Going Greek offers students leadership opportunities, lasting friendships

Published by adviser, Author: Rebecca Sheriff - Rocket Contributor, Date: March 3, 2015
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As part of the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, SRU’s Greek Life is home to eight sororities and 10 fraternities, each organization ranging in size, interest area(s), eligibility specifications and member requirements and responsibilities. There are also two types of Greek Governing Councils on campus, the PanHellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council. Sororities and fraternities can be affiliated with a specific major or can just be a close-knit community.

Senior psychology major, member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and Order of Omega Greek honorary, and president of the PanHellenic Council, Olivia Giger, has varied experiences with different Greek organzations on campus.

“Social Greek organizations have no specific major requirement,” Giger said. “However, each of us supports various philanthropies. We often see that the women and men choose that organization for the cause that they most relate to, in addition to finding a bond with members. Each organization has its own mission, purpose and values. That’s what makes us so unique.”

Each chapter of a sorority or fraternity on campus represents the national values of the Greek organization, and offers members the chance to become part of vast alumni networks. By going Greek, students are welcomed into an established community on campus that offers opportunities for scholarship, leadership and volunteer service. Members also often find life-long sisters and brothers within their chosen group, and many current members describe going Greek as the best decision they’ve made while attending Slippery Rock.

In order to become involved in a Greek organization, one must first pass through a series of events that differs for each group. Interested students speak with current Greek members about the specific details of the fraternity or sorority, and then attend subsequent events that allow current brothers and sisters the opportunity to get to know the “pledge class” students.

These events often start during the Weekend of Welcome and range from Round Robbins, where students visit each of the organizations every day, do ice-breaker activities, “Meet the Greeks” events, etc. After potential members have had time to evaluate which Greek organization best fits their personality and values, current members offer a “bid” to prospective members.

These bids serve as a formal invitation into the fraternity or sorority. Sororities within the PanHellenic Council have a much more structured rush process than fraternities in the Interfraternity Council.

After receiving a bid, many Greek organzations have a “new member education process,” where new members learn about the history of the organization, requirements to remain an active member, and the values and morals the organization accepts as a whole. It is after this process that new members are formally initiated into the sorority/fraternity and can receive their letters.

The benefits of going Greek are numerous according to Giger, and current Greek Life members rave about the benefits and opportunities associated with being a part of a sisterhood or brotherhood.

“Greek Life made me who I am today,” Giger said. “I owe my ability to lead, my passion for giving back to others, my desire to become better academically and my need to continuously improve who I am to the men and women of the Greek Community,” Giger said she’s also had several opportunities to go to conventions with her sorority, take on several leadership roles, meet many new people, learn more about the world, and how to give back to the world to make it a better place.

“Being a part of Pi Kappa Alpha has truly challenged me to be a better leader and friend, putting others before myself,” senior early childhood and special education major, Pi Kappa Alpha brother, Interfraternity Council member and President of the Order of Omega, Jared Stanley, said. “Within the fraternity we have a mentoring program, ‘big/littles,’ which give you the chance to learn from someone who has been through the ups and downs in college and can help guide you through your experience.”

“Greek Life has benefited me in multiple ways,” senior dance major, member of Alpha Sigma Phi, Order of Omega Vice President, and member of the Interfraternity Council, Ryan McMullen, explained. “It has taught me to effectively network with its’ members and other organizations on campus. I have had extensive administrative experiences and it has made me more marketable to get a job in the future.”

Speaking directly to the incoming class of students, current Greek members have explained that going Greek can give you an immediate sense of belonging on campus and a family away from home. Each of SRU’s organizations is so unique, and with some time you will be able to find the organization that best suits you. Understanding the reasons behind pledging an organization is important, and taking on leadership opportunities as soon as possible will benefit students later on in their academic and professional career.

Greek members also stressed that Greek Life is more than just the negative stereotypes that have a spotlight in movies and on television.

“Greeks are constantly targeted for the negatives, but rarely are they acknowledged for the positive that they do,” Stanley stated. “Every day Greeks are doing something positive on this campus, but they aren’t doing it for recognition – they are doing it because that’s what they should be doing.”

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