Tottering on stilettos, Amira Shalash, a freshman at the University of Kentucky, tossed back her long, tousled hair and tugged at the neckline of her sweater, which had slipped off her shoulder.
Giggling, her friends -- who wear hijabs, traditional Muslim head scarves -- teased her that she was not dressed modestly enough.
The nine young women were gathered to learn about the nation's first Islamic sorority.
The motto of Gamma Gamma Chi is "Striving for the pleasure of Allah (SWT) through Sisterhood, Scholarship, Leadership and Community Service."
The sorority, based in Greensboro, N.C., hopes to establish its first campus chapter at the University of Kentucky.
Taking a seat at the introductory meeting, Boushra Aghil, 20, a junior in an olive green shirt and black hijab, studied the sorority's gold brochure. She was curious about how Gamma Gamma Chi would reconcile Islamic morals with sorority life -- and the party atmosphere associated with it.
Said Shalash: "My parents would never, ever let me join a regular sorority. I don't know any Muslim sorority girls."
Yet many young Muslim women are intrigued by the concept. Since Gamma Gamma Chi was founded seven months ago, Muslim students from 14 states -- and from Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates -- have e-mailed the sorority's national headquarters in Alexandria. The biggest response came from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, a city with a Muslim population of nearly 2,500.
The idea for Gamma Gamma Chi came from Imani Abdul-Haqq, 34, a business administration major at Guilford College in Greensboro. She hopes to establish chapters in every region of the United States by 2015.
A black woman who converted to Islam in 2000, Abdul-Haqq considered joining an established black sorority, but worried that she would have to compromise her Muslim beliefs. Even the term for the nine predominantly black fraternities and sororities -- the Divine Nine -- makes her uncomfortable. Only Allah, she says, is divine.
"As a Muslim who dresses modestly and does not drink, I wouldn't want to set myself apart from the people I was pledging with," she said. "I want to feel the unity."
The Muslim women at the University of Kentucky said they also wanted that feeling of connection.
"The American white-bread sorority girls wouldn't always understand our issues," Aghil said. "We already wear a scarf, we recognize we are the odd people out, but we need a support system, a group that can support us in the Islamic way."
Gamma Gamma Chi is not the first sorority to offer an alternative to traditional, predominantly white American sororities.
Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first of four major black sororities, was founded in 1908 at Howard University in Washington. In 1991, Hispanic-oriented Gamma Phi Omega was established; in 1997, the multicultural Theta Nu Xi; in 1998, the South Asian Kappa Phi Gamma.
As the first Muslim sorority, Gamma Gamma Chi has the unique challenge of creating sorority life that is in keeping with Islamic law.
Although alcohol is banned in most sorority houses, a national study conducted in 2001 identified 62 percent of sorority members as binge drinkers.
That type of behavior won't be tolerated at Gamma Gamma Chi. President and Executive Director Althia F. Collins, an education consultant and former college administrator who helped her daughter, Abdal-Haqq, establish the sorority, has devised a strict induction process.
"It will be a bit like 'The Apprentice' or 'America's Next Top Model,' " she said. "We will give them 'Gamma mail,' which details a challenge for them to work on, like learning verses from the Koran." If more than five students at the University of Kentucky apply for membership by January, Gamma Gamma Chi hopes to establish its first chapter in February.
At her Nov. 6 presentation on campus, Collins wore the sorority's colors -- lavender and green -- as she explained the concept of a Muslim sorority to the young women. Collins, who converted to Islam in 1999, pledged Delta Sigma Theta -- a traditionally black sorority -- when she was a student in the 1980s.
Many Muslims do not know what to make of the young women's interest in Gamma Gamma Chi. The National Muslim Student Association -- which e-mailed its local chapters this year seeking their opinions on the sorority -- declined to comment.
Tahir Rajab, 21, president of the Jacksonville Muslim Student Association in Florida, said he thinks Muslim women should not seek to emulate American women. "All these sororities sound very good on paper," he said. "But partying is what they are known for."
Muslim women who want sisterhood, he suggested, should call themselves the Righteous Woman Organization and use Arabic letters, rather than Greek.
But many young Muslim women -- more integrated in American life than their mothers and grandmothers -- long to develop a campus identity. Already their clothes and speech blend Islamic standards with American style.
After Collins's presentation, all of the women said they wanted to join Gamma Gamma Chi. They had just one question.
"Why," Aghil asked, "did you choose those colors?"
"Green is for the color of the prophet," Collins said. "Lavender is a peaceful color; people like to smell it before they go to sleep."
"I've never been a fan of purple," she said later. "But, I know, it's very superficial of me to worry. We could have a Muslim sorority, here in little town Kentucky."