The Student Governing Association’s duty is to represent the nearly 24,000 students at Kansas State, but one demographic holds a majority representation: greek life.
Ben Hopper, director of fraternity and sorority life, said in an email that of the 43 undergraduate senators, 37 are affiliated with a fraternity or sorority, totaling 86 percent.
Hopper said two of the eight graduate student senators were greek as undergraduates. All together, 39 of 53 are greek affiliated, or 75 percent, which includes two faculty SGA senators. This 75 percent greek life total is down 5 percent from last year.the SGA website. There are an additional five senate officers, one of whom is also listed as a senator.
The president and vice president of SGA — both of whom are greek — and 14 cabinet members are listed on the SGA website. Eight of the 14 are greek.
On the other hand, only 20 percent of the student body is involved in greek life.
Jack Ayres, speaker of the senate and senior in chemical engineering, is a member of Delta Chi fraternity. He said he does not believe being in a fraternity has impacted his involvement on campus.
“My aspirations for involvement pre-existed my interest in joining a fraternity,” said Ayres, who applied for the SGA Intern Program prior to joining his fraternity. “With that being said, I do acknowledge that most, if not all, fraternities and sororities focus on involvement as part of new member education.”
Student body president and senior in political science, Jessica Van Ranken, is a member of Sigma Kappa and vice president and junior in entrepreneurship, Trenton Kennedy, is a member of Beta Theta Pi.
Hopper said he is not surprised by the number of students from greek life that are involved on campus.
“I am proud that they are involved and want to make a difference on campus,” Hopper said. “If they continue to represent the needs and interests of the student body, they will help create a positive K-State experience for all students.”
The SGA Senate, which is divided by colleges and represented proportionally to the number of students within each college, is elected by the student body each year.
The College of Business Administration has five representatives, all of whom are involved in greek life. Four of five representatives from the College of Human Ecology are greek, as are more than half of the senators from the Colleges of Engineering and Arts and Sciences.
In another area, only 25 of 60 people in Senate are women. Van Ranken is the only female student body president since 2009.
Carlos Flores, senior in agricultural economics and an SGA senator, said he joined SGA because he wanted to make a difference and follow his passion of helping people.
“My goal as of now is to make sure the voices of all students are heard by strengthening outreach and spreading the word with reference to what is being discussed in our SGA meetings and how to get involved,” Flores said.
Flores, who is not involved in greek life, is currently working with a group of senators and interns to see if the large number of greek senators impacts SGA.
“I believe that SGA needs better representation from all living communities such as from the residence halls or off-campus, non-organized living,” Ayres said. “Simply put, we need more students to file to run and I hope that comes to fruition in the upcoming elections for the next term.”
Flores agreed and said he wanted to encourage students from all communities to consider joining SGA because the requirements and process are simpler than most students would expect.