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More Than Socializing: Greek Life and Philanthropies

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

For most, spring means rainy mornings, flowers blooming, and finishing the school year strong. But for anyone in the Greek community, spring means one thing: philanthropy season. 

A common misconception, spearheaded by Hollywood’s depiction of Greek organizations, is that Greek life is all about socializing. People unfamiliar with real-life Greek organizations may believe it’s all about partying, cliques, and looks. This couldn’t be farther than the truth. While yes, we — like all college students — enjoy going out on a Friday night, Greek life is so much bigger than that. All sororities and fraternities pride themselves on the good they do for the community. 

Fraternities and sororities all have individual philanthropies and charities that they raise money for and participate in. Throughout the year, each organization hosts one or two big events to raise money and awareness for their philanthropy. These events are usually competition style events where all of the organizations put forth a contestant or team to compete. Winners bring their organizations bragging rights, recognition, and usually a pretty nice trophy to display at recruitment tabling. While a few happen in fall quarter, almost all of the large events happen in April and May — hence, philanthropy season. 

This is why you might see some strange occurrences — like girls being pied in the face or men racing in heels — happening on Greek row at Wednesday tabling during Spring quarter. These events are designed to raise money for their philanthropies, get people talking about the main event, and is a fun way to bring the organizations together. Greek life is a very close-knit community and a big part of this is because we are constantly competing in one another’s events. 

As a sorority woman, I can speak from personal experience that we take our philanthropies very seriously. During the formal recruitment process an entire day is dedicated to teaching the potential new members about our individual charities. As a member of Alpha Chi Omega, I know that many of us feel very passionately about our philanthropy, domestic violence awareness. It’s a huge part of who we are and what we value. 

At UCR, for sororities: Alpha Chi Omega – Domestic Violence Awareness; Alpha Delta Pi – Ronald McDonald House; Delta Gamma – Service for Sight; Gamma Phi Beta – Girls on the Run; Kappa Kappa Gamma – Mental Health Awareness; Pi Beta Phi – Read. Lead. Achieve.; and Sigma Kappa – Alzheimer’s Research. For fraternities at UCR: Alpha Epsilon Pi – Israel Cancer Research Fund, Delta Chi – Cancer Research; Delta Tau Delta – Juvenile Diabetes Research; Nu Alpha Kappa – National Marrow Donor Program; Phi Kappa Sigma – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; and Sigma Phi Epsilon – Boys and Girls Club. 

So, despite what the movies say, Greek life is more than parties and having fun. It’s about developing yourself into a well-rounded person. We want people to graduate a better person than they started as. Philanthropies not only teach us how to run big events, work with sponsors, and handle large amounts of money, they teach us to be charitable, to care about global issues, and help spread awareness for such important topics.

Megan Gillam

UC Riverside '24

I am an undergraduate student at the University of California, Riverside. I am a double major in English Literature and Psychology. At UCR, I am a writer for Her Campus magazine, on the executive board of my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and am apart of the Psi Chi honor society. I enjoy writing, reading, horseback riding, hanging out with friends, shopping, cooking, and playing with my dog.