When Andrea Contreras started her college career at Marquette University, she was sure of one thing: she wouldn’t join a sorority.
Now just four years later, the senior in the College of Arts & Sciences is the president of Marquette University’s Panhellenic Association — the governing body for the university’s social sororities — and is working to change the way students see Greek life on campus.
“I went from not being interested in the organization to running it which has been a very interesting experience,” Contreras said. During her first year, Contreras signed up for sorority recruitment with her then-roommate who didn’t want to go through the process alone.
With the experience of living in the Kappa Delta sisterhood, Contreras and Nick Orihuela, president of the Interfraternity Council and member of Delta Chi fraternity, are looking to build stronger ties between Greek life on campus, the Marquette community and the city of Milwaukee as a whole.
“We’re trying to change the culture and perception of Greek life specifically at Marquette to be more positive for when (first years) come onto campus (so when) they see us they’re just not thinking of those stereotypes,” Orihuela, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.
“I think for the most part people just watch movies and see party animals and ditzy women who don’t have any ambitions, which couldn’t be farther from the truth,” Contreras said. “What people don’t really see is all the work that we do… we’re not only focusing on our social events but prioritizing academics and raising our GPAs.”
Orihuela said that the stereotypes that most people think of when it comes to Greek life are not the true reality of the experiences that members of fraternities and sororities at Marquette have.
“You get more of the Marquette culture incorporated,” Orihuela said. “At state schools it’s like Greek life versus the school; versus here it’s like Greek life is a part of the school, and we are here to help enhance the community.”