who participated received a bid.
Mounts and Kirven were surprised by the number of interested girls, along with the positive responses they received from people on campus. But since they are new, they said it was difficult getting their name out there.
OZT gave out 19 bids and all of the girls accepted. Mounts said their first class broke the record for largest pledge class in Greek life history at Cameron.
“We are overwhelmed with happiness at the turn out,” Mounts exclaimed. “Of course, we hoped and worked hard for us to have a large pledge class but we also tried to remain realistic…. We couldn’t be more proud.”
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