Greek life promotes success, community for students

Caleb Berry is a senator for USUAA and a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.

In universities across the nation, Greek Life is a cultural phenomenon. Throughout the hallowed halls of American higher education, you can find the letters of fraternities and sororities proudly displayed. UAA is not an exception. UAA is currently the home of local chapters from four national fraternities. These fraternities are Tau Kappa Epsilon, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Alpha Sigma Phi, and Phi Kappa Theta. UAA also hosts chapters from the Alpha Sigma Alpha and Sigma Sigma Sigma sororities.

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Members of Tau Kappa Epsilon table in the Student Union during Greek Week 2018. Photo credit: Caleb Berry

To benefit a campus is to promote academic success and personal happiness of the people on the campus.

There are currently over 200 active members of the UAA Greek Life Community. All fraternities and sororities at UAA have minimum GPA requirements that all students must meet in order to retain membership. Similar to college athletics, this provides motivation for participating students to keep their grades up. The minimum grade requirements vary from organization to organization; however, no fraternity or sorority sets their minimum below a 2.3 GPA.

Students who participate in Greek Life organizations tend to perform better academically than those who do not. In the fall 2016 semester, the GPA for the general undergraduate population was 2.80; however, the overall GPA for Panhellenic sororities was 2.90.

Not all of the benefits of participating in UAA Greek Life are quantifiable.

Killian McClure is a junior biology major as well as philanthropy chair of the Phi-Alpha Chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.

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“To put it simply, in a lifetime there might be five choices that define your life. For me, one of them [was] joining TKE and the UAA Greek life community. It has helped me become more confident in myself and my worth as a student. Greek life has provided me with an outlet for my drive for philanthropy first as a new member and soon after as the chair of the philanthropy committee. In addition, to be involved in the community, TKE has given me an opportunity to lead and be mentored,” McClure said.

Participation in social fraternities and sororities helps generate a sense of belonging and purpose amongst students. These groups are kind of like the houses of Hogwarts. They compete together, study together, support each other and in many cases even live together. Many are surprised to learn that UAA has official Greek housing. The Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority holds official housing on campus where they contribute to the overall success of Residence Life. It is also common for members of a Greek organization to live together off-campus. This helps foster social networking, as well as a connection back to the main campus.

54 percent of students in the last four years have left with a degree of any kind. Part of the reason for this trend is that some students do not feel like they belong on their campus. UAA helps combat this trend by having a large variety of Greek organizations student can call home. Fraternities and sororities do not receive funding from UAA. They are entirely self-funded. They do not take from this school; rather, they only add to it.

Opinions expressed in The Northern Light do not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper, its staff or faculty adviser(s).