Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Fraternities, sororities are more than just clubs

Understanding the differences between social and professional clubs is key to initiation
Melissa McCrary

When they begin a new semester or enter college for the first time, students repeatedly hear slogans such as "Get Involved" or "Go Greek."

Those who choose to go Greek must first decide which organization suits them the best and what type of group they would like to join.

UM-St. Louis offers men and women the opportunity to become members of social, professional, academic and co-ed Greek groups.

The question that might be asked is "So what is the difference."

The ... social sororities that exist at UM-St. Louis ... and three social fraternities share common principles with promoting friendship through sisterhood and brotherhood among all of their members.

"The professional organizations have more of a professional intent united by professional goals," said Allyson Wilson, student services coordinator and Greek adviser. "Some might promote certain fields like business, whereas the social groups have members of all different fields of study, but the majority of them all share common values

Alpha Phi Omega is a national co-ed service fraternity that works to promote leadership, friendship and service. This organization's morals were founded on the principles of the Boy Scouts of America.Robert Corder, senior, management information systems, is president of Alpha Phi Omega. He said leadership is a matter of development."Through our leadership program, we are able to develop ourselves and as we aspire to greater things in life, we become aware of limiting factors which we can't control, the external forces that shape our destiny until we control and develop what we have inside of us," Corder said. "We discover our own talents and strive to better our skills."

In the Chapter service program, Alpha Phi Omega members build social awareness by completing service projects like blood drives, car washes and park clean-ups.Corder said the pledging program is intended to give new members an introduction to everything they do, as well as form contacts within the chapter with current students and their advisers

John Adams, former member of Beta Alpha Psi and recent accounting graduate, said Beta Alpha Psi is a national Greek co-ed Honor Society that specializes in accounting and the field of business."The purpose of the organization is to network, meet professionals and use these resources when building a career," Adams said. Whether a student is looking to meet other students with similar majors and career interests or if they just want to develop diverse friendships, becoming involved in either a social or professional Greek organization might be an option.