On Wednesday, Sept. 12 in Harwood Arena, the Greek community gathered for this semester's Meet the Greeks event! This was an opportunity for Kean students who might have been interested in joining the campus Greek community. Over 20 Greek organizations consisting of fraternities and sororities alike, all attended and presented their organizations for students to join.
Harwood Arena was decorated with Greek letters of all kinds on the night of Sept. 12. The sisters and brothers of each Greek organization were eager to talk to interested students and show them what they were all about. Each table adorned the different Greek letters that represented groups with traditional symbols and pictures of key events in the organization's history.
Some groups decided to include themes for their tables. The themes correlated with either what the organization stands for or what potentials members could expect. Organizations that opted for themes used decorations and matching uniforms to show their theme and the feel of their organization. Some of the themes were as follows: Delta Phi Epsilon's paradise theme, Sigma Beta Chi's Where the Wild Things Are theme, Theta Phi Alpha with a raceway theme and Nu Theta Chi's women empowerment theme.
Nu Theta Chi's theme stems from their current philanthropy which is women empowerment. "The Future is Female is our philanthropy and we support women by donating women products, hygiene products, brushes, pocketbooks and things of that nature to women's homeless shelters," said Jessica Ansbach, who has been a sister of Nu Theta Chi since spring 2017.
Running from 5 to 10 p.m., Meet the Greeks included performances from over 16 Greek organizations. With music provided by DJ Nix, Meet the Greeks was full of life and inclusion. Students were able to participate in a scavenger hunt filled with questions on different organizations. The only way to find these answers was to explore the room and talk to the representatives from the groups. While students explored the different tables, they were also able to dance to popular party dances with the representatives from the groups they were interested in. Members from non-Greek organizations, Kean students and Greek alumni all attended to enjoy recruitment festivities.
Inclusion is an important part of Greek life and is the reason many students choose to join. Bradford Houlihan, a Kean sophomore and brother of Nu Sigma Phi, said, "When I came to Meet the Greeks in the fall of 2017, the fraternity I ended up joining was one of the only groups to talk to me and I came out to their events throughout that year."
Houlihan continued, "Everyone was really there for each other, and I could see that from all the events I went to [that] they we so close, and I wanted to be a part of that. They have given me close bonds stronger than I have ever had."
Meet the Greeks is the largest recruitment event for Greek life at Kean University. While other events are sponsored individually by organizations, Meet the Greeks is presented from the Greek Senate and the Greek Affairs office for all organizations to present their groups for perspective members. Meet the Greeks exposes students to all sororities and fraternities and has them speak with representatives from these groups to decide which they will continue to pursue if they choose to do so.
"This is my second semester here [at Kean], and I was looking to be more involved, and I think a sorority looks really fun. I came to learn more information on when everything starts and what the recruitment process is," said Samantha Graves, a sophomore here at Kean.
Each organization was able to get on stage and present their fraternity or sorority to the crowd of perspective members. Some chose to introduce the key members of their organization and speak about quick facts and what they can expect from their group as well as everything they value as a group. Others did a combination of speaking on their group and performing strolls and dance performances. Strolling is a routine based performance consisting of written choreography, Greek moves and stepping that promotes Greek organizations.
Some students walk into Meet the Greeks for a specific organization they have heard of, while others come in open-minded toward whichever group captures and aligns with their interests. With over 30 Greek organizations on campus, Kean University encourages students to become involved with Greek life for their dedication to sisterhood and brotherhood as well as the many philanthropy and volunteerism projects. Greek life also provides a strong sense of community within each organization as well as with other organizations on campus.
Kean alum, Matthew Garcia, spoke about how outside of his fraternity, Lambda Upsilon Lambda, you are connected to all the different Greek organizations because you are Greek. Greek life was very beneficial to him during his years at Kean, making him more social and connected to the campus through something that included him. It has also helped Garcia as an alum by connecting him to job opportunities relating to his criminal justice major. He credits Greek life's sense of family regardless of the organization for the constant support and positive energy.
A common theme for Meet the Greeks was the mentioning of family and support systems. Whether through a single organization or through Greek life as a whole, students feel the most connected they can be. Involvement in Greek life gave current and prior Greeks families outside of their own, which is especially helpful for students living away from home for the first time.
"I ultimately joined my sorority because I am a student from out of state, and when I came here I felt alone. I found my home in my sorority, and I felt this way as soon as I first met them. They made me feel like we were family already, without even going through the process," said Clara Miranda, sister of Chi Upsilon Sigma and a Kean sophomore.
No matter your age, Greek organizations are open to new members because these groups transcend college and will be with you for life. The only limitation applies to first semester freshman students, who cannot join a Greek organization until their second semester. It is never too late to become interested.
Rachel Mercado spoke on her interest in Greek life despite being in her third year at Kean. "Even though I am a third year, I think it is a great way to make friends. It's important to expand your social circles and make connections. I want to find a diverse group that really stands for what I stand for."
Students who missed this semester's Meet the Greeks should not worry because next semester they can attend the spring Meet the Greeks. Meet the Greeks occurs each fall and spring semesters and students can attend one or many before deciding. For more information on Greek life at Kean, visit the Greek life web page under the Center for Leadership and Service website.