Beginning of the Greeks



By Natalie Garcia, CONTRIBUTOR

The evolution and contribution Greek Life has had on scholars.
The conversation around Greek life has always been polarizing. Through films like “Neighbors” and “Animal House”, the public opinion of Greek organizations hasn’t changed. To outsiders, Greek life has only consisted of binge drinking, humiliating tasks for pledges, and a complete disregard for their education. However, actual Greek life consists of much more than films and television portrays.
Greek Fraternities and Sororities have contributed to the history of collegiate campuses and its scholars with the increasing number of multicultural organizations increasing during the 1970’s.
Since 1972, Greek letter organizations have been established at California State University, East Bay with hopes to grant diverse groups of individuals the opportunity to improve their social networking skills.
Dating back to the 18th century, Greek organizations have been created with the intention of creating well-rounded individuals with instilled values to serve and progress towards the creation of a better society.
CSUEB has 26 Greek organizations here on campus. This includes National Pan-Hellenic Council that governs all historically African-American fraternal organizations which are; Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Iota Phi Theta. The two sororities that are part of the Panhellenic Association on CSUEB’s campus; Alpha Phi and Sigma Sigma Sigma. The remaining 15 greek organizations are established as local chapters in the city of Hayward.
The initial premise of Greek organizations was aimed at creating a source of community for individuals with common interest within their core values. The Phi Beta Kappa Society, founded on Dec. 5, 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, was the first established greek organization in North America. It served as a student group that pursued scholar values and prioritized building positive networking relationships to benefit their future careers.
Racial discrimination affected many scholars of color in the early 1800s. The first Black intercollegiate fraternity and the first to have more than one college chapter, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, was established at Cornell University in December 1906.
“Our founders had to build up an enormous amount of courage to create these organizations and build unity within the black community,” said Di’Mario Navas, president of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated; Nu Sigma chapter. “They paved the way and experienced an enormous amount of discrimination to get us to where we are today.”
Greek life in America has spread to scholars all over the world and it expands resources amongst members in aspects of service events, networking resources, educational assistance and carrying on rituals based on the foundations of their organization. It brings individuals seeking to be a part of a support team that cherishes and shares the same passions amongst each other. Greek life is intended to build their members to scholarly success and advance them towards accomplishing goals and leave a legacy for their future brothers and sisters to withhold and carry forth.
“Greek life has a huge impact on campus life creating an atmosphere where people can have fun participating in study nights, community service and parties. Every organization consists of people from different walks of life and create families with a common purpose to make an impact on their community” Navas explains.
Considering that some of the most famous leaders were apart of greek organizations, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and Condoleezza Rice: National Security Advisor during George W. Bush’s first term, it demonstrates what these groups offer for members. With the expansion of Greek Life on collegiate levels, members will continue to exemplify integrity, unity, and support amongst communities they partake in throughout their lifetime.