By Kelsey Pinault // Contributing News Writer
The classic American frat-boy stereotype reigns supreme in the minds of many skeptics of Greek life. Critics assert that fraternities and sororities prioritize drinking and social-endeavors before academics and their careers.
However, GAMMA, a student organization at the University of Miami, is working to break this conceptual mold.
As a branch under Pier 21, the school’s umbrella organization for alcohol and drug education, Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol (GAMMA) focuses on informing students among the Greek community about many questions faced in college, from alcohol and drug consumption to topics such as safe sex and health.
“Our goal for GAMMA is to educate the Greek community to make more responsible decisions in all aspects of their lives, not just in regards to alcohol,” said junior Meredith Reilly, Panhellenic Co-Chair.
Of the two co-chairs heading the organization, one must be a member of a fraternity under the Interfraternity Council, while the other must be a sorority member under the Panhellenic Association
IFC Co-chairman Patrick Nealon, of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, could not be reached for comment.
Because GAMMA’s main purpose is to make a difference in the college lives of students among the Greek community, any fraternity or sorority member is welcome to the meetings held every other week on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in the Lewis Room of the Rathskeller. Although the main focus of GAMMA is alcohol and drug awareness meeting topics have varied from finals stress, study drugs, health and wellness, and hazing, said Reilly
“A big deciding factor in why I starting going to GAMMA meetings was seeing how people act in college and how uneducated some of them can be,” said sophomore Marissa Rose, a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, who has attended almost all of the GAMMA meetings starting two semesters ago.
Rose was one of hundreds who attended the New Member Symposium last year, a mandatory program for all new members in fraternities and sororities held to educate the students on what to expect out of Greek Life. Similar to last year, this years Symposium will feature sessions by GAMMA focusing on alcohol responsibility, scheduled for Sunday Feb. 28.
“I feel like the workshops really taught me what to expect when joining a sorority and showed me where all the red flags are,” said Rose.
Another big event that GAMMA takes part in is Safe Spring Break Week, which will be held in the first week of March.
“We’re hoping it will be a really big event this year because it’s during Greek Week which a lot of Greek organizations participate in, so the Greek Week committee is giving extra points to the groups that go and participate in some events,” said sophomore Gabi Vigoeaux, public relations representative of GAMMA.
The weeklong spring break event themed “I’m in Miami, Beach” will have events every day. GAMMA is in charge of is a pool party at the UC pool on Friday, March 5.
All students, Greek or not, are welcome to those events.