Greek life continues to boom here at K-State and that is reflected in on-campus leadership. Over 80 percent of the Student Governing Association senators are members of a greek organization. The same trend can be seen in other campus leadership organizations, such as Blue Key Honor Society and Mortar Board.
“I am not totally sure, but what I have noticed is that many people who are involved in one organization or another tend to also get involved in many other organizations and this goes for both greeks and non-greeks,” said Gamma Phi Beta member Kylie Andres, junior in communication studies and senator for the College of Arts and Sciences. “Personally, I would love to see more diversity within senate, but at the same time these are the people that are super motivated to make K-State the best that it can be so I wouldn’t want that to change.”
The past five student body presidents have all been affiliated with a fraternity along with the majority of the senate. While the number of greek leaders seems to strongly outweigh unaffiliated senators, there does not appear to be a difference in their experiences in SGA.
“Personally, it has never affected my relationships in SGA,” Kurt Lockwood, senior in agricultural economics and speaker of the senate, said. “Some of my best friends are members of greek organizations and I can see the benefits to it. I’ve never felt like I was in the minority, but SGA could use more diversity and that is something that we lose out.”
Recently elected speaker pro tempore Jessica Van Ranken, sophomore in political science, is a member of Sigma Kappa and currently serves as the director of community and internal relations on the Panhellenic Council. She was also the senator that received the most votes from the College of Arts and Sciences with 264 votes.
“I believe that involvement in a greek organization often leads to being with a network of individuals who are able to give their fellow members information on organizations in which they are involved,” Van Ranken said. “This means that members of greek organizations often share information about how to get involved with the organizations in which they are involved, which leads to more members of greek chapters in the same or similar campus organizations.”
With 20 percent of the K-State family being a part of the greek community, election stress can certainly be eased by being a member of a sorority or fraternity. For most colleges, a senator would need over 100 votes to be voted into the senate. That number can be staggering for unaffiliated students.
“I think there’s a strong tradition in the greek community of serving in SGA and in other leadership organizations,” Lockwood said. “They’re very good at communicating with each other about these positions and the importance of them. SGA has struggled with educating the general student body about what it is and the work that it does.”
By comparison, sororities at K-State have a quota to meet of 192 members. Fraternities are often smaller, but still provide a far wider reaching pool of people. While all of a candidate’s greek brothers or sisters may not be in their college, it does lend them a built-in support system for elections.
“If anyone were to walk into the Big 12 room on a Thursday night, I honestly believe they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between those in a greek organization and those who aren’t,” Lockwood said. “We are all a part of the same K-State and SGA family. Every single senator has unique experiences and perspectives that no one else on campus can bring. This makes each senators input and voice equally important, regardless if they are affiliated with a greek organization.”