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Greek Life

When I came to college I had my mind made up – I would NOT be participating in Greek life. I knew the stereotypes and beyond that, I knew what I had been told by many friends at large, public universities – Greek life was for those who had to buy their friends and wanted to spend the majority of college drunk. Neither of those were things I was looking for in my undergraduate education, so I dismissed Greek life without a second thought.

Enter spring semester freshman year. At the University of Rochester, freshmen are not allowed to pledge for a sorority or fraternity in the fall, a wise decision in my opinion. No matter what organization you pledge for it is quite a time commitment, and as a first semester freshman you need that time to learn how to study and make non-Greek friends. Suffice to say Greek life is not on many freshmen’s radars (except in the form of the infamous Frat Quad) until the spring, when the fraternities and sororities really make their presence known. I was busy enough, and held back by my ignorant assumptions, so I mostly ignored the rushing/pledging process that spring. However, it brought itself to my attention because one close friend of mine pledged for a Panhellenic sorority and another for a Multicultural Greek Council organization. In this way I was forced to learn about Greek life at the U of R, and I will kindly pass my lessons on to you.

Lesson 1: Greek life at the U of R is different from Greek life at a large public university. I would estimate (I couldn’t find a good number online) that about 35% – 45% of the campus is affiliated. At the same time, it’s very low key; being affiliated with the “right” or “wrong” organization does not make or break someone’s reputation and there is absolutely no pressure to be in a Greek organization, you will still get into parties just as easily, etc… It’s really a personal choice here about where you feel you fit.

Lesson 2: FPC/MGC/Panhellenic Association?!?

The Fraternity President’s Council is made up of 13 fraternities on campus. These fraternities are the ones that have houses on the Frat Quad, although not all of them have an on-campus house. But every house on the Frat Quad is under the FPC. With me so far?

The Multicultural Greek Council is made up of 14 fraternities and sororities that are ethnic-interest based, such as East Asian Interest, Latino/a American Interest, or African American Interest. However, a fraternity or sorority’s members are not limited to the ethnicity of interest, and there is an enormous amount of diversity in the U of R’s MGC organizations. *In my humble opinion, these are the best Greek organizations. But we’ll get to that at the end.

The Panhellenic Association is made up of 7 sororities on campus. These are traditionally associated with the FPCs.

Lesson 3: Don’t write off the Greeks, and look at them all. If you at all think you might be interested in a Greek organization, check them all out. Do not write one off, or come in knowing which you want to pledge for, because that will probably change when you get to know the active brothers or sisters on the U of R campus. If you are interested in…

FPCs: These hold rush events at the beginning of spring and fall semesters, traditionally with food at the houses when you can go and get to know the brothers in relaxed atmospheres. Look for flyers around campus.

MGCs: These hold interest meetings (generally mandatory for a bid – an invitation to join) and rush events at the beginning of spring and fall as well. Check campus for flyers, and don’t write one off just because you are not the ethnicity of interest J!

Panhellenic Association: Their rushing process is different – Formal rush only occurs in the spring and you are required to attend various meetings describing this process. Basically, you have a chance to get to know every sorority and go through a mutual narrowing down process. You will definitely hear about this in the spring if you are interested.

So, here is my favorite part of the story: I am now able to announce that I have joined one of the most incredible sororities on campus! I am now proudly a sister of Delta Phi Omega Sorority, Incorporated. This sorority is under the MGC category, but after checking out many MGCs and Panhels I decided this sorority fit me best. It is South Asian interest, but obviously that does not matter as I am not South Asian. I am thrilled to be a part of this sisterhood, and could not be happier with my decision. I heartily encourage everyone to keep an open mind about Greek life, and contact me with any questions!

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