Disclaimer: More Than Colors is a written web-series about Greek Life. Its goal is to negate some stereotypes and myths, and genuinely enlighten non-greeks on general information about Fraternities and Sororities, Greek etiquette, and the unknown.
So you want to be Greek? Some non-greeks believe it’s hard to approach members of fraternities and sororities for various reasons. The More Than Colors team decided to reach out to some Greeks and compile three common questions. 1. Why did you go Greek? 2. Why did you choose your specific org? 3. What advice can you offer aspiring Greeks?
Let’s hear from the Greeks
GLENN – SPRING 2011
I joined a Black Greek Letter Organization because I wanted a brotherhood that could motivate me to do better for myself. When I came to college all I did was party and my grades suffered. I saw brothers on campus in different fraternities that were leaders on campus, giving back to their community, and seemed to be doing well academically.
I did my research on the Divine 9 and there was no other fraternity than Alpha Phi Alpha for me. First off, the brothers on campus were every where and involved in different aspects of the campus. Secondly, I didn’t feel that joining this specific organization would stereotype me or come with an image/connotation. I could truly be myself. lastly, I joined Alpha because I wanted to be a part of something that was bigger than myself, and would give me the tools necessary to give back to the community and excel.
Advice I would give to anyone interested in Greek Life is, this bond is like no other and it lasts for a lifetime. This isn’t just a college group or social org. These Divine 9 organizations continue to do the work of their founders even after college. If you do join, seek out a graduate chapter after you graduate and continue to get involved.
Amanda – Fall 2014
I joined a sorority because all Divine 9 organizations have roots of blackness. Blackness is the origin of all. Blackness is power, prestige, trials, and beauty.
I chose Alpha Kappa Alpha for various reasons. Well, my founders were a generation away from slavery. They were able to start an organization for women that was empowering and remarkable. My founders pushed through times of anguish. Being black, being a woman, and being able to form the first organization of its kind took strength and tremendous courage. I believe in the empowerment of women to the fullest degree and I wanted to be able to continue on the legacy in which my founders started. Alpha Kappa Alpha is the original and I see myself as being an original woman as well. I’m amazing, and I’m great. Those types of people recognize this within themselves. I saw myself in my founders, not in anyone else’s.
If you don’t embody what your desired org stands for before you try to join, don’t try to mold yourself into being something you’re not just for the hell of it.
Marcus – Spring 2014
Coming into college, I was not very familiar with Greek life. I have a cousin on the west coast who is an Omega man. When evaluating and researching Greeks at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, they stood out among the general student body. They take pride in academics and are involved in the community with volunteering and community service. Being an athlete on campus, I was already involved on campus, and joining a fraternity was something I was passionate about. I wanted to commit for a life time.
Choosing to join Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. was an easy decision after doing my research. Omega Psi Phi stood out to me with the 4 cardinal principles: Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift. The Motto, which is “Friendship is essential to the Soul” is dear to me. The history of this Fraternity and the great men who are apart of this fraternity have made a huge impact in black history in life through politics, science, sports, arts/entertainment, business, etc. The brothers who already were in this fraternity before I joined were great people to be around. My Line Brothers who I love dearly, we been through a lot together which make our “Friendship” one of the sweetest and dearest gifts that life can bring. I wanted to be apart of this great fraternity and history and make an impact and extend the greatness that already been served.
Do your research, find what best fits you and how you can impact that fraternity/sorority. This is an INDIVIDUAL decision, don’t do it because your friend is doing it. You choose it!
Zhanela – Fall 15
I joined a Divine 9 organization because it’s an experience only the people who came through with you will understand. It teaches you to be humble and brings you closer with a multitude of people. It’s an inseparable bond that no one can relate to. It also teaches you to be selfless and it’s a great learning experience in my opinion. If you can do this, you can overcome any obstacle in life.
I chose Zeta because Zeta is the realest organization around. there is no half stepping when it comes to Zeta. The presence of a Zeta is enough to make anyone proud. I am honored to be a Zeta lady and that fact will never change. We are the true essence of sisterly love and finer womanhood. When I stepped foot onto the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, Zeta took me in. I will always remember that Zeta is not only a sorority, but a family
Thomas – Fall 2012
I joined a Greek organization because I feel they embody what it means to be a leader. While attending a PWI, it’s important to have leaders that signify strength, unity, aspiration, and involvement. I feel like every Greek organization embodies these characteristics in one way or another.
I joined Kappa Alpha Psi because I wanted to be surrounded by like minded individuals. During the time I was on my road to becoming a Greek I was going through a personal transformation. I wanted to become more professional, become serious, develop my attire and become more mature. I saw this within KAPPA Alpha Psi during this phase of my life.
My advice would be, “to be yourself”. Greek life will not change who you are… Find yourself before entering a Greek organization and take a piece of you into your organization. Believe in who you are before and after becoming Greek. There is nobody in the world that knows you better than you.
Kimyata – Spring 14
The funny thing initially as a freshman at UW-Whitewater I was not interested in Greek life at all. I knew nothing about it, except what I seen on television. The movies showed a lot of stepping and strolling so in my mind that is what NPHC was all about. Truth be told I am pretty uncoordinated so I seen no reason for me to join any of these organizations. However, by the time my sophomore year came, I started to see there was way more to Black Greek Letter Organizations than I had thought. There’s a deep fraternal bond, lots of involvement in the community, and much, much more. This sparked my interest and I began to do research.
The Greek letter, Delta, is a symbol for change. As I did my research that is exactly what I seen with this organization. From the way Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. was founded, to the tremendous effect Delta women has had on social action has shown me that Delta women are game changers. A Delta woman does not settle for anything less than great. A Delta woman sees a problem and fixes it, and that is what led me to pursue membership in this devastating organization.
I have lots of advice for individuals aspiring to be a member of a Greek organization. My biggest piece of advice will be to do what feels right for you. Do not join an organization for your best friend, you boyfriend/girlfriend, your mom/dad, your brother/sister, or for anyone else’s happiness. All of these organizations are a lifetime commitment and joining for someone else’s satisfaction will definitely hinder you in the long run.
Aaron – Spring 14
I’ve never had close relationships with other black Men and Greek life seemed like a good opportunity to experience that. I admired seeing young black leaders on campus coming together for the sake of scholarship and uplifting the Black community and that’s something that I wanted to be apart of.
I felt a personal connection to Alpha because our Founders stood in the face of racial injustice and fought for the things Black students were robbed of due to racism. Alpha men were set apart in their character and their actions stood out from other orgs.
One piece of advice I would give aspiring Greeks is that they need to be their genuine selves when pursuing membership. They need to put just as much into their organizations as they expect to get out of it and they need to be ready put in work and represent
DeAndre – Spring 2010
There are a lot of reasons why I decided to join a Black Greek organization, but the main reason is because of the common purposes all of them share and that is to 1) graduate and 2) uplift the Black community. A lot of people think all we do is party, stroll and step but that is a misconception. Our purpose is to achieve our educational goals, we seek to gain knowledge and with the knowledge we gain we can use that to uplift our communities. That’s why you always see members of the Divine 9 at community centers, middle schools/ high schools etc.
I chose Iota Phi Theta for the strong brotherhood that I saw them have on campus. Also there isnt really a sterotype to place us under, we’re all different and thats what makes us unique. Also Iota was founded in 1963 in the heart of the civil rights movement, so for a Black organization to be established during that time means a lot. I could go on and on about why I chose Iota but I’ll keep short.
It may sound cliche but always remember you were Black before you were Greek. Do not let your letters define who you are, your letters compliment who you are, not define who you are. And most importantly GRADUATE and stay focused.