Greek life has become a prominent community on campus in recent years. The University of Tampa consists of more than 7,600 students and about 18 percent of them are affiliated with sororities and fraternities, which is a number that is rapidly growing. There are eight fraternities and six sororities currently on campus. Our Student Government President Kristin Anderson is a member of Greek life, as well as 50 percent of the student leaders on campus, but Greek Life originally wasn’t this big.
Sororities and fraternities graced UT’s campus in the mid-50s. Alpha Chi Omega, Delta Zeta, Zeta Tau Alpha, Pi Kappa Phi, Rho Nu Delta, Sigma Sigma Sigma, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Tau Kappa Epsilon were the three sororities and five fraternities on campus. Today, some of those organizations are no longer active while other chapters that weren’t there before have thrived.
During recruitment Fall 2014 fraternities and sororities prepared for the biggest recruitment week they would have in history with more than 500 women going through Panhellenic recruitment.
“Seeing an influx of women here at UT interested in sorority recruitment has been such a rewarding experience. I along with the rest of the Greek community treasure all of the benefits being a member of Greek life. To be able to share that message with hundreds of women across campus is amazing,” said Jordan Fink, former executive member of the Panhellenic Conference. “That’s always been my goal since I was given this position, it’s not about getting everyone to go greek. For me it’s all about changing the perception people have and opening their eyes to how our organizations are facilitating the growth of our future leaders in many key components. Getting students to go greek is the cherry on top.”
In the 50s, greek organizations had a different focus. While each member was involved in other organizations on campus, the fraternity and sorority as a whole focused on throwing homecoming events and socials at their houses, according to copies of The Minaret from 1953. A primary focus for Greek Life today is philanthropy. Each organization raises thousands of dollars annually for their national philanthropy and many others.
“It gives me great pride to know that I am able to be part of something that changes people’s lives,” said Emma Carter, senior international business and marketing major. “Alpha Chi’s national philanthropy is domestic violence awareness and prevention. We go to the Spring of Tampa Bay, the local domestic violence shelter, and help out the families. I love seeing the direct impact that our work has on their lives, and watching them be able to grow and prosper is one of the best feelings.”
Carter also prides herself and the other women of the Panhellenic Conference on breaking through the stereotypes that society has labeled them with.
“It also helps to fight the stereotypes that sorority women are shallow and/or selfish. The philanthropy work that we do actively fights this stereotype as there are few things more selfless than volunteering”
Now, in Fall 2016 the University of Tampa is expanding the Panhellenic Conference by bringing on Sigma Kappa sorority. Members of the Panhellenic Conference feel that adding another sorority allows more opportunities for women to grow and become the best versions of themselves, like Alma Gomez, president of the UT Panhellenic Conference.
“Adding new organizations is always a plus because it adds more variety to our campus which means more students can get involved. Greek life is much more than what people think and to have another great sorority come on will not only benefit the women who join but the community,” Gomez said. “ Sigma Kappa will be another organization that will do great things on this campus such as raise awareness and money for their philanthropies and provide a home for women. A home filled with values such as sisterhood, academics, personal growth, and many more.”