The Ups and Downs of Local Greek Life

Brittnany Nelson

Greek Life is a common part of the college experience, with almost every college in the United States having either local or national chapters. At Augustana, about 40 percent of the student body is involved in Greek Life.
Though Augustana does not have national social chapters, junior and Delta Omega Nu member, Eric Tabaka said, “Augustana wants to maintain more influence over Greek Life on campus, and having national Greek groups takes away some of the influence.”
The main difference between a local and a national Greek chapter is that local chapters are the only ones of their kind.
“Local Greek groups are organized and centralized at one school and do not have to worry about other chapters or a national office overseeing activities,” Tabaka said.
Local chapters’ small size can have a negative side as well. Without a national affiliation, there are less connections that can be made with alumni across the states.
There is also a very big positive to being a local chapter.
“You have more of a say to the process and who you are. You know you all went through the same process and hold the same ideal since it’s through the same school,” junior and Greek Council President Montse Ricossa, said.
Being local, the only restrictions and rules that must be followed are those of the school and the local chapter. This allows for a bit more freedom.
“Here, I know if I as Greek Council President want to make changes to something or think something is wrong, I can change it without having to go to a national president or something,” Ricossa said.
At Augustana, there is a total of 18 Greek organizations: seven social fraternities, seven social sororities, two national music fraternities and two service fraternities. The process of recruitment and new member education is different for the national groups. 
During recruitment for the local social Greek groups (or rush if at a national level), potential new members interested in Greek Life attend all seven of the informal recruitments.
According to Ricossa, this is “So you keep an open mind.”
At a school with national chapters, those interested in Greek Life are able to choose which rush events they would want to attend based on their interest in certain groups. Augustana Greek Life also recruits only during the end of winter term and beginning of Spring term. The New Member Education, pledging at national level, takes up the first five weeks of spring term. This length of time is on average shorter than pledging is for a national chapter.
After attending all seven informal recruitments at Augie, a Greek chapter will send out invitations to who they would like to attend their formal recruitment event. Once recruitment is done, PNMs make a list of their top three choices. If their top choice wants them, then they become a member of that group.
The New Member Education period (called pledging on a national level) spring term. This length of time is on average shorter than pledging is for a national chapter.
The biggest difference that comes up around recruitment time is money. Local chapters’ dues are much lower than those of a national chapter. Another difference in money comes when it is time to start the recruitment process. At Augustana, it is $30 to participate in Recruitment, while at a school with national chapters the fee could be up to $100 just to rush.
At Augustana, the 14 local Greek groups have a long tradition that spans over 100 years.
According to Tabaka, “Augustana sees the value of the Greek system here on campus and wants to work to preserve that despite national headlines and discussions regarding whether Greek systems should still be in school.”