You are on page 1of 7

Sisters of the Harvest Moon Introduction: The Discourse Community I chose to research and study is called Sisters Of the

Harvest Moon, commonly abbreviated SHM. Sisters of the Harvest Moon began in 1972 as Little Sisters of the Harvest Moon, a little sister organization to Farmhouse Fraternity. In 1992, Purdue University disbanded all little sister organizations, but members of the organization wished to keep SHM going. Sisters of the Harvest Moon was established as a philanthropy and community service organization. SHM is an obvious discourse community because it has all six of the defining characteristics. Swale describes six defining characteristics; a defined set of goals, has a mechanism of intercommunication, participation to provide feedback, and a utilized genre, have lexis, and lastly has different levels of expertise. Further explaining how SHM is a discourse community, the major goal of the organization is to educate others about agriculture. Our mechanism of communication is typically Facebook or text, as well as holding weekly meetings in the basement of Farm House, our founding organization. Our genre and lexis is unique to our agricultural society. Levels of experience range from, new members start as pledged then move up to active members, which can then become alumni. because I am a new biased oppinion. Also I community and I want I chose SHM to do my research on member and I have relatively unam very confident it is a discourse more people to know about it

(Above is a Picture of the SHM crest created in 1992 when Purdue disbanded little sister sororities and SHM branched off and became its own organization.)

Methodology: To research Sisters of the Harvest moon I first went to the e-archives but was unsuccessful in finding any useful information. So instead I went and interviewed our clubs historian and found out a lot of useful information. After researching the history I conducted two more interviews one with our club president, Olivia Luse, and another with a girl who was a new member this year, Christy Hendron. I chose Olivia Luse, our president, because she has been in shim the longest and she holds our highest officer position. I chose Christy Hendron because she is a new member so she is at a different level than Olivia Luse but she is also my roommate so it was very convenient. I also attended several of the organizations typical meetings to research this community. Because I was unsuccessful with the e-archives I did an interview with our club historian who provided a lot of useful information along with some fun stories. Because of the short timeline I was not able to go to different SHM events besides meetings that I am required to attend anyways. This was convienent and was like killing two birds with one stone.

Results: Observation 1 & 2 As girls shuffled into Farm House Fraternity they took spots on the various couches on the first floor. Girls held simplistic conversations that seemed to jump from subject to subject with other members jumping in randomly. Olivia Cumming, our social chair collected money for our formal that is coming up in less than a week.

Sitting silently, in the corner so I can observe, I over hear bits and pieces of conversations. I hear chatter about the weather, how excited girls are about formal, and all about their classes. A few girls asked why I was taking notes and not talking I snickered and told them about the paper. We moved as a group down the stairs to our usual meeting room everyone still chattering away. As we reach the bottom of the stairs and people move about the tables and take down the chairs they want to be seated in leaving the rest as they are. We sit in groups according to comities, social, community service and philanthropy, fundraising, and alumni. As the meeting is called to order Parliamentary Procedure is used. Committees are told to talk amongst their own groups for about fifteen or so minutes. Fundraising and social committees send around papers asking members to sign up for the activities they have planned. The President Olivia Luse ends group discussion and asks group leaders to tell the rest of the organization about what they have going on and what they plan to do for the organization. Each committee, starting with social, and ending with Community service and philanthropy, share with the rest of the group everything they have planned. After this our President motions to move onto new business someone else seconds the movement. By this time girls are getting a bit tired and I can tell they are ready to leave and go do homework or whatever the need to accomplish for the night. After new business was discussed Our president motioned to end the meeting to which everyone was happy and gladly seconded.

Although the meeting was adjourned many girls stayed a while longer and chit chatted again about completely irrelevant topics. Some of that mindless chatter must have been important but I was too busy taking photos to determine its relevance. As girls dispersed from Farm House in every direction my observation ended. Both meeting were exactly the same. Interview Summary I conducted my interviews in a similar fashion. I asked the same kinds of questions but got very different answers. I first interviewed our lovely president Olivia Luse, Pictured to the right. When I asked her how she felt about SHM it took her about thirty seconds to actually answer because she just couldnt come up with the right words. When she did answer she told me that she loved SHM and joining was probably one of the smartest decisions she had made. Olivias preferred way of communication is out Facebook page along with email it is very convenient considering she always has her phone on her, but we also communicate through normal meetings. Normal meetings are run using parliamentary procedure and they are run as efficiently as possible. Olivia joined SHM because she just hadnt found her place at Purdue and she just wanted to fit in somewhere even if it meant joining a group of hicks, Olivia admitted to stereotyping SHM before she even joined. The most important part about being in SHM to

me is just the sisterhood and being able to fit in and know that if I have a bad day there is always a group of girls who will always be there for me Said Olivia Luse. Olivia said other people do not understand what is ment by the terms; formal, barn dance, binders (not just a school Binder apparently) and many more. Barn Dance Is basically a huge party where we all bond as sisters, Formal is the same way but we tend to do so in a classier manner and Binders are apparently secret and I am not aloud to share what they are or what they contain. I ended my interview with Olivia and went on to another part of my research. Christy Hendron, Photographed at the left, was my second interviewee. Christys most unforgettable experience with SHM was Barn Dance because she got to spend the entire night with her sisters and just let loose. Christy joined SHM to just have fun she really just wanted to get involved and enjoy college life. Christy was not aware of a specific lexis as of yet but was sure that figuring it all out came with time. Christy enjoys the Facebook page the most for communication but will email occasionally if something is really important. She strongly believes in four of the major goals of SHM include; sisterhood, community service, informing the community about agriculture, and having fun. She sees the group growing in numbers in the future and would like to be more social with the Greeks on campus. She also sees our relationship with Farm House improving. Christy wanted to add that she really enjoys being in SHM and cant wait till our next event. After ending the interview with Christy I was finally done with all of my research.

Discussion/Conclusion: I found many patterns while researching SHM including reasons why people joined and the running of our meetings. Many girls joined SHM because they didnt know where to fit in and wanted to be apart of something. Our meetings are always the same they are held every Tuesday, everyone seems to take the meetings very seriously no one talks out of place it is very formal. Everyone in SHM interacts with each other no one is left out and everyone adds something to the table. There are so many different personalities in SHM that it is a miracle that everyone meshes together so well. This research has opened up my eyes to everything these girls do not only for me but also for each other and the community. I could not have imagined the bond we share. This community is unique in terms of language use because we could not do anything with out communication. We are constantly in contact with another member no matter what communication never stops.

Works Cited

Sisters of the Harvest Moon Crest. 2013. Photograph. Farm House Fraternity. Wardle, Elizabeth A., and Doug Downs. "The Concept of Discourse Community." Writing about Writing: A College Reader. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011. 466-80. Print.

Related Interests