Home to 14 sororities, 15 fraternities and one co-educational congregation, Kean provides a diverse lineup of Greek organizations to satisfy the personal identities and interests of anyone looking to immerse themselves in the pursuits of brotherhood or sisterhood, leadership, scholarship and service. In order to allow all interested students to familiarize themselves with the members and missions of each individual organization, the Center for Leadership and Service hosted its Meet the Greeks event Jan. 31 in Harwood Arena.
Meet the Greeks, which took place from 5 to 10 p.m., is a biannual event attended by Greek students, non-Greek students and alumni alike. This tradition serves as the largest recruitment opportunity of each semester for every fraternity and sorority, as well as a chance for attendees to participate in a school-wide and generation-bridging social experience.
Many current Greek students have cited attending Meet the Greeks as the push that inspired them to join Greek life in the first place; therefore, they aimed to find new brothers and sisters in the same way.
“We want to recruit as much as possible. A lot of us are graduating so we want to boost our numbers and hopefully find quality girls,” senior Nu Theta Chi sister Nicole Diefenbacher said.
Even if one chooses not to join a fraternity or sorority afterwards, many still see it as a beneficial exercise in making connections and experiencing diversity.
“Coming to Meet the Greeks is a great networking experience. You’re seeing so many different social circles, and you’re being exposed to different types of people and different cultures and everything,” sophomore and second Vice President of Sigma Beta Tau Storm Feliciano said.
Each organization was allowed to man its own table in order to centralize the group of members and give others a specific spot to approach. Many decorated their section with large cutouts of their personal Greek letters, photo opportunities and information regarding their organization. Some even employed certain themes, such as Delta Phi Epsilon’s rock and roll decor, Omega Sigma Psi’s Great Gatsby adornments and Sigma Beta Chi’s Wizard of Oz design.
Meet the Greeks veteran DJ Nix scored the night with popular music while students were given the chance to walk around to view each of these tables and interact with the members. A prominent reason for non-Greek students choosing to attend was their interest in eventually becoming Greek.
“I came because one of the sororities I want to be in is here, and also the way I can connect with other students is cool,” senior Joy Clarke said.
Clarke noted that one of her main motivations behind seeking to join Greek life was the platform it could give her to speak about certain issues that in the past haven’t been in the forefront.
“I would join Greek life for the service and to better the community, which I want to be a part of. I think that what I can bring to the table is shedding light on things that are not necessarily talked about,” Clarke said. “I work with mental disabilities and I want to shed light on other disabilities that are not shown like autism [and] Down syndrome and [talk about] how they affect our urban communities, so we’re not stigmatized to one idea of it because there are so many other aspects.”
Students also attended with less direct goals in mind and chose simply to socialize and enjoy excitement of the event’s atmosphere.
“Honestly, I just wanted to check things out. I didn’t know what to expect at all because it’s my first time here. I just wanted to see which organizations jumped out to me,” sophomore Justin Kanski said.
After a few hours of giving the Greeks and students the chance to simply mingle and interact, the Greek Senate took the stage to welcome the crowd and introduce themselves. Greek Senate President Victor Benlice then took over to begin calling up Greek organizations for their introductions. These introductions gave the sororities and fraternities a chance to tell the crowd important details about their organizations.
Some used this moment to list their demographics, size, colors and mascot, while others went further to state their personal philosophies and mission as a group.
Organizations also used the stage to give performances before the crowd and showcase their strolls, a tradition within the Greek community designed to promote solidarity and strength.
“Our purpose for stepping and strolling being a local organization is about unity. Since the days that we’ve been founded, we have become so much more diverse and all of the girls love expressing their love for our sorority and that’s what strolling for us is about. It’s about coming together. It’s about each of us learning something that we probably never thought that we’d do,” Greek Senate Secretary and Omega Sigma Psi sister Tiffany Osoria said.
Additionally, there were also opportunities for non-Greek students to take part in events of their own. These events included a dance contest and an Instagram challenge in which participants could win prizes for following the @keangreeks page and posting a picture with a specific set of tags and hashtags.
Former Kean student and current Rutgers undergrad Athena Xipolias took the stage late during the night to announce a T-shirt sale and a GoFundMe campaign she had started for her boyfriend Anthony Lamotta. A Kean student and brother of the Sigma Beta Tau fraternity, Lamotta was recently diagnosed with stage three metastatic malignant melanoma.
The t-shirts were created in collaboration with Hold On, Pray Everyday, a self-titled lifestyle brand that will donate all of the proceeds from the t-shirt sale directly to Lamotta. The GoFundMe campaign, titled #LAMOTTASTRONG, aims to raise $15,000 in total and has already received over $1700 in donations. Xipolias also announced that a portion of the funds will be directed towards cancer research.
While Meet the Greeks has the primary purpose of facilitating interaction between the Greek and non-Greek students, the night also served as a platform to raise money for the annual Kean Dance Marathon (KDM). According to Assistant Director for Greek Affairs Alex Louis, this specific night alone raised over $3500, which will eventually be donated along with all other KDM proceeds to benefit the Children’s Specialized Hospital.
This was the last Meet the Greeks of the 2018-2019 school year. However, the event will make its return in the following fall semester. In the meantime, interested students can seek out more information by visiting the individual pages of the sororities and fraternities on Cougar Link, the Greek Life section of the Center for Leadership and Service page on the Kean website.