Greetings from the Fraternity and Sorority Community!
Fraternity and sorority membership is on the rise once again! With the success of our newest fraternity and sorority, Beta Theta Pi and Kappa Alpha Theta, we are pleased to announce that Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. will be recognized this fall! You can read more about their organization and other updates below.
As we move into the summer months, we look forward to strategizing how we can continue improving the support for our fraternities and sororities. Please let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions—we look forward to brainstorming with you.
Congratulations to all of our graduating seniors—I look forward to your continued involvement as alumni and hope to see you all for Meliora Weekend!
John DiSarro, director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs
Alumni Relations Update
Alumni Relations is excited announce to the new University of Rochester alumni website, www.rochester.edu/alumni. The site is your destination for everything related to local alumni networks, affinity groups, upcoming events, and Meliora Weekend!
Speaking of Meliora Weekend, save the date for October 6–9, 2016. We are excited to see you back on campus!
Rochester Welcomes a New MGC Organization
Beginning in fall 2016, the University will recognize Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. Theta Nu XI’s mission is to promote leadership, multiculturalism, and self-improvement through academic excellence, involvement in and service to the campus and community, and by serving as living examples of sisterhood across different races, cultures, religions, backgrounds, and lifestyles.
Theta Nu Xi will become Rochester’s first MGC sorority that does not have a particular cultural background but rather focuses generally on issues of diversity and multiculturalism. They look forward to working closely with the Burgett Intercultural Center, other fraternities and sororities, and various student organizations, to increase the focus on diversity in our community. The Fraternity and Sorority Management Committee was impressed with the organization’s application and feels they will provide a new dimension to our existing community.
These organizations are joining Kappa Alpha Theta and Beta Theta Pi as Rochester’s newest fraternities and sororities, all of which have received recognition within the past year. Kappa Alpha Theta, began selecting members in the fall and is already up to 69 members. Beta Theta Pi did not begin its recruitment efforts until mid-February but already has 45 founding fathers. The growth in all three of our governing councils is a testament to the high value Rochester students place on the fraternity and sorority experience.
Reflections From a Student Leader: Michael Gulston ’16
“Hello and good evening everyone. For those of you who do not know me, my name, as John stated, is Michael Gulston. I am a brother of Sigma Beta Rho Fraternity, Inc. and it is an incredible honor to be speaking with you all this evening.
As a senior brother of my fraternity, my perspective of Greek life changed significantly since coming to the U of R. Coming in, I always thought that Greek life was just a way of having a social nightlife and that the people in it cared about everything other than school. So the decision to join any Greek organization was a big gamble for me.
I’m sure I’m not the only one in this room that felt this way coming in. Our image of Greek life, as with a lot of other things, is distorted by the media and film industry. If your only experience with Greek life is from watching American Pie or Animal House, then your image of Greek life is going to favor the ideologies portrayed. After becoming a member of the Greek community, I was slowly able to push those ideologies out of my head.
There are many common misconceptions about Greek life that I’ve continue to hear over the years. Greeks pay for their friends, Greeks are dumb, Greeks only care about partying. Most members in the Greek community can argue against these claims, but they need to actually see it for themselves.
After spending years with our community, I realized that Greek life at the University of Rochester has done some wonderful things. We have award-winning chapters and individuals in our community, highlighting the significant contributions they have made to the greater campus community and their members. We have chapters that work closely with the Rochester community seeking to improve the lives of others in need. We have chapters that significantly impact their philanthropies, whether its an alternative spring break program or a fundraiser. The point is that our Greek community does great things.
How do we, as a Greek community , show the world that we are better than they think we are? The answer is: we don’t. We alone can’t change the worldwide view of Greek life. Especially when there are Greek organizations in other places that continue to give Greek life a bad reputation.
There is something we can do to change our image though. We can change how our immediate community sees us. We need to show the campus community that we are better than they think we are. We need to show them that Greek life is capable of more than just partying. I’m not advocating for less partying when I say this. I am advocating for more inclusive programming. If the student body saw the Greek community making an active effort to host quality, meaningful events, then they would begin to see the Greek community in a better light. It feels like some Greek organizations focus more on this than others, which makes it hard to completely change the image.
During my time with Sig Rho, when I started to realize what our campus has been lacking, I took it upon myself to do something about it within my organization. One example is that I took an old event, created by our alumni as a social event, and made it into something more inclusive. Instead of only focusing on the party aspect, I added a cultural immersion element to the event. The event brings together many different cultural groups on campus and highlights their unique differences to each other and the campus community through dance, music, art, etc. This type of program helps other organizations on campus feel represented and included when they can part of something bigger than themselves. I didn’t have to take out the social aspect of the event, making alumni happy.
After speaking to several non-Greek students about their experience with Greek life, they mostly share the sentiment that Greek life was not for them because it is not an inclusive community. They believe that our community is only contributing to campus on a social level. They never sought to change their predisposed images of Greek life, because we as a community did not give them a reason to. This needs to change.
In summary, what I’ve been trying to say this entire time is that in order to make Greek life better for everyone, we must change how others perceive us. For that to happen, we must come together and collectively improve our reach on campus through new initiatives and programming. We must seek to understand and believe that we are also above the misconceptions. In order for this to be successful, not some, but all Greek organizations must seek to do this.
Thank you. Have a Meliora Day.”
Award-Winning Organizations Recognized at Reception
Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners, who were recognized at the Fraternity and Sorority Achievement Reception in April. The evening honored the accomplishments of the entire fraternity and sorority community and featured remarks by Richard Feldman, dean of the College, John DiSarro, and senior Michael Gulston. The following awards were presented this year.
Award for Overall Excellence in Strategic Planning
The award for Overall Excellence in Strategic Planning is the highest honor a chapter can receive through the Expectations for Excellence awards process. The chapters receiving this award will have incorporated strong, action-oriented goals to achieve success in each area of the Expectations for Excellence, both in the written document and in the chapter’s actions throughout the year.
- Fraternity recipient: Sigma Phi Epsilon
- Sorority recipient: Sigma Delta Tau
Delta Upsilon Fraternity and Sorority Achievement Award
Awarded by Delta Upsilon fraternity to a student who uses involvement in the fraternity and sorority community to promote a cause he or she is personally passionate about
- Hannah Daughton, Delta Gamma
Order of Omega Rising Leader Award
Awarded to a sophomore student who embodies the principles of scholarship, leadership, and service on which the Order of Omega was founded
- Kyle Smith, Delta Upsilon (Kyle was not present for the award reception)
Expectations for Excellence: Leadership & Organizational Management
Awarded to an organization for the thoughtfulness, efficiency, and effectiveness of their internal affairs
- Winner: Kappa Delta
Expectations for Excellence: Community Building & Programming
Awarded to an organization for a collaborative approach to community service and philanthropy
- Winner: Chi Omega
Expectations for Excellence: Character and Values
Awarded to an organization for its strong focus on aligning members’ activities with the chapter’s values.
- Winner: Phi Kappa Tau
Expectations for Excellence: Scholarship
Awarded to an organization that strongly supported academic enrichment among its members.
- Winner: Gamma Phi Beta