Nov. 16, 2015

Greek life experiences influenced by campus environment

By Becky Byron

Every year, as students flock to college campuses around the country, a select few are more excited to be reunited with their “sisters” and sorority house, than to meet new professors and decorate their dorm.

But how does the sorority experience of a commuter school like Cleveland State compare to that of a traditional campus?

Amanda Mastronicolas, 21, is a biology major at Cleveland State and a member of Phi Mu. Her experience in the organization is far from shows like “Scream Queens” and movies like “The House Bunny.”

“Aside from philanthropy, we do some volunteer work, support the other organizations in events they may have on campus, participate in intramural sports, have sisterhood events and spend countless hours studying together,” Mastronicolas said.

Without a sorority house, meetings are held in a room rented out on campus. Mixers with fraternities become less about having wild parties or pairing the hottest sorority with the hottest fraternity, and more about getting to know one another.

“Since CSU is a smaller school with only four fraternities, we get to know everyone really well,” Mastronicolas said. “Mingling and socializing is always an easy and comfortable task because we respect the fraternity men and they respect us back.”

Olivia Muth, 21, is a fashion merchandising major living on campus at the University of Delaware. Muth is also a member of Phi Sigma Sigma. Despite the differing campus communities, her experience is pretty similar to Mastronicolas.

“As a chapter we collect donations weekly for UDance, a 12-hour dance marathon that aims to end childhood cancer. We go on sisterhood retreats to the beach, go apple picking, have family and alumni events, host our own events that raise money for our local philanthropy Kids Runway for Research, and our national philanthropy, The Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation.”

“We attend other greek and university events, and even have study hours in the library together,” Muth said.

A highly anticipated aspect of Greek life for freshman girls around the country is the participation in what is widely known as “rush.”

At both Cleveland State and the University of Delaware, rush is less of a strict hazing activity and more of a recruitment party to get to know other people.

“Since we don’t have houses here, we have what is called formal recruitment in the fall and informal recruitment in the spring,” Mastronicolas said. “We have our potential new members sign up and each sorority has a room, which we call parties. Each party has a certain time limit and the potential new members go to each room and meet the sisters to get to know them. At the end of the day sororities vote on who they talked to.”

For the University of Delaware’s recruitment, the process spans over the course of two entire weekends.

“At the beginning of the spring semester potential new members go from room to room in a conference center for an allotted amount of time and meet the sisters of the eleven different sororities on campus,” Muth said.

“There is a total of four rounds which include an open house, skit, philanthropy and preference with each round narrowing down the amount of sororities that the potential new member will see until they mutually select a chapter to join.”

Cleveland State and the University of Delaware’s Greek systems hold many similarities despite their vastly different campus cultures.

The differences in Greek communities come into play not with the residential campus life but with the size of the Greek system as a whole and the timelines on which activities like rush operate.

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