Greek chapters experience significant rise in membershipPosted February 1st, 2012 by Mike
Greek Life has been a significant fixture in the lives of college students across the nation. Recently, Greek life at Oregon State University has reached a significant peak, with 2,806 total students representing Greek chapters within the Unified Greek Council, Inter-fraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council. This represents approximately 13.6 percent of the total population at OSU.
Bob Kerr, coordinator of Greek life at OSU, attributes this recent growth to several factors. “Students are looking for academic support and a place to make a big university feel smaller and more inviting,” said Kerr. “As more students experience the benefits of Greek life, they naturally attract other students as well.”
Another noteworthy change the Greek community has undergone is the way it markets itself towards incoming students, said Will Later, IFC President. Many students recall the memorable “G” campaign during Connect week, where members of the Greek community wore t-shirts with a large “G” on the front. They allowed the meaning of this letter to spread by word of mouth throughout the student body, which according to Later, led to “so much more awareness about Greek life [causing a] 30 percent increase from last year’s recruitment.”
At a large school like OSU, composed of 20,621 undergraduates alone, many students can feel overwhelmed, and look towards Greek life as a group they can instantly identify and connect with. Jose Manriquez, chairman of the Unified Greek Council agreed, saying, “More and more people are beginning to find a home away from home within the Greek Community. Each organization is like a second family, you may have your ups and downs, but there will always be someone there to support you.”
Kate Burr, President of the Panhellenic Council shares a similar viewpoint. “Oregon State is a growing university and it can be easy to get lost and feel out of touch.” Greek life, she said, gives “a sense of welcome and a home away from home type feeling.” Burr believes some of the other attractions are the rigorous academic standards many houses have in place, and also the philanthropic programs that benefit the greater Corvallis area.
This significant increase in students involved in Greek life will have several ramifications, both immediately and in the near future. Kerr said, “Greek life will continue to grow parallel to the university’s growth.”
With OSU attempting to expand to 30,000 students, we can only expect that the Greek system will continue its progression. To accommodate the current growth, and also make room for more members, “the Panhellenic Council recently approved the addition of two more chapters to our campus in the upcoming years,” Burr said.
Manriquez said this rise in numbers will be extremely beneficial to the Greek life community. As the quantity of members goes up, inevitably the quality will as well, “Meaning that if there are more people coming in to the Greek community, then there are also more visionaries and leaders as well,” Manriquez said.
“Having such an improvement in numbers leads to an improvement in quality of members,” Later said.
Martin Forde, staff reporter