Monday, August 03, 2009

The World Is Changing for Utah Greeks

Changes to U of U's Greek System

The stigma surrounding fraternities and sororities could soon change here in the state. When most people think of the Greek life, they may think of parities, alcohol and scenes from “Animal House”. The University of Utah is changing the Greek system to change its reputation and to attract new members from all walks of life.

The University’s Greek Council is trying to make Greek row a little more diverse. “This fall, we’re heavily pushing our Latino and Latina fraternities and sororities that are actively getting going” said Jay Wilgus the council advisor for the U. They also want more faith based chapters involved in Greek life. In fact, Wilgus says they want to hear from anyone interested in starting a chapter.

The council is using social networks such as Facebook and Youtube to encourage more students to rush this fall. There’s even free cash for those interested in the Greek life. The University will hand out 16 scholarships, each worth about $500, to those interested in joining a fraternity or sorority.

A dark cloud however hangs over the Greek system here in the state. Last year, a college student died during an initiation activity at Utah State University. Though hazing is illegal, it still happens at fraternities and sororities across the country. The University of Utah is working with the family of Michael Starks, the student that died. They’re also working with lawmakers to craft criminal hazing laws. “Hazing is certainly not tolerated,” says Wilgus. “We’re doing active work in that regard to make sure students have a positive experience and a healthy experience.”

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