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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Greek life at UA has wide influence

    Two sorority girls duke it out in the annual War of the Roses in September.
    Two sorority girls duke it out in the annual ‘War of the Roses’ in September.

    Sororities, fraternities have a storied history on campus

    Encompassing 49 multifaceted organizations and a history of student involvement since 1915, there is no denying that greek life at the UA plays a large part in the lives of many students.

    But with so many new choices to make, how can you tell if greek life is the one for you?

    Four major councils govern Greek Life, an on-campus fraternity and sorority organization: the Interfraternity Council; the National Pan-Hellenic Council; the Panhellenic Association; and the United Sorority and Fraternity Council.

    The IFC represents 22 fraternities on campus. The NPHC represents five fraternities and sororities that are historically African-American. The PHC represents 14 sororities, and the USFC represents eight diverse fraternities and sororities.

    For many students, greek life provides an added sense of community.

    “”Joining as a freshman is the best time, because the brothers could help you adjust to the school, socially and academically,”” Matt Tiki, a junior majoring in Egyptology and German and member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, wrote in an e-mail. “”It’s a good way to make friends when first coming to college.””

    The greek community encourages development in academic, leadership, service and social arenas. It’s not right for everyone, however.

    Helen Sharp, a media arts junior, left Delta Gamma because it became too much of a commitment and lost its initial appeal.

    “”I just grew out of it,”” Sharp said. “”A lot of people end up (dropping). I liked the people, but I just wanted to do my own thing, and that gets hard when you’re in a sorority.””

    For students who are more interested in the business or community service aspects of greek life, there are many fraternities and sororities to choose from.

    Theta Tau and Alpha Kappa Psi are examples of co-ed greek communities, and Alpha Phi Omega is a community service-oriented fraternity. Alpha Epsilon Pi is the UA’s largest fraternity, with more than 150 members.

    Many fraternities and sororities make studying high on the priority list, requiring study tables for new and active members and requiring that students achieve a minimum grade-point average to be initiated and remain in good standing.

    “”Not all fraternities are the same,”” Tiki wrote. “”The fraternity that I’m in has held the highest GPA for two years in a row. … Most of the guys in our fraternity are engineers and science majors. Five of our guys had a 4.0 last year.””

    Many fraternities and sororities offer scholarships for members.

    “”I have not experienced any hazing in Greek Life and my grades are not horrible, so I would say that personally, the Greek system does not have any cons,”” Nathan Beird, a music sophomore and vice president of finance for the IFC, wrote in an e-mail.

    Many chapters offer career days and rǸsumǸ-writing workshops to help members prepare for life after college. Some chapters are oriented towards a particular major or field of study.

    This past year, Greek Life raised $52,000 and donated 17,000 hours through community service. Their time and money went to 450 philanthropic endeavors nationwide, according to the Arizona Student Union Web site.

    “”In a nutshell, don’t knock until you’ve tried it,”” Beird wrote. “”When I came to college, I did not want to join a (g)reek chapter. However, I tried it out, and I found a group that I felt very comfortable being around.””

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