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In 25th year, Greek life expands

by WU News

It’s been 25 years since Wingate University opened its doors to fraternities and sororities. More than 250 students are involved in Greek life, and that number is set to rise, with increasing opportunities to be offered next semester.

Delta Sigma Phi, which had an active Wingate chapter between 1993 and 2016, plans to re-charter its fraternity thanks to growing cooperation among the University, local alumni and the organization’s national office. Also a new chapter of Omega Psi Phi, part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, welcomed eight men earlier this month.

“Fraternities and sororities are good ways for our students to connect and find a surrogate family,” says Diana Coyle, associate director of Residence Life. “It’s like having that home away from home, so you have someone to celebrate your successes with who will also be there for you when you need support.”

Nancy Randall, vice provost for student engagement, says she’s excited to see strong alumni buy-in for the return of Delta Sigma Phi.

“These alumni get to share what it means to be a member of the fraternity with men on campus who want to start something new,” Randall says. “It’s great that there are people to be advocates, cheerleaders and life coaches to our students, which is the beauty of an alumni network.”

 

Ryan Partridge, a custom residential real estate specialist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch who earned his undergraduate degree and his MBA from Wingate, is excited to be one of those alumni advocates.

“We will help our members become better students, better leaders, better citizens, better professionals, ultimately better men,” he says. “The brothers of Delta Sigma Phi helped me become the person I am today.” Partridge credits the fraternity with teaching him life lessons such as accountability, time management, relationship interaction, team building, leadership and giving back to the community.

Founded in New York in 1899, Delta Sigma Phi has 109 active chapters and 35 alumni associations. Its national philanthropic partner is the American Red Cross.

Omega Psi Phi, the first international fraternal organization founded on the campus of a historically black college, has more than 700 chapters. Its motto is “Friendship is Essential to the Soul,” and it is a charter member of the NP-HC.

Even more expansion?

According to Coyle, Wingate has recently hosted interest meetings for four other NP-HC organizations.

“We are looking to grow our Greek community and are building relationships with organizations to see if we can bring them to campus,” she says.

Similar to individual memberships in fraternities and sororities, Coyle says, the decision about whether organizations charter groups on campus is based on mutual selection. Wingate must both choose and be chosen to partner with the national organizations.

In addition to Omega Psi Phi and Delta Sigma Phi, Wingate’s male students can seek membership in Kappa Alpha Order and Pi Kappa Phi, which are part of the Interfraternity Council.

Although the recent push has been to add fraternities, the university’s sororities have more members than the fraternities and have grown significantly over the last quarter of a century.

Sigma Sigma Sigma and Chi Omega were the first to charter on campus, back in 1993. Later, chapters of Alpha Xi Delta and Alpha Omicron Pi were formed. All four are overseen by the College Panhellenic Council.

Randall says that in addition to performing community service, sororities and fraternities help students develop strong leadership skills. The Greek system is founded on the principles of friendship, leadership, scholarship and service.

Coyle knows that not every student will want to become part of the Greek system, but she believes all students should at least explore the opportunity.

“It has to be the right fit for you,” Coyle says. “If you are looking for that way to be connected to something bigger than your four years in college, this is the opportunity to invest in yourself and the community you call home.”

April 10, 2018