By Tessa Cate
Our quaint, cozy campus is home to students bumbling up and down campus walk, frolicking across Ball Circle in the sunshine and getting down to business in the Hurley Convergence Center. The campus vibe is one of friendliness, where every student is equal to the next and Eagles of different social backgrounds and interests mix flawlessly.
This kind of fluidity can be, in part, attributed to the lack of University-recognized Greek life on our happy little campus. Refusing to allow the school to be dominated by “geeds,” a name derived from the term “GDI” or “God Damn Independent,” and defined by Urban Dictionary as “the non-Greek affiliated members on a college campus,” the town of Fredericksburg is home to two nationally recognized chapters, Kappa Sigma Rho Chi and Psi Upsilon Phi Delta. In addition, the Theta Gamma colony of Alpha Sigma Phi was established during the Fall 2015 semester.
Fraternity brothers can be spotted walking about campus sporting Greek letters; something the rest of the university’s students do not have the ability to partake in.
The question is – what else are they doing? They cannot just walk around in letter-clad packs, discussing the next party they are planning to throw. There has to be more.
Yes, the parties and social opportunities are a huge part of the college experience, as well as the fraternity experience, and should not be skipped over, but there is more to Greek life than booze and blackouts.
On every fraternity’s national website, a clear and concise mission statement can be found. According to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity’s national website, the organization’s mission is to “complement and enhance the educational mission of the host institution,” “promote the ideal of brotherhood,” “actively contribute to the personal growth and development of its members,” “promote ethical behavior and decision making,” and lastly to, “encourage service to others.” These words might be specific to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, but the goals and ideals behind them are not.
The purpose behind the creation of fraternities is to give university men a place to bond with one another, a place to grow on personal, social and academic levels, and a place from which they can work together to better their campus as a team. These common goals unite Greeks despite their difference in letters, but do they unite the Greeks of UMW?
For the fraternities that assemble on our campus to be recognized, not necessarily by the university, but by the student body and themselves as legitimate, they must work towards the mission and exemplify the values promoted by their national organization.
If the fraternities have not fully embraced these ideals and actively worked towards them, past efforts to gain official recognition from the University of Mary Washington can be deemed futile and all future efforts should be put on hold.
The University has no business affiliating itself with fraternities unless their members have a purpose, and hopefully one that benefits the school and greater community.
The brotherhoods of UMW have done work that should not be invalidated, this is purely a Greek call to arms to increase positive Greek presence on campus and in the Fredericksburg community.
This can be anything from teaming up with another campus organization for a service and giving competition to creating a funny lip dub video for all of campus to enjoy. The fraternities can even get the student body involved with the philanthropies and campaigns they are affiliated with on the national level. The ways to make a difference are endless.
The Rho Chi chapter of Kappa Sigma was recently recognized on the Kappa Sigma Fraternity’s national website for aiding local organization Tree Fredericksburg in planting 56 trees and cleaning up a local cemetery.
This kind of community-bettering activity is a great start to upping Greek presence and demonstrating purpose as an organization. Events like this can happen all the time, and why shouldn’t they? These fraternities are filled with intelligent and capable men, hopefully united by similar goals. It is time for them to embrace their mission statements and make some waves.