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Fraternities and Sororities up for Discussion

By Connor Smith; For the Clock & Kelsey Davis; News Editor
On September 22, 2016

Fraternities and Sororities up for Discussion

Connor Smith

For the Clock

Kelsey Davis

News Editor

Should there be more recognized fraternities and sororities on campus? Here at Plymouth State University the newly positioned president Donald Birx has introduced the idea of adding more Greek life to campus. Currently there are but three sororities present on campus comprised of Delta Zeta, Kappa Delta Phi NAS, and Tau Omega. It is unclear whether or not Greek life will be restored but there has been positive feedback from president Birx on the subject.

Previously, before his career at Plymouth State, Birx used to be the president of Penn State University. Birx discusses this stating “having worked in an environment with fraternities and sororities when I was at Penn State, I found them to be a positive factor on my campus with an orientation towards service, community, and school pride.” In the past, there has been a decent amount of fraternities and sororities on campus. However, due to the death of Kelley Nester, a pledge for the Sigma Kappa Omega, who died in a car accident during a hazing incident, both sororities and fraternities were temporarily banned. In the following years three sororities have been recognized.

Despite this tragedy, Birx believes that Greek life could be a great element for the community. Many ideas are being considered, such as a hybrid approach so students on and off campus could participate. The only trouble is figuring out how to do this correctly. Plymouth is known as quite the party school, which could make trouble for having fraternities and sororities recognized on campus. “I have found fraternities and sororities to be helpful in self-policing when done right.” Birx continued, “I love a good party as much as anyone else, but when they get out of control and there is no one that takes responsibility, it makes it bad for everyone, gets the town upset, and gives PSU the wrong type of media attention. Organized groups of students (no matter what the form) can exert a positive influence just when it is needed.”

“We’re already a small school and if we formed a brotherhood and sisterhood of fraternities and sororities it would take away from the community aspect, because people would build their own communities inside our already small community,” said Peter Wilms, a sophomore, criminal justice major. Many also did not agree with the hazing process of having to join one. Sometimes hazing can be dangerous and can hinder the school work of pledges.

Some students remained neutral. A handful of students said for personal reasons they didn’t think they would join, even if they were re-instated. Erica Halaby, a sophomore Adventure Education major, said “I think it would be good for the school, but it’s not my kind of thing.”

Many student’s opinions about fraternities and sororities were that they were all crazy partiers and were not aware of the community service and connection opportunities they’re meant to provide. Despite concern, many of the Greek life organizations are involved with philanthropic movements, even those not recognized by the university. One of the unrecognized fraternities on campus, Sig Tau Gamma, regularly does community service. Most recently the fraternity was involved with Fuel the Cause, and are planning on doing a walk in Boston benefitting St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Marissa Davis, a senior Criminal Justice major and president of Delta Zeta, said “Through leadership conferences, philanthropic events, study groups, sisterhood events, and intramural sport teams, the women in our chapter are supported and empowered. And Greek organizations do just that; they provide a healthy culture that gives its members responsibilities through student leadership and personal goals. Members hold positions that give them the opportunities to branch out of their small comfort zones to truly get the most out of their experience in college.” Because of the ban, fraternities and sororities that are not recognized by the University are unable to participate in any events not sponsored by the school. “We have wanted to take part in town clean ups with the rest of Greek life on and off campus.” Continued Davis, “I strongly feel that the University would see such a positive shift in student involvement and community service with more organizations under the University control, rather than being off-campus without any support or guidance.”

As long as the fraternities and sororities were somehow organized in a way so they’re not centered around partying, but making connections and giving back to the community, then many of the students may change their stance on Greek life on campus. President Birx is continuing to gather options from all students, faculty, staff and alumni. This is topic remains up for discussion.

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