Campus Life, Greek Life, News

Greek life symposium educates new members on how to avoid stereotypes

In an effort to explore and dispel stereotypes about sorority and fraternity members, David Stollman, an alumnus of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, told a joke at the recent Greek Life New Member Symposium to illustrate just how poorly society
views college students involved in Greek life.

“How many sorority girls does it take to screw on a light bulb?” Stollman asked.

“One hundred one,” he said. “One girl to screw it on, and 100 girls to wear a T-shirt showing off the event.”

“The joke was not meant to be funny but rather to challenge the University of Miami’s newest sorority and fraternity members to “buy in” to the true meaning of Greek Life,” said Cristina Luna, dean of the Association of Greek Letters Organization.

“There is much value and benefit in joining a Greek letter organization, and we wanted to prepare our youngest members to understand the standards of excellence set by those who joined before us,” Luna said. The alternative, she said, is “to get out now if you were not committed to living out our values.”

Dispelling stereotypes was not the only focus at the three-hour mandatory symposium, which took place Sunday, Jan. 27 and Monday, Jan. 28, in the Shalala Center. Sponsored by AGLO, the information session reviewed key aspects of Greek
life, including the organizations’ standards, leadership and values. The symposium also emphasized what it means to be a part of the Greek community and taught students the importance of taking pride in their Greek letters.

Freshman Leyla Shapiro, 18, and a new member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, said societal stereotypes about “frat boys” and “sorority girls” is frustrating.

“There is clearly a reason for all these stereotypes, and they keep evolving every year,” said Shapiro, a business major. Shapiro said while stereotypes cannot be abolished, more needs to be done to educate the community about the positive aspects of Greek life.

“Greek Life is more than parties, booze and T-shirts,” Luna said, “This session served as the first commitment to their new journey.”

Ethan Terp, 20, a second-year member of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, said he was glad to see that Luna and other members of the administration had come out to support the new members.

“The fact that our Greek administration here on campus hosts this mandatory event shows how proud they are to be UM Greeks and how important it is to maintain a respectable community,” said Terp, a sophomore biomedical engineering major.

Terp said he supports the idea of making the symposium mandatory for new members.

“It is easy to lose sight of the priorities in Greek life, so it is very important that the new members attend this session and learn about what the Greek community truly values,” Terp said.

January 29, 2019

Reporters

Erica Jones


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