What used to be org fairs, recruitment events, and social get-togethers soon became isolation, zoom calls and online learning for students attending university during the COVID-19 pandemic. With students struggling to make easy in-person connections, many choose to not get involved with their university at all beyond their classrooms.
Now entering what people hope could be a ‘new normal’, some students feel like they have missed their opportunity to get involved or are not sure where to start. For certain students though, Greek life fraternities and sororities are the connection they need to get more involved both with the campus and the community.
“Part of being in college is academics- that’s the number one thing, but I also think being involved in campus is really important,” Kimberly Thornton, Senior Director at the Center for Campus life, said. “In a student organization, we have over 500 organizations and a wide variety at that, and I think it’s important because you get to make memories. You get the experiences of college outside of the classroom.”
Thornton was a member of a sorority during her undergraduate years and has been working with greek life and other student organizations for almost 20 years, she said. Now, she oversees fraternity and sorority life at Tech.
Greek life organizations offer many benefits that look great on a resume such as leadership experience and philanthropic opportunities, but Thornton said one of the biggest aspects she got out of her experience is lifelong friendships.
“The members you meet in any organization to include fraternities and sororities are definitely something you never forget,” Thornton said. “I had the benefit of the sisterhood aspect. My very best friends who were in my sorority still are to this day, my best friends.”
Senior marketing major from Dallas, Fasil Fitta said he became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi in his third year of college in search for the brotherhood aspect of fraternal organizations. Kappa Alpha Psi was founded in 1911 at Indiana University as the first incorporated Black fraternity in the United States.
Fitta said the organization was founded in a time where Black people were heavily oppressed and today it thrives alongside many of the other multicultural greek organizations across the nation.
“I only have one sibling and we have a big age gap. So I definitely wanted to experience a more, you know, family environment slash brotherhood environment around me, as well as just being in a leadership position and being able to be somebody for younger people that I didn’t have,” Fitta said. “I didn’t have male guidance at least in my age group, you know. So I wanted to be the person that I didn’t have for myself.”
Kappa Alpha Psi, like many greek organizations, works with the campus and community in a variety of capacities, he said. This Fraternity works with the Boys and Girls club, hosts food and clothing drives and operates highway clean-ups.