Summer 2018 — Going to college, for many, means leaving one home and gaining another. But the stresses of being a new student at a large school can sometimes feel overwhelming. For many students, finding a niche can be a daunting task, but the immediate sense of belonging provided by fraternities and sororities makes it a lot easier. Greek life is a fast track to campus involvement, personal development, community service and lasting relationships. More than 3,000 students have already found their “home away from home” through the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life (CFSL). And with 46 diverse chapters, there’s a good fit for every student, no matter who they are.
Each chapter falls into one of five councils: the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), the Panhellenic Council (PHC), the Unified Greek Council (UGC) or the Collective Greek Council (CGC). These councils serve to uphold fraternity and sorority values, foster community within chapters, provide student support and organize events both social and philanthropic.
McKenna Moore, a senior fine arts major, is president of the Panhellenic Council. She’s been a member of Kappa Alpha Theta since her first year on campus and she’s “loved every part of it.” Both as a member and as PHC president, she’s made diverse, lasting connections with people she wouldn’t have been able to otherwise and “it’s really broadened (her) sense of community.”
Her experiences have taught her that “community isn’t necessarily a place where people come together, but who comes together.” The place is important, but it’s the people who really count. For instance, she cherishes the time she and members from other councils attended the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values conference in Indiana. While they were out of their element with “early flights, early airport hours and late nights at the hotel,” they built strong bonds during the course of the trip.
This sense of universal community, McKenna thinks, is due to fraternity and sorority values. “Even though each chapter has a set of values specific to their organization, we’re a community because we’re built on those values and respect them,” she says.
Angela Nguyen, president of the Collective Greek Council, seconds the rewarding and intimate Greek community, citing its “support, inclusion and friendship.” In her CFSL involvement, she’s discovered “a circle of individuals who share a common interest focusing on the betterment of other students and Corvallis.”
A future lawyer, Angela has especially valued the ways in which Greek involvement has aided her personal and professional growth. It’s “created new networks for me and new experiences that I will be able to apply to my post grad experience,” she says. “I feel much more prepared to organize meetings, interpret and understand constitutions, network, and even lead with empathy.”
This growth has given new meaning to her classroom experience too, combining with the knowledge and perspective gained in her political science classes to “help [her] grow so much as a scholar and as a person.”
Both council presidents know that their CFSL involvement has enhanced and defined their college experiences. Looking back, McKenna Moore now knows that participation in Greek life “has made [her] a more confident and better person in all aspects of [her] life.” The “open, supportive community” along with the support and resources provided by CFSL staff have prepared her to enter post-college life with thoughtfulness and self-assurance.
Likewise, thanks to CFSL, Angela Nguyen now feels prepared and confident to take on her post-graduation challenges. “Being president of CGC has provided me with valuable leadership skills that are applicable to my future career and everyday life,” she says. “It has truly helped me understand my weaknesses so that I am able to make them my strengths.”
Moore and Nguyen agree that their Greek involvement has had a powerful influence on their positive college experience, while also preparing them for their future careers. Between the Interfraternity Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Panhellenic Council, the Unified Greek Council and the Collective Greek Council (CGC), there are plenty of opportunities for students to discover community and build relationships. To find out more, visit the CFSL website or stop by SEC 306.