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The Greek Life

Dispatches from Fraternity Row


What Are You, Greek?

Let’s face it: these are not the golden years of Greek Life at Penn State.

That’s not to say this is the dark ages of Fraternity and Sorority Life, either. No, quite the contrary.

The 1950s, 60s, 70s and early 80s were the pinnacle of Greek Life at Penn State. Greeks enjoyed an experience that was life-changing, enriching their undergraduate experience and molding freshmen boys and girls into Greek men and women. Those who joined the Greek community shared traditions and experiences which had been in place for, in some instances, more than 50 years.

Today, however, things are different on Fraternity Row.

On many campuses nationwide, the image of Greek Life fell hard as the keg-standing, roofie-dropping Animal House replaced Fraternity Chapter Houses, leaving only a specter of the organization that truly belonged.

Denying the existence of this once popular stereotype is unrealistic.  However, to say that this image is still being encouraged and perpetuated at Penn State today is insane.

Under the leadership of the current Interfraternity Council (IFC) Executive Board and the Director for Greek Life, Dr. Roy Baker, the Greek community has taken great strides in the advancement of the traditions which their organizations hold most dearly.  Fraternity used to mean something, and the leaders of Penn State Greek Life are realizing this.

And while Greek organizations are now using the social aspect of Greek Life to further sell potential membership, know that we don’t have to.

No, today, the Greek experience is enriching the lives of thousands of students who choose to embrace this spirit of change and the challenges it brings.  And starting today new members are being recruited.  September 8 marked the beginning of the Fall IFC Recruitment Period.

The future of the Greek community rests in the hands of its current leaders to select good men to further Greek Life and the values which each Fraternity espouses.  This year the Recruitment process is focusing on providing quality interaction with potential members and will provide potential members greater exposure to all of the Greek organizations on campus.

As a concerned leadership selects a group of like-minded men for candidates for membership, the rate at which positive change and commitment occur will grow.  Educated by these leaders, new members will one day lead their respective organizations with greater care than their predecessors.  The current cycle is firming.

Registration for Fall Recruitment are nearly double the final Fall Recruitment numbers for the previous year.  The buzz around Greek Life is undeniable.

What other place would better serve as a breeding ground for the future leaders of Penn State than Greek Life?  Greek Life offers you the chance to develop lifelong friends, bound together in brotherhood.

Of the $6.6-million raised for the 2008 Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon the some 5,200 Greek students raised $2.5-million.  That means the other 37,800 odd independent students didn’t even double the efforts with $4.1-million raised.

Greek Life may have seen a bottom in our life time.  Today, however, the future is bright.  

This re-invigoration of the values and traditions of the Golden Years in Greek Life at Penn State will, I promise you, prove to be successful.  And you can be a part of it.  Go Greek.

Luke Pierce is a contributor to Safeguard Old State. He is the President of the Penn State Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and is the Director of Greek Life and Outreach for the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA). He can be reached via e-mail.

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