Greek life has been an important part of ISU since the 1970s, yet there tends to be some mystery associated with some aspects of these organizations.
There may be some preconceived ideas about Greek life here on campus to non-members — more specifically, what is it about Greek life that makes it seem so secretive at times?
In actuality, the only thing a Greek chapter is typically secretive about is their rituals — and there is a reason for that.
“Our rituals are what bonds brothers and sisters uniquely together in an organization,” Kate Wehby, graduate assistant in the office of fraternity and sorority life, said. “It is unique to each chapter and is specially connected to the history, mission and values of the organization,” she said.
The rituals and processes of cultural fraternities and sororities are not shared as openly as the other features of a chapter. Friends and family are usually unaware when someone plans to become a member of a cultural organization until they reveal themselves at a chapter event.
Chris Kendrick, vice president of recruitment for interfraternity council, explains how it could potentially bond these people together by keeping certain aspects of a chapter’s rituals “hush-hush.”
“It can bring them back to the reason it was founded. I can’t speak for all chapters, but the reason we are here goes back to the founders of the fraternities,” Kendrick said.
There are many secret societies that do great things which can help bring them closer together, he added.
“Knowing that a person can keep a secret for that organization really speaks of that person.”
Essentially, the procedures that seem more enigmatic are kept that way in an effort to connect the brothers and sisters of their respective fraternities and sororities together.
Aside from some rituals, not all of them are kept secret, Wehby explained.
“There are sororities which have rituals to be shared with sisters, mothers and grandmothers,” she said.
Wehby also mentioned the Delta Upsilon fraternity — whose rituals are entirely open.
“The whole secrecy issue comes up when fraternities and sororities assume that the only way to understand them is to become a member—that’s just not true,” Wehby said.
Both Kendrick and Wehby encourage the students of ISU to become a part of a Greek life chapter. Kendrick joined a fraternity during his first semester at ISU; because of getting involved in Greek life, it has taught Kendrick much about leadership as well as opened the door to other RSOs and opportunities for him on campus. He is now passionate about sharing that experience with others.
“It is difficult for me to imagine my life without the support — and challenges — given to me by my chapter sisters … Becoming a member of my sorority has changed my life,” Wehby said. “I see so much potential here … It is our charge as fraternity men and sorority women to enhance our organizations in our community.”