With the beginning of the new semester come students returning from break and looking to get back into activities on campus. One way for young men to do this is to rush one of the 18 fraternities offered at the University of Maine. On the Orono campus, approximately 13 percent of undergraduate students are part of Greek life on campus.
According to the UMaine website, “Fraternities and sororities enhance the quality of student life at the University of Maine. Their commitment to the ideals of the social Greek-letter community promotes and provides for their members academic support, leadership development, avenues in which to develop life-long friendships, and opportunities to participate in service to the community. These community standards and efforts are an important contribution to the excellence of the University of Maine.”
Fraternities run rush events the first several weeks of each semester, including opportunities to visit certain houses and get to know the members. On Friday, Jan. 26, Alpha Gamma Rho hosted a bonfire on their lawn for potential new members.
Live-in advisor Bryan Granito said, “Being in a fraternity is a great way to challenge yourself academically and socially. You give back to the community while holding yourself to higher standards.”
Other events for them include a poker night, burgers and Bruins game, a second bonfire and a Super Bowl event.
Pi Kappa Phi posted to their Instagram account that they have several events throughout the coming weeks including a pizza night, house tours, skating at the Alfond, trivia night, casino night and their annual philanthropy dodgeball tournament at the UMaine campus recreation center on Saturday, Feb. 3.
The UMaine website has a parent resources page, in which the benefits of joining a Greek organization are identified. These benefits include networking opportunities, participation in campus and community events, volunteer service and the ability to create a “family of friends.”
Fraternities focus heavily on their academic standards by having GPA requirements, study halls and other tools to maintain that their members stay in good standing with the university.
Greek organizations participate all over the community in leadership positions, such as in Student Government, the Off Campus Board, Student Orientation Leaders, Resident Advisors and many others. Each fraternity also has national philanthropies as part of their organizations. Each school year, they complete thousands of hours of community service, for example by collecting cans for food drives, working with the Adopt-A-Highway program and organizing blood drives to benefit the Red Cross.
There are financial commitments to make when considering Greek life as well. Each chapter is supported by dues collected from its undergraduate members, and they vary across each organization.
There are numerous resources available online and through each organization. There is a directory for all the fraternities are at UMaine, including links to their national and chapter websites, on the Umaine website.