By Mary Chickos
On Wednesday, February 4, in the Center for Multicultural Student Services, Simone Cunningham, counselor and member of Delta Sigma Theta, conducted a panel discussion about Greek recruitment and activities on campus. The panel featured three active members of the Panhellenic Council here on campus. Allison Mills, Delta Zeta, junior, nursing; Zack Littrell, Sigma Pi, senior, biology; and Demetrius Reynolds, Alpha Phi Alpha, graduate, higher education, were featured on the panel. They spoke about their membership in these fraternities and sororities and what it is like to be an active member.
Mills started off the discussion talking about her sorority, Delta Zeta, which started in Ohio and has many chapters throughout the country. She said, “They are involved in speech and hearing therapies for children, providing hearing aids for kids and helping with a camp for terminally ill children. They also do many other events and activities on campus.” Delta Zeta is a nonprofit organization with a pledge, intake, and initiation fee.
Mills, specifically, is involved in fundraising for the chapter and hosting various fundraising events.
Recruitment starts informally at the beginning of the school year during September and October. In order to seek membership, students can interact with members of the different groups to find a good match. On Bid Day, invitations are extended to candidates to join the organization.
Sigma Pi started in 1897 and has yearly dues, according to Littrell. This fraternity is part of an Interfraternity council comprised of seventy-four male fraternities, all governed by an executive board. Three fraternities at UMSL are affiliated.
Students are invited to go to their events, as well as other fraternities’, in order to find the organization that is the best fit for them. There is no formal recruitment; however, there is a minimum grade point average for membership and an offer can be extended at any time throughout the year.
Reynolds said, “Alpha Phi Alpha [Fraternity Incorporated] is part of the National Panhellenic Council of historically black fraternal organizations. It was started at Cornell University in 1906 and requires membership, materials, and books.” Alpha Phi Alpha was traditionally open to intercollegiate African-American students. It is a literary society, support system, and brotherhood involved in addressing the needs of the community through community service projects, such as voter registration, working with middle school students, providing safe, friendly entertainment for collegiate, and other events.
He said, “This was a great way to meet new people and that the benefits of membership are numerous, including developing leadership, networking, and other professional skills that are very beneficial in the business world.” The people that one gets to know in these organizations can influence the course of their career.
Reynolds has met many alumni from the St. Louis chapter and other chapters nationwide. The brotherhood offers a unique exposure to professionalism and a lifelong commitment to service.
All panelists noted that they have to do a certain amount of service activities throughout the year and become involved in many events that they normally would not have ever participated in. There is a certain time commitment, and they all agreed that they have gotten more out of college than just a degree. Also, they have gained more skills than they have ever gotten in the classroom.
A major issue that makes some people pause when considering participating in Greek life is hazing. According to the panelists, and their national websites, hazing is prohibited in all forms due to potential lawsuits. Hazing has been outlawed in order for these organizations to keep their good standing.
Potential members need to have a substantial personal commitment to the organization that they developed for genuine reasons. Members must represent the organization well. They need someone who embodies their values. Good academic standing is required as well as routine community service. While each chapter has slightly different requirements for membership, these organizations are always looking for new brothers and sisters.
(c) The Current 2015