Greek Life office gives advice to students

Tracy Chen, Contributing Writer

With the recruitment season starting and the excitement of rush humming among the sophomores and upper-class students in preparation for the season, Union Fraternity and Sorority Life Office hosted an information session on September 14 with essential facts and suggestions for incoming members and first-year students who are considering partaking in rush their sophomore year.

Holding the title of Mother of Fraternities, Union College has a long and rich tradition (198 years) with Greek life, being the founding institution of organizations. There are three councils on campus: the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Council, and the Multicultural Greek Council. Each council is overcharged with chapters or houses that are under their jurisdiction. For example, IFC is overcharged with all the operations of the fraternities on campus, such as overseeing the entire recruitment process and following their legislation. Panhellenic council is the overarching council for the sororities on campus, and the Multicultural Greek Council administers the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, a historically African American fraternity. There are also service organizations for those who are passionate about giving back to the community, which mainly focus on community service and community building.

For recruitment requirements, students have to have at least a sophomore standing with less than five disciplinary points and a minimum grade point average of 2.5. Zach Kaiser, Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, stressed the importance of GPA during the information session, repeatedly stating that there are absolutely no exceptions to this requirement. 

Once students receive their bid, they must participate in new member education and critical conversations series to ensure safety and awareness of responsibilities as role models and new leaders in the Union College community. Students must also learn about the history and rituals of one’s organization, as well as meeting and bonding with new members. 

As a member of their chapter, students must commit to both finance and service. Participating in chapter meetings, events, and community service opportunities, living in your chapter facility for a minimum of three terms after signing a housing contract, and paying new member and chapter fees are all part of the responsibilities Greek Life members have to take on. 

To help with the financial obligations of joining Greek Life, Union College’s Fraternity and Sorority Life Office is offering need-based grants to help subsidize chapter dues, also known as Fraternity Sorority Life Opportunity Fund (FSL Opportunity Fund). Assistance is based on your financial need, as determined by your financial aid information on record with the college, which means the amount you will receive from the aid will vary by need and availability. Assistance will only be granted after students have received an offer to be part of a house.

As the session reached the end, Kaiser discussed further opportunities for involvement beyond membership. Attending events such as being part of the Greek Week Committee or the Diversity and Inclusion Committee Council is one way to engage with councils and the larger Greek community. Lastly, Kaiser covered the Order of Omega, which is the honorary society for Greek life. It is only open to juniors and seniors based on involvement and scholarship as well as a personal statement stating why one is a great addition to the Order of Omega. 

In addition to many advantages that look excellent on a resume, like community services and leadership development, Greek life organizations also provide members with lifetime connections.