College Draws Plans to Increase Greek Life

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The letters and crests of "The Divine Nine."

Drew Kaplan ’20, Opinion Editor

Dickinson College will be restructuring the Greek life advising system in the coming years as well as bringing other members of “The Divine Nine,” a group of historically black fraternities and sororities, to campus.

Sean Ryan, associate director of fraternity life and experiential leadership education, explained that the College is interested in bringing to campus another one of the “The Divine Nine,” a group of “nine historically Black Greek letter organizations (BGLOs) that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council,” according to the group’s website.

According to Ryan, “right now, on campus we have one of the divine, Kappa Alpha Psi. We used to have Delta Sigma Theta [sorority], but they died out. There’s a lot of interest in bringing back Delta Sigma Theta, probably sometime next fall or next spring. There’s also interest in expanding to another divine nine, Sigma Gamma Rho [sorority].”

However, Ryan explained that the process takes time. “It takes anywhere from two to five years for a new chapter to start. It costs about $50,000 to start up a new fraternity.” Ryan also explained that, due to the costs involved, fraternities plan at the national level where they will expand anywhere from two to five years in advance. He added, “We’re hopeful to have someone here in the next two to three years.”

Ryan also explained that Greek life organizations would have dedicated advisors in the future, rather than the advising being an additional responsibility of existing administrators, as it is currently done. He also predicted that having more fraternities on campus will incentivize existing organizations to better define their mission, due to increased competition for members.

These changes come on the heels of two of Dickinson’s fraternities, Phi Delta Theta and Kappa Sigma, ceasing operations last semester following several conduct violations.

The remaining fraternities at Dickinson sorrow for the loss of Phi Delta Theta and Kappa Sigma, but remain optimistic about the future of Greek life on campus. Pelumi Onabanjo ’19, president of Kappa Alpha Psi, said, “It’s unfortunate. You always hate to see another organization kicked off campus. What we’re focusing on right now is moving forward. The three fraternities that are left on campus have been really strong, and we’ve been pushing to keep Greek life present and active on campus, especially fraternities.”

He furthered that Kappa Alpha Psi is invested in “making sure that people really get to know the holistic, like, everything that Greek life does” rather than focusing only on the negatives.

Ian Ridgway ’19, president of Delta Sigma Phi echoed Onabanjo’s statements.

“While Greek life shrunk last semester… as president of Dickinson’s Chapter of Delta Sigma Phi, I am excited for the position that we are in as a chapter.  As a fraternity, we have a great opportunity to expand our chapter’s presence on campus and throughout the Carlisle community,” he stated. “I want the positives of Fraternity and Sorority life to be felt throughout campus and [I] am confident in my organization’s ability to further our outreach this semester and well into the future.”

Esai Flores, ’19, president of Sigma Lambda Beta, maintained that while unfortunate, the status of fraternities on campus has brought the three remaining organizations closer together.

“We’re a little bit worried because there’s only three fraternities now. But we’re also looking at it positively because, now since there’s only three of us, we have to work more closely together in a way that’s unified us more,” he said. “Now we actually look to each other to help each other with Greek life on campus. We sort of see it as a positive thing because now we’re building relationships with people who we weren’t as close with before.”

Ryan stated, “The college does fully support Greek life. The college wants Greek to grow and prosper and be successful.” However, he cautioned that the college does not give any organization preferential treatment. “If you don’t want to follow our rules … that’s fine. We’ll find someone that will.”