Twice every academic year, hundreds of CU students will go through the process of joining a National Panhellenic Council Greek organization. But there are also various multicultural Greek organizations that some students find to be a better fit.
The structure of Greek life on campus is multifaceted, said Stephanie Baldwin, the university’s Greek life and Panhellenic advisor. There are fully associated members of the NPC, two associate members of the NPC and then various smaller diversity-oriented groups.
According to the university’s Greek Life website, CU’s Greek system has two councils: the Panhellenic Executive Council, for the nine NPC sororities, and the Multicultural Greek Council, for the handful of smaller multicultural organizations.
Established in 2003, the MGC mission includes assisting “diverse sororities and fraternities in the achievement of their noble purposes.” MGC also establishes communication for culturally diverse Greeks by acting as a liaison between these groups and the university administration, according to the website.
Baldwin said the MGC organizations are noticeably different from traditional Greek organizations.
“The groups associated with MGC are distinctly different in that their foundations were created by cultural identity, which is different from the traditional Greek organizations,” Baldwin said.
The activities and philanthropic service of these groups focus on their cultural identity and promoting cultural diversity among Greek organizations, Baldwin said.
The different Greek organizations that MGC governs include an African American, Latino(a) and Asian organization, and Theta Nu Xi, a cross-cultural sorority that does not identify with any one cultural identity, according to the MGC website.
The two sororities that are associate members are Alpha Delta Chi, a Christian interest sorority, and Sigma Rho Lambda, a Jewish interest sorority, Baldwin said.
Jenna Goldberg, an 18-year-old freshman political science major, said she wanted to join Sigma Rho Lambda to become closer with her religion.
“Well, I wanted to join specifically because I wanted to make some new friends and get close with my religion,” Goldberg said.
Goldberg, a second-semester member of the Jewish interest organization, said Sigma Rho Lambda is an associate member of the CU Panhellenic Council, meaning the organization’s involvement is different from other fully-associated NPC organizations.
“We have someone on the Panhel board,” Goldberg said. “But overall I wouldn’t call us part of Panhel because we don’t necessarily have to follow the same rules. We’re an associate member, so we’re not really in it.”
Some members of other sororities said they chose to be involved because of the comfort they found in sharing religious values.
Grace Carlson, a 19-year-old sophomore integrative physiology major, said she chose to join a Christian sorority because she wanted to be with people who were like her.
“[Alpha Delta Chi] is a Christian sorority and coming in as a freshman, I wanted to surround myself around other girls who were like me, and girls I could count on and trust,” Carlson said.
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between the organizations affiliated with the NPC and those affiliated with MGC is membership numbers.
“No one talks about [the MGC organizations], and they’re so small,” Carlson said. “I think there’s like six people in each multicultural sorority and fraternity. They don’t get out much within the Greek system.”
Carlson said the membership of Alpha Delta Chi currently hovers at around 120 women.
Baldwin said that while these MGC organizations have historically been smaller, they are working to increase their membership numbers.
“From my understanding, there is a desire to strengthen and possibly grow the membership of these groups,” Baldwin said. “However, most MGC groups locally and nationally are traditionally smaller.”
Both the Alpha Delta Chi and Sigma Rho Lambda organizations, as associate members of the NPC along with the other NPC organizations, participate in homecoming and Greek Week, whereas the smaller multicultural organizations do not.
Carlson said by being either full members or associate members of the NPC, the sororities involved are expected to follow certain rules to participate in activities like Greek Week and homecoming.
“It’s a privilege for us to be a part of Panhel,” Carlson said. “We get to go to the meetings and go to Greek Week and we have to follow all the same rules as the NPC. The smaller Greeks don’t have to.”
Carlson also said that this involvement means recognition among members of the Greek community.
“[Smaller Greek organizations] are not a part of Greek Week so they don’t have the same recognition among the Greeks,” she said. “I couldn’t tell you one of the local multicultural sororities.”
Carlson said that usually these MGC Greeks do not participate in these larger community-wide events, but that might change with a vote among the NPC groups. This was scheduled to take place last Wednesday, which could allow MCG organizations to participate in Greek Week.
“We haven’t taken the vote yet,” Carlson said last week. “I’m not really sure, but as far as [Alpha Delta Chi] goes, we’d love to have as many Greeks as possible involved in Greek Week.”
The vote, however, did not happen.
Morgan Manor, the 21-year-old director of Greek relations and a junior management major, said there wasn’t enough time to try to organize a vote between the MGC and NPC organizations for the potential inclusion of the smaller groups into the community-wide events.
“There wasn’t enough time to coordinate because both Panhellenic and MGC councils, and presidents, need to vote and it was taking too long,” Manor said.
She said there was poor communication between the groups.
“I would say they showed little interest only because the communication was bad,” she said.
Manor said despite a lack of coordination, the NPC organizations are working to include the MGC organizations in one of the annual activities, for Greek Week: Songfest.
She said, “We are still working out the logistics to include them in Songfest since they have done so in the past.”
Contact CU Independent News Budget Editor Sarah Simmons at Sarah.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CU Independent was unable to reach the president of the multicultural Greek council and members of multicultural Greek organizations by the time of publication.