Danny Jonas, the Interfraternity Council president, talks about Greek life at MU. He is a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
Q. What does it mean to be Greek at Mizzou?
Alpha Epsilon Pi
Alpha Gamma Rho
Alpha Gamma Sigma
Alpha Kappa Lambda
Beta Sigma Psi
Beta Theta Pi
Delta Sigma Phi
Delta Tau Delta
Lambda Chi Alpha
Phi Delta Theta
Phi Kappa Psi
Phi Kappa Theta
Pi Kappa Alpha
Pi Kappa Phi
Sigma Phi Epsilon
Sigma Tau Gamma
Tau Kappa Epsilon
Zeta Beta Tau
National Pan-Hellenic Council
Alpha Phi Alpha
Alpha Kappa Alpha
Delta Sigma Theta
Kappa Alpha Psi
Omega Psi Phi
Zeta Phi Beta
Alpha Chi Omega
Alpha Delta Pi
Delta Delta Delta
Gamma Phi Beta
Kappa Alpha Theta
Kappa Kappa Gamma
Pi Beta Phi
Sigma Sigma Sigma
Zeta Tau Alpha
Multicultural Greek Council
Alpha Phi Gamma
Sigma Lambda Gamma
A. From the outside, looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it.
Basically what it comes down to is that we’re all social organizations that focus on the interaction between fraternities and sororities.
The Greek message is about creating a service-oriented mindset about helping the community, developing your people skills, and creating great friendships that last a lifetime.
Q. How does the recruitment process work?
A. Mizzou has two types of recruitment — formal and informal. Formal recruitment is a three-day process that took place a few weekends ago (June 25-27).
It’s generally meant for people who live out of state and don’t know that many contacts at MU.
This year, we had about 120 guys go through that process. Fourteen have already signed with chapters. The other 700 guys that end up pledging in the fall go through informal recruitment.
Informal recruitment is when incoming freshmen (or other interested students) contact one of the fraternities that interests them to arrange a hang-out.
The recruitment chairman will take them out to a baseball game or golf outing, just to give them more information about their particular chapter and what they’re all about.
There’s no set way of doing it. It varies from each of the 28 fraternities. Unlike sororities, you can join a fraternity all year round. It’s never too late.
Q. What can incoming freshmen expect to achieve academically by joining a fraternity?
A. The all-fraternity GPA (2.982 as of spring 2009) is actually higher than the all-male GPA (2.905) at Mizzou.
It’s been that way for the past six semesters because of the older guidance in the chapter houses.
The guys who’ve been at college for a year or two know how teachers test, what classes to take, what classes not to take, and time management skills.
I got my best grades when I pledged as a freshman because of that guidance. It helped me learn what I was capable of. It helped me push my limits.
If I found something that was out of my comfort zone, I did it and I liked it. I had a very supportive family back home and I think the fraternity served as that support system.
There were people who were proud of me if I did something well, or if I was down, there were people to bring me back up.
We are a social organization. Parties certainly do happen. There’s always going to be someone to go party with. But at the same time, there’s always going to be someone to go pull an all-nighter studying with, too.
Q. What would you say to parents who are perhaps a little apprehensive about their son joining a fraternity?
A. We’ve been pretty fortunate on campus. We haven’t had the same kind of problems that we’ve seen nationally with our Greek system.
It’s mostly because Mizzou is a dry campus (no alcohol), so freshmen are allowed to live in the chapter houses and learn from the older guys.
What the Greek system did for me was that it shrunk the community down from 4,000 freshmen to 100 to 150 guys who valued the same things.
I was anti-Greek when I first came to campus, but I ended up joining a fraternity because it was a way to hold myself accountable.
I lived with my parents until I was 18 years old. Then I came here and I was on my own. But there was that older guidance that showed me the steps to succeed in college.
Julie Drury, 27, coordinator of Greek Life at MU, explains the process of joining a sorority. She is a member of Sigma Kappa.
Q. What does it mean to be part of a sorority at Mizzou?
A. It means a lot of things. For one, it allows you to affiliate with a group of women in an organization that has similar values to you. As a Greek community, our four values are scholarship, leadership, service and brotherhood/sisterhood.
It also cuts the Mizzou community down to a smaller size. Whether students are out-of-state, out-of-country, or even local residents from Columbia, it creates that home away from home.
Being part of a sorority can also bring leadership opportunities to students both on and off campus.
We’ve had students over the past couple of years that have served on a national committee in Washington, D.C. These students were able to go and lobby Congress during springtime.
Q. How does the recruitment process work for sororities?
A. The majority of our sororities participate in formal recruitment. This takes places a week before classes start (Aug. 17-22).
The week begins with a social. It’s here that the 1,200 girls can meet and greet the women from all 14 chapters.
Formal recruitment (or rush) is a mutual selection process. After the first social, the girls will write down which sororities they really liked, and the sororities write down which girls they enjoyed meeting.
Everyone’s selections are then processed and matched up for the next round. As socials go on throughout the week, the number of selections is narrowed down from 10 in the second round, to six, then three.
By the final round, the socials get a little more serious, a little more emotional. The sorority leaders will talk to the girls specifically about what the sisterhood means to the women in the organization and why it’s so special.
At the end of the night, we do what’s called “preferencing” or “bid matching." This is when everyone’s final selections are processed in order of preference from one to three.
The next morning on Bid Day (Aug. 22), the girls will hopefully receive a bid from one of the sororities on their list.
Q. What kind of academic requirements has Mizzou placed on Greek students?
A. From the university perspective, there aren’t a lot of requirements. I know the university does have certain GPA requirements for the leaders of each chapter.
The majority of academic regulation comes national organizations. Every person who joins a Greek-letter organization must meet a certain GPA in order to be initiated. They must maintain a set GPA in order to retain their membership status.
The exact GPA figure varies from chapter to chapter. A lot of people don’t realize that the all-sorority GPA (3.271 as of Spring 2009) is actually higher than the all-female GPA (3.171).
The same goes for the all-Greek GPA (3.147) and all-university GPA (3.043).
Q. If you could hand one piece of advice to incoming freshmen interested in joining a sorority, what would it be?
A. I think the biggest thing is just to be yourself and have a good time with it. Keep an open mind.
What I have seen over time are women who rush with a preconceived notion of “I want to be in that sorority; that’s the one for me” or “I don’t want any part of that.”
I think that’s where people end up having their feelings hurt or not having the experience that they thought they would.
Joining a sorority is a lifetime commitment, not just a club for four years.
For more information on Mizzou Greek life, or to apply for a Greek-letter organization, go to mugreeklife.com.
By the numbers
• 4 – All but four U.S. presidents in the last century were fraternity men.
• 6 – semesters in a row that the all-Greek male GPA has been higher than the all-male GPA.
• 22 – percentage of Mizzou students who are Greek.
• 43 – number of fraternity men who head 43 of the nation’s 50 largest corporations.
• 63 – percentage of U.S. president’s cabinet members since 1900 who were Greek.
• 76 – percentage of U.S. congressman who are Greek.
• 85 – percentage of Fortune 500 executives who are Greek.
• 800 – campuses involved in the Greek system in the U.S. and Canada.
• 12,000 – chapters in the U.S. and Canada.
• 750,000 – Undergraduate Greek members in the U.S. and Canada.
• 9 million – Greek students/alumni in the U.S. and Canada.
• $10 million – Amount raised for charities each year.
Source: Office of Greek life, MU