By, Kathleen Feenan '17, Gael Community Ambassador
We have all seen the typical sorority girl or frat guy in the movies: drinking, partying, and getting into trouble. But I am here to break that stereotype. Joining Iona’s Greek community has opened so many doors for me in academics, leadership, and service. Movies never show what being Greek is really about. They also don’t show the hours Greeks spend planning and organizing philanthropic and service events, the large number of students in honors programs, or the impressive internships and job offers Greek students are offered because of the work they have done with their organizations. These are important aspects of what being in a fraternity or sorority is really all about.
Iona has approximately 300 students in our five sororities (one international) and three fraternities (two national). We also have a Council for Greek Governance (CGG) that serves as the governing body for all Greek organizations and facilitates community expectations and collaboration. CGG has seven pillars of excellence for the Greek community which include: Academic Excellence, Social Development, Membership Development, Community Engagement, Chapter Management, Brotherhood/Sisterhood, and Excellence in Leadership.
Member organizations host a wide array of educational events for the campus community. These events include anti-hazing events and drug and alcohol education events. Just this semester alone three Greek organizations teamed up to host “One Love,” an educational event on the signs, dangers, and ways to get out of an abusive relationship. Greek life participates in other clubs’ events as well, showing a hard-to-miss presence at events such as Relay for Life. In last year’s Relay alone, Gamma Lambda Rho sorority raised almost $12,000 for cancer research. IonaThon is another annual event where Greek life raises money and awareness for the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.
Other organizations have philanthropies as well. Phi Sigma Sigma’s national cause is school and college readiness. Phi Sig holds events such as Lemonade for Literacy where they fundraise for the cause and host a campus wide spelling bee. They also are involved with the Bald Beauties Project and spread the word about this organization, which gives photo shoots to people who lose their hair from battling cancer in an attempt to make them feel beautiful and confident. Phi Gamma Chi sorority is strongly devoted to the fight against AIDS. They hold many fundraisers throughout the year for AIDS and breast cancer research. Delta Theta Beta has two blood drives every year, fundraises for Alzheimer’s, and holds events to remember those who lost their lives to cancer. Delta Upsilon, an international fraternity celebrating its 25th year on Iona’s campus, hosts a campus wide talent show annually, Paint it Pink for Breast Cancer awareness, and fundraises for its philanthropy, the Global Service Initiative.
|Delta Upsilon Fraternity hosts a community clean-up.|
Academically, Iona has a higher standard for students wishing to become members of Greek organizations. Some organizations even have their own, higher academic requirements for sisters and brothers. Because of their focus on academics, service, and leadership, many Greek students get impressive internships and jobs at places like Ernst and Young, Tommy Hilfiger, Reader’s Digest, Entertainment Tonight, and JP Morgan.
Being Greek offers plenty of opportunities for student leadership. Being on the executive board, holding a committee position, or even being a part of an organization with such influence on campus gives these students many leadership roles. In addition, many of these students also pursue involvement in other areas of leadership. I am in a sorority, but I am also the Gael Community Ambassador for Iona’s off-campus student body. There are also Greek members involved as Commuter Assistants, Resident Assistants, and Student Campus Ministers. Several mission trip leaders and retreat leaders are also Greek. Greeks hold executive board positions in clubs and organizations like Colleges Against Cancer, Marketing Club, Environmental Club, Gaelic Society, Iona College Television, and the Gaels Activity Board.