Tamika Alexander – Arts and Entertainment Editor –
With the semester underway, some of the students at Southern Connecticut State University are on the lookout for ways to become more involved on campus.
The university offers many clubs and organizations such as Greek Life that allow students to build better friendships, relationships and networking opportunities.
“Being in a sorority means more than just having letters across your chest,” said Ashley Ishman, senior public health major, member of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority and Vice President of Greek Life Council. “It is more than a bond and it’s more than having friends. Being in a sorority, to me, is having a family.”
Having people around when you need them is one of the many benefits of joining a sorority she said.
“Receiving guidance because they’ve been through things,” said Jordan Taylor, junior psychology major and member of Phi Beta Sigma, “Learning new skills, strolling and stepping, and most importantly, brotherhood.”
Recalling the difficult times identifying with others on the SCSU. campus, Ishman said her life changed the day she was at a club fair and ran across the Delta Phi Epsilon table.
“Something about the diverse group of women stood out to me. They reached out to me and for the first time at Southern, I felt like I belonged somewhere,” she said.
Also, looking to find a place where he felt he could gain growth and maturity, Taylor said he became interested in joining Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.
“Being from Bridgeport,” he said, “there’s not a lot of positive influences. I wanted to surround myself with a positive crowd and gain some guidance.”
Phi Beta Sigma fraternity’s diversity, he said, is what motivated him to become a part of the organization.
“Some fraternities are stereotyped and I didn’t want to be limited,” he said. “I knew I wanted to join a culturally based group and that I wanted to join an organization in the Divine Nine.”
Fraternities and sororities that are a part of the Divine Nine include Phi Beta Sigma, Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Iota Phi Theta, according to blackgreek.com, a website about historically black greek letter organizations.
Being in a sorority is nothing like how it is portrayed on television and in movies, said Ishman.
“Stereotypes break us down,” she said, “and don’t show the true definition of what a sorority is supposed to be. Being in a sorority is one of the most influential things on a young woman’s life and it can change their lives forever.”
To break the stereotypes, Greek Life Council and Greek organizations seek to recruit students who are interested in growing as individuals socially and scholastically and who want to build long lasting relationships while doing so, she said.
“We look for a variety of things,” Ishman said, “but the main one that I am sure we all look for is someone who is just themselves. We do not like people who try so hard to fit in with us; we want people who are true to themselves and genuine people. So a tip for all of those who are interested: be yourself; it’s the best version you will ever be.”
Trying to get to know the members of a fraternity or a sorority is the first step to take if an individual is interested in rush and recruitment, said Taylor.
“I supported events,” he said. “I found out what they were about and the process just extended that and I got closer and closer to them.”
The Greek Life Council organizes and offers different activities and events such as the Greek Life Showcase which was held recently, to get those who are interested involved in rush and recruitment, said Ishman.
“The Showcase is put on every year and it is an informative formal way to get to know each Greek organization. This year we added an event called ‘Chill Out with The Greeks.’ It is a way to come kick back with us, get some giveaways, play some games and get to know us outside of business.”
If students are interested in rush and recruitment activities and potentially becoming a part of a Greek organization, they should attend some of the GLC events.
“Some benefits of rushing a fraternity or a sorority,” said Ishman, “is that you get to know a group of men or women, whether you receive a bid or not, who will change your life forever. You get to meet such a variety of people, you learn a lot about the organization and the people who surround you, and overall you get the experience.”