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The evolution of Greek life at Brandeis

The evolution of Greek life at Brandeis

By Ally Gelber

Section: Featured, Features

September 16, 2016

Brandeis has a world-class reputation as an academic institute, and one might not consider the Greek system to have a recognizable presence on campus, especially since it is not recognized by the university. However, Greek life is a great attribute to Brandeis’ nightlife, philanthropy and social scene.

While Greek life is not a prominent aspect of college for everyone, it can be a beneficial and quick way to make a close, cemented group of friends.

“I think it would bring a new type of person to Brandeis which could be really good for the student body. People would come knowing about Greek life, instead of coming and being surprised there’s a party scene. It could make campus culture a little less divided,” Sigma Delta Tau sister Rachel Silton ’17 said.

Greek life is unaffiliated with Brandeis, meaning sororities and fraternities are running the show themselves, finding ways to spread the word about house events, announcements and recruitments without the assistance of the school.

“I’m happy that the houses can operate autonomously. Though it would be nice to have the guidance and funding that Brandeis could provide, it’s cool to be a part of an organization that is largely self sufficient, and being on the E-board can help teach real-world management skills,” Maddox Kay ’19 of Alpha Epsilon Pi said.

Silton says that freedom of self-governing aside, it can be very challenging for members of Greek life to operate. During one Sigma Delta Tau recruitment event, the sorority held a Meet and Greek in Ridgewood Commons and was asked to leave the room by the campus police. The administration isn’t always supportive of representation or events taking place on campus.

As far as how Greek life has evolved over the years at Brandeis, the addition of a new sorority, Alpha Pi Phi has highlighted how students can have the freedom to create new chapters in order to invite more newcomers to have a “home” on campus.

“Joining Sigma Delta Tau really helped me find my place and my friends because I was a mid-year transfer student, which was intimidating,” Silton said.

“GAC [Greek Awareness Council] has a bigger presence on campus and for the most part, Brandeis accepts the fact that Greek life is here to stay,” Kay noted.

“I think for it to grow, we need to have more of a presence on campus. There’s not much else we can do without getting in trouble to expand SDT,” Silton said. At large state schools, sororities and fraternities have opportunities to work with the administration to expand or improve Greek life. But at Brandeis, “We’re at a stunted growth point right now and don’t know how to move forward with it,” she said.

Going forward, many members hope to see positive engagement with the activities component of campus life, as well as an increased variety of Greek houses. “With only six fraternities and four sororities, not everyone will find a group that’s ideal for them,” Kay said, “and I hope we have more options in the future.”

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