Orientation guide: Greek life presents opportunities for friendship, philanthropy work

Emily DeShazer | Collegian Members of K-State’s fraternities and sororities pose for a photo during Greek Week, celebrating 100 years of fraternities and sororities at K-State. About 20 percent of K-Staters are involved in greek life.

K-State boasts more than 475 student organizations for freshmen to consider joining when they first get on campus. One aspect of campus life that many students choose to join is the greek community. According to the K-State website, 20 percent of K-State students are members of a sorority or fraternity.

“Being greek is about being a part of something bigger than yourself and being surrounded by people with the same motives and beliefs that you have,” said Kelly McElhiney, member of the Kappa Delta sorority and sophomore in kinesiology. “It’s one of the greatest support systems around, especially at K-State, and having that in college is something that everyone needs.”

There are currently more than two dozen fraternities and a dozen sororities with diverse members and interests, including chapters for multicultural students and gay or lesbian students. To join a greek house, students go through a process known as “rush.” Rush is a series of events that allows prospective members and current greek members to get to know each other.

For sororities, rush typically occurs the week before the fall semester starts. Potential new members tour each house and meet the members of the sorority to help narrow down the incoming members’ house selections. Once new students are matched with their prospective houses, they get a bid to join the sorority.

Fraternity rush is a less formal process. Prospective members contact the fraternity recruitment chairs, attend rush events and meet some of the members. If the recruitment chairs believe the interested student will be an asset to the fraternity, they grant the student a bid to join.

Greek life is more than a social community. Fraternities and sororities celebrate school spirit and greek life with weeklong competitions such as All-University Homecoming and Greek Week. These events include parades, competitions and games.

Fraternities and sororities all support different philanthropy organizations, and members often volunteer in the Manhattan community. Being a member of a greek house can also help students connect and network with other members and alumni.

“Students should go greek because of the immediate support system that you gain,” said Will Schneider, member of Theta Xi fraternity and freshman in business. “You’re constantly encouraged to get involved, do well in school and have fun.”

The contacts and opportunities that the greek system provides can help students get off on the right foot while at K-State and after graduation, said Haley Hermes, junior in family studies and human services.

“The greek system connects you to an organization that provides you with positive ideals and aspirations,” Hermes said. “These values, combined with the connections and friendships that you make, can help you grow into a more well-rounded and experienced individual.”

For more information on the greek system at K-State, visit k-state.edu/greek.