By Kelcey Norris
Members of sororities and fraternities on campus participated in a major clean-up called Greeks in the Streets March 26, sprucing up streets and highway exit ramps around the university.
Philanthropy is a major focus of Youngstown State University Greek Life, which consists of five active fraternities and six active sororities.
Carrie Anderson, associate director of Student Activities, oversees the 11 active chapters of YSU Greek Life.
“Groundskeeping, of course, keeps our campus so nice on the inside, but as you’re driving in, some of those areas that don’t get covered by our groundskeepers, there’s areas that could be cleaned up,” Anderson said.
Galatiani Lopuchovsky, a sophomore majoring in biology, organized the Greeks in the Streets event. Members of Greek Life donned reflective vests, grabbed garbage bags and spent their weekend picking up litter around campus.
“Greek life members take on leadership opportunities throughout the campus community,” Anderson said. “They’re signing up as orientation leaders for IGNITE and other campus opportunities. When there is something that comes up last minute, or there’s a need in the community, usually you can come right back to this group and get people to drop whatever they’re doing and get involved.”
There are four Panhellenic Association sororities on campus, including Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Xi Delta, Delta Zeta and Zeta Tau Alpha.
In addition to these, there are two National Panhellenic Council sororities, Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta.
All five of the fraternities report to the North American Interfraternity Council, including Alpha Phi Delta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Sigma Tau Gamma and Theta Chi.
One of the major differences between the sororities and fraternities at YSU is housing opportunities. While four of the five fraternities have official dedicated houses, sororities on campus do not have shared housing.
“Each of our sororities and fraternities have a rich history on campus,” Anderson said. “Fraternities govern things a little differently than our sororities … None of the [fraternities’] houses are owned by campus — we don’t own it or rent it to them. We’re not a campus that has those opportunities.”
Four of the five fraternities live in official housing rented to them by previous alumni.
“It’s essentially up to them and their alumni associations,” Anderson said. “Each of these chapters are different. Most of these organizations are renting from someone who lives here on the north side.”
There are regulations on what is and is not qualified as a fraternity or sorority house.
“They have to go through their procedures and process to be able to have a house denoted as a fraternity house. Right now, we only have four chapters of fraternities that have a house. The fifth one – yes it’s brothers who live together, but it’s not an official fraternity house because their national headquarters doesn’t designate it as such,” Anderson said.
Multiple factors impact the disparity between sororities and fraternities housing, including national chapter regulations, cost and lack of availability of residences. It’s up to the National Panhellenic Council to set housing standards for all the sororities.
Zeta Tau Alpha was the last sorority to have housing back in the early 2000s.
“Since then, the National Panhellenic Conference – which is the conference our sororities report to – they have lists of regulations they’ve unanimously agreed upon that they follow. Now, one of them is housing,” Anderson said. “Every few years there’s new rules that their president signs … Basically, what they want is housing for all four chapters currently on the campus, or nobody has a house.”
She said although they don’t have the opportunity for realistic communal housing for everyone now, the sororities are hopeful it can happen one day.
“There are hopes and dreams of someday having housing, so each of our chapters has a housing fund that pays a little towards it,” Anderson said.
For more information on YSU Greek Life, visit its website.