By May “Mosaic” Advincula, Staff Writer
Greek life often has its misperceptions, whether it comes from assumptions made by Greeks about other fellow organizations, or individuals who are not Greek-affiliated. This month, we asked chapters to provide insight about the environment on their campuses as well as give input as to their relationships with Greek and non-Greek organizations alike to gain some understanding as to the types of settings they encounter on a day-to-day basis.
Chapter representatives from the University of Georgia Alpha Chapter, University of Cincinnati Beta Chapter and University of West Florida Colony Chapter took some time to reflect on the current environments at their respective campuses.
Overall sentiment of the Greek-life environment for these chapters was positive. Chapter representative, Amanda “Elegance” McNally, an undergraduate at the University of West Florida, noted, “There are people that view Greeks negatively, but usually it’s positive or just neutral. As for as DPhiL goes, all the feedback I’ve heard has been positive.”
Chapter representative Jaleesa “Aspire” Reed provided additional thoughts for the University of Georgia: “UGA has a very active Greek-life. There literally is an organization for everyone, whether it be more culturally focused or focused solely on service.”
Out of the three chapters, all expressed positive remarks in regards to relationships with other Greeks on campus. For UC, they mostly interact with NPHC organizations, but also receive support from other Greeks, according to alumna Hanna Sue “Katana” Lavallee. At UWF, McNally stated, “there are no negative relationships with any Greeks on campus. We try to be nice to everyone and they’re nice to us.” The same goes for sisters at the University of Georgia as well. Reed stated, “I think we have a great relationship with Greeks on our campus. During our Philanthropy Week, two members from the IFC came out to support us. Our past and present Internal [vice presidents] have done a great job of improving our relationship with Greeks outside of our council.”
Any negative sentiment encountered by any organization can inhibit the ability to function. However, for the three chapters that provided insight, this has not presented a huge issue. For UWF in particular, not having much recognition on campus has not discouraged sisters; but rather, motivated them to be more social with their fellow Greeks. Any hostility the UGA and UC chapters encountered occurred when becoming established on their campuses.
Since then, for UGA, whenever there are situations encountered with other campus organizations, Reed said, “We schedule a meeting between a couple of representatives from each [organization] and talk it out. Afterwards, we try to mend our relationship by supporting their events and having mixers.”
Another point of contention for many Greek organizations is the negative perceptions from those who are not Greek-affiliated, as there are many generalizations made about Greek life. In terms of chapters’ relationships with non-Greek student organizations, for UWF, there was some personal hostility that the chapter experienced from fellow students. However, it has not been a situation that has required University administrators to get involved. For the University of Cincinnati, Lavallee noted that the UC sisters were “very active with Asian clubs on campus because we are the only multicultural Greek organization.”
University of Georgia sisters have recently made efforts to reach out to non-Greek organizations, according to Reed. “This is definitely an area that we’re working on, but we’ve made some progress so far,” Reed added.
In reflection of the current state of their chapters and how perceptions about our sorority have changed, McNally provided the following thoughts, “Since establishment, we have become more known. We have made our way… [and] we managed to gain positive relationships with our Greek Affairs Coordinator, who tries to include us as much as possible [as well as] other Greeks on campus.”
For UGA, Reed said, “DPhiL is very much an organization that everyone knows on this campus and I think that’s due to our work. We’re one of the largest chapters in our council, which means we have a lot of sisters to spread around and show support and it shows … we stand on almost 14 years of history and work from the sisters before us. They have definitely blazed a path and given us a legacy to not only uphold, but to live up to. On our 13th anniversary, a member of another organization congratulated us and said that UGA was lucky to have the Alpha Chapter of DPhiL on their campus. I think that speaks volumes about my chapter’s presence on this campus, especially since there is another Asian interest sorority here.”
Has your chapter or sisters from your chapter encounter hostility at your campus? If so, how did your chapter deal with the situation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!