UPDATE: 2/3/2016 This article was updated to reflect that it is an opinion piece
Greek life at IUPUI is a fairly new community. IUPUI was founded in 1969 and the first Greek organization was founded on campus in 1989. Through the years, IUPUI has blossomed and expanded exponentially. Greek life follows suit with the growth of IUPUI. Although it is established, the majority of the student body doesn’t have a full grasp of what Greek life does on campus and in our community.
The popular Greek stereotype is mostly white, privileged, and intoxicated, and the serious side of Greek life is often dismissed after that. While the stereotype comes from somewhere, it is not always necessarily true. These student organizations take pride in diversity, culture, charity, service, education and upholding respectable morals that strengthen the community.
Each chapter raises thousands of dollars each year for their specific philanthropy causes. Philanthropy events incorporate students all over campus, not only Greeks, to raise money to help those less fortunate.
Interfraternity Council Fraternities (IFC) and Panhellenic Association Council (PHA) govern the male and female chapters on campus. Each are led and governed by Greek students.
“IFC is a council that governs seven of the male fraternities on IUPUI’s campus,” said Antonio White, former IFC President, among other things on campus including 2015 Homecoming King, and OTeam leader.
“A big impact Greek life has is the philanthropy missions. Each fraternity and sorority has a philanthropic cause they belong to. Greeks are strong advocates of spreading the mission of philanthropy and spreading the awareness to the community to those who don’t know or those who those who want to get involved but don’t know how, ” White said.
“Greek Life affects non-Greek students on campus by exposing them to a collective organization that has been functioning for many years,” IFC President Efrain Alvarado said.
“Greek Life members educate students on diversity and take an oath to promote themselves as the best version they can be Greek Life members act as leaders on campus who set the bar high inside the classroom because they must meet certain GPA and academic standings in order to continue membership in their respected organizations,” Alvarado said.
Staying involved outside the classroom is a vital key to experiencing a successful college career. There are tons of organizations on campus, Greek or not to build a resume or network. Once students step out of their comfort zone, they push themselves and ultimately better themselves.
Greek students can serve as an example to other students because of their leadership on campus.
“Student involvement on any campus is very important to creating an incredible student experience, making sure that students feel welcome. It is going to help supplement what they are learning in the classroom,” Student Body President Niki DaSilva said.
“Greek life does that in a variety of ways. It creates a bond, a sisterhood or a brotherhood depending on what kind of organization you join. It provides you with support that is really important when you are going through your college career,” DaSilva said.
“A lot of these organizations provide opportunities outside of their campus community for their members. I had the opportunity to be a student lobbyist in District of Columbia on behalf of my organization,” said DaSilva. “I got to meet student leaders in the Greek community from across the nation. We talked about things that are important to not only Greek students but also the student community as a whole.”
Other campus organizations and especially sports teams are impacted by Greek life. Often times chapter members are involved in multiple campus extracurricular activities, outside of the Greek community. In return, the enthusiasm for sports grows. School spirit seems to be hard to come by at IUPUI, but Greek life intensifies school spirit by encouraging attendance at campus events. Sporting events are melting pots to bring every aspect of campus together. When Greek life encourages attendance, it impacts the overall spirit of IUPUI.
“Greek life totally impacts school spirit and involvement,” said Jordan Williams, IUPUI cheerleader.
“Especially since it's such a big crowd. If all organizations showed up like crazy to games and other events, the overall turnout and energy would be so much better. When Greeks show up to things, they come in large groups. That's why those games are so fun to cheer at!” she said.
Although IUPUI Greek life is still is in it’s youth and has a lot of stereotypes to overcome, the growth it has made has impacted every aspect of student life. Every year Greek life initiates more members from the year before and continues to add more chapters.
Being a commuter campus, IUPUI student life struggles to find unity. Greek life on campus helps to create unity that would be neglected due to the effects of commuting. Greek organizations play a big role in all aspects of campus including academics, student involvement, and school spirit.