Briana Simmons, The Black Bear- Understanding Greek Life is usually not as straightforward as it some expect it to be yet, it is inevitably a part of one’s college experience at Missouri State. According to the university website, about 1500 students are a member of a fraternity or sorority within the three councils present. Meet Missouri State’s Greek council presidents as they respond to a few questions regarding fraternity and sorority life.
Elizabeth Shannon, PHA President and member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority
- “I am a 3rd generation Greek member and a double-legacy to Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, which is not on our campus. I am also a 4th generation college student. It is tradition in my family to not only attend college, but join the Fraternity and Sorority life community. All of my family members had very positive experiences in their chapters and continue to take an active role in local alumnae chapters. I knew that I wanted the same kinds of relationships and experiences prompted by being a part of a sorority.”
Robert Colyer , NPHC President and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.
- “Kappa itself is an ongoing expletives. Everyday my brotherhood presents me with new challenges, perspectives and opportunities. I must say that I’m most grateful for the universal bond that my brothers and I share. I truly feel that the bond is unmatched.”
Zane Clark, IFC President and member of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity
- “I saw many successful young leaders when I came to Missouri State, who I wanted to model myself after, and they were almost all involved in Fraternity and Sorority Life.”
- “Pi Kapp has made me the man I am today by pushing me to take on leadership roles I never otherwise would have been able to.“
If someone is interested in being a part of NPHC, IFC, or PHA what should they do?
“They should reach out to organizations via campus link, attending to events to meet members and utilizing the Fraternity Sorority Life Offices in the bottom of the PSU,” Colyer said.
“PanHellenic Sororities recruit in two seasons, formally in the fall semester and informally in the spring semester. Formal recruitment requires registration and participation in the recruitment weekend following the start of school. Spring recruitment is much more casual, allowing girls to explore different chapters on their own. The benefit to formal recruitment includes the ability to experience every chapter and the guidance of PanHellenic Recruitment Councilors. Spring recruitment is often less stressful, but not every chapter participates. Specific questions and more information can be gathered on our Missouri State website and through our Vice President of Recruitment, Ellie Edwards,” Shannon said.
“Check out our webpage on Missouri State Campus Link or stop by our office in the Office of Student Engagement (PSU 100),” Clark said.
Some researchers and such claim that Greek Life will die out within our lifetime. In your opinion, what is the current state of Greek life at Missouri State and beyond?
“Greek Life at Missouri State is in a perpetual state of transition. New members come and go; molding their chapters from the point of induction to graduation. So long as these individuals address the needs of the community and display adaptable leadership, Greek Life will endure,” Colyer said.
“Missouri State has created an atmosphere that I believe is highly encouraging for the success of our chapters. Our community is very united in our missions to improve members, support each other and grow. Each year recruitment rates increase, and the opportunities provided by involvement a chapter are unmatched in any other organization. Fraternities and Sororities have thrived for over 150 years. We are not going anywhere fast,” Shannon said.
“Missouri State’s Fraternity & Sorority Life has actually grown over the past two years and I only see it continuing to grow as time goes on. We are very stable and are doing great things in our community and on campus,” Clark said.
At times, there has been tension or a lack of cooperation and interaction between all three councils. Does PHA have an interest in bridging the gap between PHA and IFC with NPHC? If so, what’s being done to better the interactions between the councils?
“There isn’t a tension between the councils, but there is a need for cooperation. NPHC has a distinct culture that separates it from the other councils, the same way IFC and PHA have their own culture. However, these cultural difference are not barriers that prevent the councils from collaborating,” Colyer said.
“I think the disconnect between councils is closely tied to a lack of knowledge about the traditions and customs of each other’s chapters. PHA is always interested in developing these relationships and in the past year has made efforts to attend NPHC events and learn about their portion of our community. We hope to continue moving in a positive direction with the new executive boards and establish understanding and friendships between members,” Shannon said.
“IFC has the utmost respect for NPHC and their doings. Our council understands that our goals and missions are different, but we seek to build meaningful relationships so that when the potential for crossover is there, we hope to capitalize on it. We are constantly communicating with NPHC so that we may attempt to find ways to co-program and support each other,” Clark said.
Greek Week 2015 will be held March 22-28. For more information about Fraternity and Sorority Life, check out this website at http://www.missouristate.edu/studentengagement/fsl/.