It's All Greek to Me: UCI's Greek Life
I remember walking down Ring Road on my first day at UCI and seeing all of the fraternities and sororities on both sides, swinging their letters proudly and shouting to come visit their booth and talk to them. I was interested, but then just as quickly thought to myself, “You probably wouldn’t fit in” along with other doubts as I continued walking without giving the booths another glance.
That exact memory was brought back to me again six quarters later, as I stood with my newly pledged sisters and officially became a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
For some students, Greek Life is, quite literally, their life. Being a part of a sorority or a fraternity is one of the many ways to shape and enhance your college experience and can open the doors to an endless amount of lifelong friends, connections and memorable moments. It is understandable, however, to have doubts or questions as to whether UCI Greek Life is for you. Many people come into college thinking they know exactly what Greek Life is about, but a lot of time, it can surprise you. In this blog post, I’ll be answering some of the basic questions that students can have about Greek Life at UCI which are hopefully some of your own.
Q: What is Greek Life?
A: Greek Life is a campuswide community of sorority and fraternity organizations that aim to provide students with social and academic support throughout their college years. Each sorority and fraternity has their own set of traditions, values and philanthropy that help shape its organization and the kinds of activities that happen within them.
College movies tend to portray Greek Life as only partying and beer pong, and although that is a piece of it, Greek Life is much more than that. Many of the Greek orgs have a stress on academic achievement and have a minimum GPA in order to remain a member of the chapter. Also, each chapter is known for its philanthropy or cause that they support, and many of the events and mixers that are thrown are to help raise money to donate to various charities. The social aspect of Greek Life is also a large portion since it is essentially where you meet and bond with other members within your own chapter and others! Fraternities and sororities host plenty of formals, parties and mixers throughout the school year and they are the perfect chances to meet new people, network and make the transition into college easier.
Q: How do I join?
A: In order to join a Greek chapter, one must go through the process of “rushing,” which is basically a period of time where you get to visit all the various chapters and get a feel for which sorority or fraternity is right for you. Fall recruitment at UCI takes place during Week 0 of Fall quarter and lasts a week long. During that week, students visit the different Greek houses and get to know the members and the values of each chapter to make the decision of whether or not they would like to pledge. Simultaneously, the chapter is also getting to know you and at the end of the week, can decide to extend you a bid (like an invitation) to officially pledge (join) their chapter. If you accept, then congratulations! You’re then onto the pledging process and are one step closer to becoming initiated into your chapter.
In the case that you decide to not participate in Fall Rush and later change your mind, don’t worry! All Greek orgs rush during the Fall and a handful also recruit during Winter and Spring quarter. And there’s always next year!
If you’re interested in recruitment, click here for more information!
Q: How much does Greek Life cost? What are dues?
A: When you join a Greek org, you also take on some financial responsibility - the biggest responsibility being dues. Dues are a quarterly payment that each member makes to the chapter in order to keep it up and running. How much are dues, you ask? Unfortunately, I can’t give you a concrete answer to this one. Truly, each chapter has their own price for dues that you will learn upon pledging and they can range from a few hundred or more, depending on the chapter’s expenses. If you are committed to joining Greek Life, it’s important that you know your dues and have a plan on how to pay for them. There’s also other fees that come up throughout the year as well, so keep that in mind.
One of the cool things though is that many chapters provide payment plans to help manage your dues. My payment plan splits my dues in half so that I pay one portion in the beginning of the quarter and have the rest of the time to pay off the other half. It makes dues much more manageable!
Q: What if Greek Life isn’t for me?
A: You’re interested, you rush and discover halfway through that Greek Life isn’t as appealing as you thought it would be. If this happens to you, it is perfectly okay! Everybody is unique and is searching for what will make them the most comfortable at UCI and if Greek Life isn’t it, then don’t force it. Why devote time and money into something that you won’t fully enjoy? UCI has over 600 clubs and organizations that you can get involved in, so don’t feel like Greek Life is the only way to meet new people or branch out. There’s so many ways to make UCI feel like home and I encourage you to search for it, take risks and get out of your comfort zone in your college years.
I had no clue on my first day at UCI that I would later join a sorority, or even do any of the activities that I’m involved in now. Greek Life or not, it’s all about where you find yourself the most comfortable, happy and belonging.