The Other UF Greek Life
There is more to Greek life than monogrammed tumblers and Chubbies shorts that leave little to the imagination.
Beyond the perfectly trimmed lawns of sorority and fraternity row live 23 other Greek organizations that proudly embrace culture and are not afraid to show it.
I’m referring to the Multicultural Greek Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Now I’ll be honest, when I was just a bright-eyed freshman, I came into UF thinking the only sororities that existed were those of PanHellenic. I blame TV and movies for that (looking at you Sydney White and House Bunny).
But after a couple rounds of involvement fairs, strolls past tabling in Turlington, and MGC and NPHC weeks held in Fall, I learned of a whole ‘nother side to Greek life that I didn’t know existed.
National Pan-Hellenic Council was founded in 1930 at Howard University as the governing body for the nine historically African American sororities and fraternities, aka the “Divine 9”. The council was founded to give African American college students a fair chance of enjoying Greek life at a time when segregation was still thriving.
Their chapters began establishing themselves at UF in the ’70s. Since then, the Divine 9 has had a home within the Gator Nation.
Similarly, as immigration evolved and gave the U.S. a diverse population, college Greek life evolved with it. The Multicultural Greek Council was founded at UF in 1999 to serve the Gator ethnic community. Today, fourteen sororities and fraternities representing different cultures make up MGC.
Once you become aware of these organizations, their presence is hard to miss around campus. You will no doubt see members decked out in their colors or line jackets, with their letters front and center to let you know who they rep. You will hear their chants and witness the beauty of their stepping or strolling performances on The Set. You may even begin considering joining one of these organizations.
For students who identify with a minority community, MGC and NPHC organizations are ideal. They’re a solid match for someone interested in mixing Greek life with cultural pride. Going Greek with MGC or NPHC will no doubt be a rewarding experience, but just like PanHellenic and IFC recruitment, potential members have to earn their letters.
Unlike PanHellenic and IFC, MGC and NPHC’s recruitment processes are a bit different. If joining one of these councils happens to be part of your collegiate plans, it’s important to know what the process entails. Lucky for you, our facts and tips are here to guide you so that you don’t go into the process blind.
Make sure you really want to join.
MGC and NPHC members have a lot of pride for their organization. They wear their letters proudly and make sure to gather attention when it comes to chanting for their org. Their energy is infectious and really makes you feel like they are a true sisterhood/brotherhood bound forever by the love they exuberate for their letters and each other. It is easy to want to be apart of the Greek love, but make sure you do your research before jumping into any process. Attend info sessions, become well acquainted with the members, and do your own research into the history of the org you’re interested in.
Make sure their values align with your own and that you would be proud to call their members your brothers/sisters forever. Most importantly, make sure YOU would be proud to call yourself a brother/sister of a particular org forever.
There is no council-wide organized recruitment.
Don’t expect flyers to be strung around campus formally announcing the commencement of MGC/NPHC recruitment. The councils as a whole do not have a set recruitment period, but instead affords each chapter the liberty to decide if/when they will be recruiting new members. This makes the process more personal and lets each chapter recruit in a way that they feel fit for seeking new members. Some chapters advertise informational sessions, where prospective members attend a meeting to learn about the organization and its’ requirements before formally beginning the pledging process. Others may personally reach out to prospects and keep their process completely tight lipped until their New Member Presentation day.
Since each chapter follows their own recruitment process, this means they don’t all recruit at the same time. Typically, the organizations intake new members once a year, either in the Spring or Fall. So it’s all a matter of keeping a lookout for any announcements of info sessions or maybe approaching an MGC/NPHC org to let your interest be known by the members.
Honor the secrecy of the process
Probably the most important piece of advice is to take the pledging process seriously, and that means not telling a soul which organization you are pledging. You won’t ever see MGC/NPHC sororities publicly pledging a slew of girls dressed in Lily Pulitzer sundresses or fraternities creating Justin Bieber minions by dying their prospect’s hair blonde.
MGC and NPHC orgs were created to foster a more personal Greek experience than that offered in IFC or PHC. Members want to get to know you really well as their new brother/sister before introducing you to the world. It’s meant to bind you with your new Greek family and make your connection with them all the more deep.
That means no round table discussions with your friends about the latest gossip and drama in your personal lives and very elaborate alibis about where you’re spending hours on end every day. It’s understandable to be excited about this new journey or wanting to vent to someone about the lows of pledging, but it would suck even more if a member found out and your bid was taken away from you.
Besides, the best part about the pledging process is your New Member Presentation day. The day when all your hard work pays off and you can finally reveal yourself as a Greek to the community and your loved ones. It’s a lot more fun to watch your friends guess who has invited them to the presentation and they will undoubtedly cheer harder for you once they find out it was you all along.
After you are revealed, your new Greek family will also celebrate you. (Probably by getting you entirely too drunk to make up for the months or weeks of sobriety due to pledging.)
So in the meantime, pick the one organization you connect with most and put your best foot forward to show them you’re worthy of wearing their letters. And when the going gets tough, just envision the shots of tequila waiting to congratulate you on your initiation into Greekdom.