Go Greek or Go Home! ΑΧΩ, ΣΑΕ, and ΔΣΠ

March 2, 2013 in Alive Campus

Let me start off by saying that before I began writing this post, I was totally ignorant about Greek life at Rutgers. Despite a brief spell in which I considered pledging a social fraternity (the members are all great; I just didn’t have the time to commit), there has only been one other instance in which I actively pursued a frat. Last year, I was a finalist in Sigma Phi Epsilon’s “Balanced Man” scholarship. The scholarship was specifically designed for non-members, and, I suspect, to attract potential pledges. The process through which the finalists were subject to introduced us to alumni, current and prospective members, and guys like myself—who were just lowly freshmen interested in what Greek life was all about.

Although I didn’t join Sigma Phi Epsilon or Gamma Sigma (the social fraternity I mentioned above), I did meet great people, have great experiences, and began to reconsider the stereotypes I held about Greek life. However, my fleeting interactions with these two wonderful fraternities have not given me the wherewithal to comment on Greek life at Rutgers. Instead, I reached out to Facebook and received great responses from members of Alpha Chi Omega, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Delta Sigma Pi.

But first, a brief introduction of the three:

Alpha Chi Omega is a 127 year old sorority with 130 collegiate chapters. Its motto is “Together let us seeks great heights,” and its symbol, the Golden lyre, points to the organization’s musical history and heritage—”music unites the souls of many.” The Rutgers Chapter of ΑΧΩ  has approximately 65 members, supports Domestic Violence Awareness and ovarian cancer awareness, and prides itself  ”on being ‘Real. Strong. Women.’” Deirdre Egan, a sophomore at Rutgers University and member of ΑΧΩ has provided me with a beautiful testimony about her sorority, along with some advice for those interested in Greek life:

I selected Alpha Chi Omega because the women in the sorority seemed like the most genuine women I’d ever met. Going into last semester, I had no interest in Greek life whatsoever, but after meeting the sisters of Alpha Chi, I knew it was something I had to be a part of. I came through during Fall of 2012, so this is my first semester as an initiated sister. Since being a new member, I’ve found that my bonds with sisters have only grown. I’m getting to know different sisters and broadening my friend group. Our two main philanthropies are Domestic Violence Awareness and Ovarian Cancer. Ovarian cancer is dear to our hearts because one of our sisters actually passed away from it. And with Domestic Violence Awareness, we volunteer at a local women’s shelter, Women Aware. My advice for students interested in Greek life is to definitely get involved, no matter how. Greek life holds many opportunities as far as networking, building connections, and making memories go. But most importantly, I’d say to choose the organization in which you feel like you can be yourself. Choose sisters or brothers who will love you for exactly who you are and encourage you to be your best self.

—Deirdre Egan, English major

Sigma Alpha Epsilon is a 156 year old fraternity, with 246 chapters. As the largest fraternity in the United States, ΣΑΕ has over 300,000 initiated members. It’s colors are royal purple and old gold, and its symbols include: the lion, phoenix (a mythological creature symbolic of rebirth and renewal), Minerva (Roman goddess of Wisdom), and the fleur-de-lis. The Rutgers chapter of ΣΑΕ is the newest fraternity on campus (9/16/2011). Diego Melendez, sophomore, is not only a member of the frat, but also a Founding Father of the Rutgers chapter. Like Deirdre, he provided how Greek life on campus can positively impact you and the community:

I’m a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity here on campus. I chose this fraternity instead of others because I felt this brotherhood had something I didn’t see in other fraternities. My chapter is made up of a diverse group of men with different interests but who still share a passion for the values that a true gentleman should live by. We have a motto titled the True Gentlemen which we promised to embody everyday of our lives when we first made the oath to join this fraternity. We promised to live by the values and morals our eight founding fathers came together to develop. Since pledging I have learned a lot about myself and my potential to be a leader in my community. I’ve learned that with passion and dedication a group of men can make a change. On campus we try to be as involved as possible with other Greek organizations as well as Rutgers funded events. We’ve signed up to participate in RUDM, various blood drives, and Special Friends Day just to name a few. We’re also involved with Elijah’s Promise which is a local soup kitchen in New Brunswick where we volunteer every month. If I could give advice to someone considering Greek life it would be to explore all of your options and not to ask what you do, but why you do it. ask why but not what. It’s important to learn about what they stand for and what they’re trying to embody on campus and in the community, not just what social events they throw. All social fraternities and sororities are based and founded on solid values that define who we are. Those are the values that keep this Greek community growing.

—Diego Melendez, Comparative Literature and Italian double major

As you can see, the stereotypes surrounding social fraternities/sororities is false. Greek life at Rutgers aims to not only shape students into kind, generous people, but also to create an upstanding community bent on philanthropy, unity, and success.

Rutgers is also home to a variety of academic, co-ed, progressive, and professional Greek societies. Delta Sigma Pi, for instance, is a 105 year old co-ed professional business fraternity with 205 collegiate chapters. Like ΣΑΕ, its colors are royal purple and old gold. The Rutgers chapter of ΔΣΠ ”encourages scholarship, social activity and the association of students for their mutual advancement by research and practice.” Alicia Quirolo, sophomore and member of ΔΣΠ, kindly explained to me the aims, benefits, and accomplishments of the frat, along with how it encourages personal and professional growth:

 I am a brother of Delta Sigma Pi at Rutgers University. It is a professional business fraternity that aims at developing young men and women into professionals. Being a part of a professional fraternity allows me to develop professionally by expanding my network to big name companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Prudential, and Price Waterhouse Cooper,  just to name a few. Delta Sigma Pi has given back to Rutgers by helping out the business school with Business Forum workshops where they taught young students about resumes and interviewing skills. We also do many community service events like the March Of Dimes and the Big Chill. Delta Sigma Pi has helped me grow as a person because it allowed me to grow into a professional while also teaching me the importance of brotherhood and long lasting friendships. I always thought that business was about getting to the top. But DSP really showed me that it’s about staying true to yourself and your brothers and that getting to the top means nothing unless I have my brothers there with me.

—Alicia Quirolo, Supply Chain and Finance double major

One would think that the fraternities and sororities of such a large state school would be rife with hazing, partying, and John Blutarsky’s. I have to admit that, before I experienced Greek life and researched for this post, I did too; pop culture certainly points us to those awful stereotypes. I hope that, by providing a glimpse into these three chapters at Rutgers University, Diego, Deirdre, and Alicia have lead you to believe otherwise.

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