Fraternity and Sorority Life seek dynamic, diverse community

Oregon State’s Fraternity and Sorority Life community is made up of five councils with a total of 46 individual chapters. The five organizations consist of the Collective Greek Council, the Interfraternity Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Panhellenic Council and the Unified Greek Council.

Caleb Chandler News Contributor

OSU’s Fraternity and Sorority Life consists of five organizations that makeup the larger Greek population.

The Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life, otherwise known as the CFSL, is an organization that draws in thousands of students each year. Currently five different communities make up the larger fraternity and sorority life community at Oregon State University, according to Leslie Schacht-Drey, Director for the CFSL. 

“As a collective group, we often refer to the fraternity and sorority community as one of the largest student organizations on campus,” Schacht-Drey said. 

A unique aspect about the Greek community is that it is made up of self-governing councils. The individual chapters made the choice to join in a larger community, giving them the benefits of becoming a part of the larger organization, according to Schacht-Drey. Each chapter elects their own student leaders to help create policies, host events, provide administrative support,  oversight and more. 

Fraternity and Sorority Life offers an enriching opportunity for all students to get engaged, regardless of background, race, or beliefs, according to Schacht-Drey. These chapters are both housed and unhoused while focusing on academics, leadership, and highlighting  multicultural differences.

“We have a dynamic, diverse community and we have 46 chapters that each provide a unique experience,” Schacht-Drey said. 

Further information for all the individual chapters and larger communities can be found online at the CFSL website, or in their office on the third floor of the Student Experience Center.

Collective Greek Council

The Collective Greek Council is the newest of the five communities at Oregon State, starting their first active term in fall 2017, according to Cory Zimmerman, representative for the CGC. The council features four independent chapters, who came together to form a new community. The three sororities and one fraternity are interest-based, meaning that the members of the respective chapters share a common interest. These range from certain academic majors to a chapter that is for members and allies of the LGBTQIA community, standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual.

“All of our organizations offer a sense of community through some sort of commonality between the members,”  Zimmerman said via email. “This allows members the ability to show their true selves to their brothers or sisters from the get-go, and provides new members the peace-of-mind that they will be accepted regardless of background.”

Each chapter is unhoused and ranges in size from just a few members to a few dozen. 

“We are a much smaller community. Since we only have four chapters, it brings an added aspect of a family,” Zimmerman said over email. 

The chapters of CGC have a formal recruitment season that is in the beginning of fall term where everyone is highly encouraged to attend, according to Zimmerman. Students can engage in social events and presentations to learn more about each unique chapter, helping them make the right decision of where they want to be. 

“If you’re still skeptical about joining a fraternity or sorority, I highly encourage you to at least do some research about other councils and figure out if there is a group that fits you,” Zimmerman said via email. “And if there is a group that isn’t here yet but you think would fill a gap that we’re missing, CGC would love more chapters.”

Unified Greek Council

The Unified Greek Council has a multicultural focus for students seeking to learn about their own identity, as well as learning about a cultural identity, according to Polly Salinthone, Executive Director for the UGC. The council consists of four sororities and two fraternities, each its own separate chapter, but together making up the UGC. Each focus on a specific culture but are open to all students, regardless of race or background, Salinthone added. 

The UGC has had a presence on campus since 2007, but was not officially branded until 2014, according to Salinthone. A constitution and its first elected executive board came the following year.

The UGC community has around 40 active members and is unhoused. They push to create a strong community and aim for high academics within its member base, according to Salinthone.

“Each organization in UGC strives to offer academic excellence, networking – which can range from a local to a national level – and diversity,” Salinthone said via email. “Due to UGC being small, it is also a close-knit community you can truly call your second family.” 

Two traditions that the UGC have are strolling and chants. 

“Strolling is a synchronized line dance that differ between each organization comprised of different moves. A chant/call are vocal sounds/words used by members of multicultural sororities and fraternities to acknowledge one another” Salinthone said via email. “These traditions are representations of

each organization.”

