On any given day, there are students sporting sweatshirts, T-shirts and baseball caps embroidered with letters, strolling to classes in the quad. There are tables full of young women set up in Royal Hall raising money, or promoting awareness for charities, and there are students hosting philanthropy events all over campus.
These are the students of UMKC Greek Life. On the Panhellenic Council, there are four sororities—Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Chi Omega and Delta Zeta. There are four fraternities within the Inter Fraternity Council, as well—Beta Theta Pi, Delta Lambda, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Phi Epsilon.
There is also a National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) at UMKC. The NPHC organization includes three sororities—Delta Sigma Theta, Seta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho—and four fraternities, Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Beta Sigma, Omega Psi Phi and Kappa Alpha Si. They are all unique in their means of recruiting new members, and are historically African American.
To become involved in the Greek community, students must go through a recruitment process.
“Formal recruitment involves all four sororities, has more specific rules and involves dressing professionally. It is also a designated weekend every year,” said junior Kara Lewis. “Informal recruitment happens throughout the semester and is more relaxed— women are welcome to come as they are as far as clothing, and the activities are usually a little more unique, such as bubble soccer and hot chocolate nights.”
Lewis is a second-year member of the Alpha Sigma Alpha chapter; she became interested in Greek life after getting involved in several other campus organizations. She saw a high level of leadership, achievement and dedication from the sorority women in every group she joined.
“It made me want to have that kind of community and enhance my involvement and leadership,” said Lewis.
Because of the high level of academic achievement, community service, philanthropy events, leadership and campus involvement; fraternity men and sorority women create a sense of community that many students have difficulty finding at UMKC. According to recent graduate and Chi Omega alumnus, Fanny Herrera, this was her primary reason for becoming involved with Greek life.
“UMKC is a huge commuter school; I knew it would be especially hard to meet new people since campus involvement is not as big as it is at other schools,” said Herrera. “Greek life gave me the opportunity to involve myself on campus and that brought me the opportunity to meet new people”
Recent press has perpetuated a certain stigma about Greek life that might make some hesitant to join, as problems with substance abuse and sexual harassment have made headlines this past year. However, UMKC abides by strict rules to keep everyone on campus feeling safe, happy and accepted.
“There is a zero-tolerance policy at UMKC on hazing and sexual harassment,” said Herrera. “It is something that is taken very seriously. Due to UMKC being such a smaller school, you get to know the people in your chapter. Therefore, I think UMKC is a unique exception to some of the things that buzz around the media regarding Greek life.”
In addition to top academics, campus involvement and great connections — all fostered in a secure environment — students create lifelong friendships and discover second families in their fraternities and sororities.
“I believe Greek life serves a special purpose because for me personally, it was my home away from home, a family to have nearby,” says Herrera. “I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed college nearly as much as I did because of Greek life.”
Each sorority and fraternity has their own merits and values, students looking to get involved in Greek life at UMKC should visit: http://info.umkc.edu/getinvolved/fsa/