Thursday, Jan. 30, was a night filled with fun, food, fraternities, sororities and new friendships in Harwood Arena as the Spring 2020 Meet the Greeks went underway. This event had entertainment, networking, and performances which blew away the entire audience who came out to enjoy. Whether or not guests were interested in joining Greek Life or not, Meet the Greeks was the place to be at.
Meet the Greeks is an event held every semester and is one of the biggest events hosted by the Greek Senate for interested students to get a glimpse of what it is like to be a member of a Greek letter organization. Many members of Kean's recognized Greek organizations came out to represent themselves, with some putting on performances that were both memorable and engaging. Current students, alumni and members of the Kean community as well as guests came out and joined in on the festivities.
Kean University is home to 15 fraternities, 15 sororities, and 1 co-ed organization who each have something to offer students depending on what they are interested in and their own values. Tables were set up against the walls of the Harwood Arena decorated with the different organizations' colors and themes. Each organization's table was decked out with their individual group decorations and some even hosted activities to engage prospective members.
President of Nu Delta Pi, Justin Brown, says, "My experience has been really great. When I joined the fraternity, I actually gained more confidence with my public speaking. By joining a fraternity, my leadership skills have increased and I'm able to plan more so it actually helped me to grow more as a leader and as a person."
If one chooses to join an organization, members are granted new and welcoming abilities that increases their leadership skills and networking opportunities which are just some of the many benefits that can be gained. Lorena Arias, new member educator of Omega Sigma Psi reflected on how becoming a sister of her organization helped develop those leadership qualities since crossing back in Fall 2017.
"Coming in as a transfer, it was really beneficial to me. I got to meet so many people definitely expanding my networking opportunities, my time management improved which improved my grades as well. My leadership skills have also increased too while in Omega Sigma Psi. It's not only a sisterhood- it's a business. You take on leadership positions that really help shape your experience for the real world which is something I gained when I crossed and it has definitely improved my leadership skills," said Arias.
Arias also continued with bringing up a stigma that students may have upon first thought about Greek Life. "I think there is a stigma about Greek Life which makes people not want to join. They think about hazing, partying and not focusing on school. We always put education first and always make sure that our sisters have the required GPA's. For those who are interested, I definitely encourage coming out to informational sessions because it's not just about parties and what's in the movies. We do a lot of philanthropy work and it really prepares you for the real world," said Arias.
When coming to college as either a freshman, a transfer student, or even a student who has decided later on in their college career to potentially join Greek life, many wonder if Greek life is really for them.
Junior, Michael Lopez, vice president of Nu Sigma Phi states, "After joining Greek life, it completely changed me. Right after I joined, it's like a whole new world opened so many doors for me and opportunities. It has changed my whole personality and I'm more outgoing because of it."
Greek life is about forming bonds, creating leadership and establishing future networking opportunities that will last a lifetime while supporting each regardless of circumstance. It's purpose is to empower members to promote and preserve the ideals of scholarship, service, leadership, campus involvement and brotherhood/sisterhood.
Shayleen Mazuelos, secretary of Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Inc. explained how her organization helped motivate her to kick-start the online skin-care business she had always wanted to start and which now has all the support she needs from her sisters and loved ones.
"I've always had the idea since I was very young but my sorority sisters really pushed me to start it and I said why not? I had a support system that was willing to put themselves on the line for me and help me follow my dreams; especially sisters who already have experience running businesses that started small and grew overtime. They showed me everything I needed to know and I was really grateful for it," said Mazuelos.
Mazuelos then went on to describe how joining Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority Inc. has been nothing but a positive game changer for her, saying that becoming part of her organization or any one in general is more than just an extended family. Mazuelos encourages those students who are interested in joining Greek life to find their tribe and who they feel comfortable with the most because it will become a great investment.
"I have been honored to be around so many great female role models who do nothing but empower me and help me with whatever I need whether it comes to either school, my business, or anything else. It's not so much they have become my extended family, it is my family. Greek life is not for everyone but I encourage interested students to look around, find your tribe and not listen to what's in the media because it is not what you see and make sure you are around the right people when making your decision," said Mazuelos.
After several hours of networking, socializing and listening to all the beats provided by DJ Nix in the Mix, the bleachers were set up so students could sit down to witness performances and speeches from the various Greek organizations. Before these speeches and performances started however, a dance battle commenced where a few students, whether they were Greek or not, got a chance to showcase their musical moves to a set of Jersey club music with the winner received $50 cash.
The audience then got to hear speeches from organizations which were followed by stepping and strolling. Spectators were captivated by so many of the performances they had seen which energized them while inspiring them to become a part of Greek Life.
Overall, attendees who came out for this semester's Meet the Greeks were impressed with the visual appeal, the thought provoking speeches and the ability of Kean to offer a diverse variety of organizations to potentially become a part of. Stephanie Huaman, a sophomore at Kean described how Meet the Greeks is persuading her to potentially join a sorority.
"Before coming to Kean I wasn't really educated in what Greek life was until I got more involved and did my research. After coming to Meet the Greeks, I think it is a very social environment. I really love how energetic everyone is. It is another aspect I really want to add in my life." said Huaman
Tasha Dowbachuk, a junior studying journalism who attended Meet the Greeks in the past felt a little more comfortable this time around speaking to all of the sororities and really enjoyed how all of the organizations showcased their pride for their philanthropies.
"The first time I came to Meet the Greeks I was incredibly anxious to see so many people in their letters hoping to hold so much pride within themselves and the people around them. I was then inspired to pursue my own journey within knowing and loving myself in order to join those types of people who have such a strong sense of self. I feel as though the phenomenon that is happening within Meet the Greeks of building those bonds amazing," said Dowbachuk.
This semester's Meet the Greeks officially kicks off the new member recruitment season for future brothers and sisters. For more information on how to join Greek life, please check out Greek Senate on Cougar Link as well as email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (908) 737-5170 for any further questions. Make sure to check out the official Kean University Greek Life page and be sure to also attend upcoming recruiting events and information sessions offered by each organization as well as get to know other members in order to really get your Greek on.