Each of the individual chapters have their own recruitment events, typically taking place in the first week of fall and spring term. 

National Pan-Hellenic Council

The National Pan-Hellenic Council, also known as the Divine

9 (D9), is a community that is historically black and African-American, according to Demetrius Watts, a member of the NPHC. The council is international, going beyond the borders of the U.S. and has five fraternities and four sororities. Of the nine Black Greek letter organizations, BGLO, there are three present on the Oregon State Campus with no housed chapters.  These organizations differ from other councils in that they are not traditional-housed organizations.

The NPHC was created during a time of racial tension and segregation when blacks were not allowed in fraternities and sororities that were predominantly white, according to Watts. The creation of these BGLOs allowed black individuals to join fraternity and sorority life,

which formed the NPHC.

“The NPHC are historically black Greek-lettered organizations that are deeply rooted in black history; they are unique in that they are lifelong organizations. Once you join, you are forever a member even once you are no longer living,” Watts said. 

The best way to show interest in joining an NPHC organization is to attend events put on by the chapters within the community, according to Watts. Members of the community can create strong connections and networks that they can take beyond their school years. High values and principals of a strong brotherhood and sisterhood are held high throughout the council,” Watts added. 

The NPHC participates in a yard show each year where they show off strolling and stepping, according to Watts. 

“Strolling is a part of our culture. It’s the way we have fun and it’s a way to show unity,” Watts said. “Each Organization has its own stroll they create. It’s a way to be creative and be seen. Strolling, as well as stepping, trace back to African roots.”

Panhellenic Council

The Panhellenic Council at Oregon State University are the traditionally housed sororities for women to be engaged with, according to Sara Perry, the Panhellenic Council president. 

“We are the Panhellenic Conference. The National Panhellenic Conference is an umbrella organization that consists of 26 sororities,” Perry said via email. “Here at Oregon State University, we have 11 of these organizations, and one associate member. There are approximately 2,000 women that make up this

community here at OSU.”

Becoming a part of the Panhellenic community offers many opportunities, such as meeting other women who share strong values, as well as helping to create networks, working on career development, gaining leadership roles and finding chances to pursue academic success, Perry added.

“We are all value-based organizations that seek to develop our members to their fullest potential. We strive for excellence in academics and philanthropy, and have a deep love for our sisters,” Perry said over email. 

The Panhellenic council has a formal recruitment that occurs in the fall. Potential members get to meet and learn about each chapter on campus to find the one that is right for them, according to Perry. The last day of recruitment is Bid Day, where an individual finds their new home. 

“We love welcoming the new members to our chapters, and are so excited to have them in our lives,” Perry said via email. 

Interfraternity Council

The Interfraternity Council is the governing                  

body for traditionally housed fraternities at OSU. The community has 21 chapters, though not all are housed, according to Ian Snyder, the Interfraternity Council president. 

“Each organization offers a unique membership experience in that each chapter hosts a different philanthropy and will sometimes have a focus on a certain area of study or hobby,” Snyder said via email. “At their core, fraternities offer a brotherhood in which members share common values and strive to embody them in their lives.”

Currently, the IFC hosts the most chapters out of the five governing communities. It also hosts an annual philanthropy where all members participate to help raise money for the B+ foundation, which helps support families fighting childhood cancer, as well as research and advocacy. 

According to Snyder, what a student can get from joining the IFC is leadership and networking opportunities that help transition the members into their lives beyond college. 

“The Interfraternity Council serves to build better men by empowering all chapters to provide a lasting and unique fraternal experience for its community members,” Snyder said over email. 

IFC has a recruitment process that features events such as barbecues, presentations and field days. This is where potential members can meet the men of each chapter to learn about the organizations, according to Snyder. Jump Day concludes the recruitment period where new members are called by name and thrown into the air to be caught by their new brothers. This symbolically and physically welcomes them into the arms of their brothers, Snyder added. 

A correction has been made in this article. The word “bystander” in the “Collective Greek Council” section was incorrectly used. It has been changed to “bisexual”. The Baro apologizes for this mistake. 

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