Prosper in Greek

Stephanie Piedrahita/Staff Writer 

As stated on their webpage, the Interfraternity Council here in Florida International University is the governing body of 12 student run Greek lettered organizations and promotes “positive interfraternal competition in scholarship, service, athletics, and other events that may be deemed advisable for the betterment of the participants.”

Last week marked the beginning of Recruitment, or “rush week,” for many of these fraternities in hopes of finding new members to expand their respective organizations and continue in process to become a brother. Spring recruitment is in full swing and FIUSM had the opportunity to sit down with different fraternity men to talk about the importance of Greek life, why they decided to go through recruitment and how it positively impacts those who make it through the process.

Fraternities have the opportunity to recruit all throughout the year but spring semester recruitment is unique. IFC President Victor Javier Rodriguez, a junior completing a double major in psychology and anthropology and a current brother of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE), highlighted these differences for us.

“Spring recruitment usually tends to be the toughest semester. The least we’ve ever had is ten and the most is around 22, I believe. As opposed to fall, we usually have around 300 grade checks, from then the average bids given out in 2013 was 25-30 per chapter,” said Rodriguez.

The numbers do offer a stark difference due to the fact that there aren’t as many new faces this time of the academic year when compared to the fall and summer semesters. These statistics never deters fraternity men from seeking out members, however; so of course the week continued on flawlessly.

The biggest question being asked this week had nothing to do with how many bids were being given out or what the letters meant but rather: Why should anyone go Greek to begin with?

The organizations you see on campus are but a select few from a massive and varied selection throughout the nation so the networking possibilities are endless.  “Going Greek is the best thing ever. The sense of community, structure and support you develop over the next four years will definitely benefit you in the future and help you grow.” said Elijah Salver, a senior advertising major and a brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi (ΑΕΠ) who recently got hired by one of his own brothers.  Involvement on campus is also something you could look forward to when going Greek.

Ariel Cosio, a senior Broadcast Media major and brother of Sigma Alpha Mu (ΣΑΜ), agreed with this statement by saying “I think Greek life in general is a great choice for anybody because it is an opener for anyone who does want to get involved on campus but have a hard time doing so since this is a commuter school for many”.

Certainly there are many benefits to joining a fraternity but there was one similar response among those that were interviewed.

“This might sound a little cliché but the brotherhood is the best part” said Allan Espinoza, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering and High Alpha or president of Lambda Chi Alpha (ΛΧΑ). He continued on by saying “The friendships you make within a fraternity are ones that will last forever. You go through an experience that is shared all throughout the nation in different chapters and even then you can also have friends in other fraternities and sort of understand each other. In the end, we’re all here motivating each other to be the best kind of person we can be at the end of our college careers.”

Now that we’ve had a little bit of an inside look on why anyone should go through recruitment, what do these fraternity men actually look for when talking to potential new members?

Michael Santiago, a freshman who is the External Relations chair for Beta Theta Pi (ΒΘΠ), said “Fraternities don’t look for a mold. There’s a certain criteria of course they have to meet, but the focus is on finding leaders on campus. You see many students who are affiliated come out to events and set the example and this is what we look for when we recruit.”

John Bowman, a senior Accounting major and brother of Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI), said “My favorite part of recruitment is meeting new people and seeing if they actually have the drive and motivation to join an organization, since not many people do, is very exciting because you can be looking at your future brother. When you find someone like that, you start getting to know them and see if they match up to what we’re about.”

Greek life has certainly been a part of the FIU experience for many students and has been since the 1980’s. The importance of maintaining fraternities and sororities on campus is a continued debate between the student body but Austin Nowak, a senior completing a triple major in Mathematics, Physics and Economics; and Archon or president of Pi Kappa Phi, believes that Greek life really is an integral part within the dynamics of this university.

“I honestly believe that Greek life reflects the overall school spirit we have. A couple of years back, the football stadium was always packed with a massive crowd mostly consisting of active Greek members as well as alumni and also the friends of the Greek community. In the end we all take classes and do class projects together and are students so we don’t limit our friendships and create this extensive network of support. If we limit Greek life, we’re limiting that sense of school pride,” said Nowak.

He also reflects on how much of an impact you can make if you join a fraternity. “In my fraternity, we raise awareness about different kinds of disabilities and it does hit close to home since I myself have a disability and didn’t know until after I joined. We remind others that these people have feelings and expressing this to others is why fraternity men hold service and philanthropy to such a high regard,” said Nowak.

If you are interested on how to get further involved on campus through joining a fraternity, you can always go to greeks.fiu.edu or speak to anyone wearing greek letters.

stephanie.piedrahita@fiusm.com 

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