Not all Greek organizations only care about who you know.
Out of the four councils that make up CSU’s Greek Life, only the organizations under the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Multicultural Greek Council seem to have deeply ingrained values. While much smaller in size, they offer more genuine relationships and authenticity — values that the Inter-Fraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association are strongly lacking.
These organizations are more supportive of each other, especially those under the same council. I have encountered many students that are a part of the Inter-Fraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association that can’t even name all the other organizations in their council. Because multicultural fraternities and sororities mainly embody a smaller community on campus, they are tight-knit, more diverse and overall more accepting organizations. Some people assume that you have to identify as a member of the minority group that historically started the organization to become a member, but this is completely false. They are inclusive, non-discriminatory organizations that welcome anyone who upholds the values of their sister- and brotherhoods. The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., is a historically black fraternity part of the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC). Alpha Phi Alpha had its first white members way back in 1946. They want to celebrate their rich cultural roots and backgrounds while promoting camaraderie and academic excellence.
On a campus where the minority population is less than 18%, it is important to have Greek organizations that promote cultural diversity as well as the values of other cultural groups.
These fraternities and sororities all have historically Black, Latino, Asian, and other minority origins because of our country’s racist history that barred them from joining other Greek organizations. Many of these organizations, especially the historically Black National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations (also known as the “Divine 9”), were pivotal during the civil rights movements. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most influential leaders during the civil rights movements and in the history of this country, was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
Multicultural organizations carry more diverse traditions and activities, like stroll shows which are amazing displays of dancing and stomping performances that originate from historically Black organizations. Many of the fraternities and sororities in the MGC have adapted the tradition of stroll shows and changed them to better represent their own personalities and cultures.
What gives the Divine 9 and MGC organizations substance is that they fundamentally care more about the quality of their members instead of how many members they have or how big their organizations are.
“None of these organizations are going to lower their standards for anyone; it’s about quality over quantity,” said Vance Payne, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. While CSU only hosts 3 of the 9 organizations under NPHC, at one point there were 7. They died out because, upon graduation, the members did not find anyone that would uphold the qualities or values of their organizations. That speaks volumes about the authenticity and nobility that multicultural Greek organizations carry.
While not all organizations under these councils function the same, each has individual and more immersive systems of incorporating new members.Each is focused on teaching the values they represent, instead of just looking for certain surface qualities initially. The encourages the prospect members to be themselves and builds real bounds of sister and brotherhood, and is completely different from the mad and crammed rush processes of the other councils, which are processes almost completely dependent on first impressions, who you know, and superficial interactions.
Greek Life offers positive benefits, such as networking opportunities and support for multiple charities and foundations. But, more often than not, organizations create a divide between students and groups on campus and are better known for their parties than their philanthropies. Thankfully, CSU has a few Multicultural Greek organizations that offer genuine relationships and bonds built on rich historical backgrounds and camaraderie, not just drunk party stories and a shared sense of entitlement.
Collegian columnist Jayla Hodge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @JaylaHodge.