It’s in every college movie, it’s talked about on nearly every college campus in the United States, it is Greek life. Growing up people are constantly exposed to Greek life through film, whether it be Elle Woods in Delta Nu’s sorority in Legally Blonde, or jocks in typical frats in basically every 90’s film ever people are exposed to Greek life and a glorified version of what to expect when entering the college scene. From extreme booze and parties to huge slumber parties filled with pillow fights and initiations how these sororities and fraternities are portrayed on the screen look much different than how they are in real life.
Greek life on college campuses date all the way back to the late 1700’s and since then thousands of campuses have adapted to it. Now there are huge differences in what Greek culture will look like on a small campus like Morningside College, compared to a larger University like Iowa State. Regardless of how big or small the presence is, the impact and lifelong brother and sisterhoods are very present.
On Morningside’s campus Greek life isn’t as present as it used to be, but it is still very much a part of the campus cultures just in different ways. Some of the largest Greek groups on the Mustang’s campus include AOP which is the largest sorority on campus, APO, a nationally recognized theatre honor society, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the largest men’s music fraternity in the country. There are a handful of other groups present on campus but these are some of the more active ones. Although these groups do not have huge houses, or hundreds of people pledging to them a year they find unique ways to stay alive and recruit to the Morningside student body.
Morningside graduate, Madison Schueth, was a part of AOP throughout her 4 years as a Mustang, and even though she has been graduated nearly a year, it still has a significant impact in her life.
“When I came to Morningside as a freshman I just wanted to find a place to fit in, when I heard of AOP I did not know what to expect, but it turned out to be the best decision I made while at Morningside. I was introduced to so many girls that would later become my sisters. Then in my later years being able to share that experience with the new freshman, and become a ‘big sister’ to them was amazing.” Schueth said.
Since graduating, Madison continues to be connected to her pledge sisters through lunch dates, social media, and sleep overs.
APO is a Theatre Honor Society on Morningside’s campus that focuses on raises awareness and funds for the Morningside Theatre Department. Every year the group puts on several fundraisers that help the Arts budget at the college grow as well as sponsor trips for aspiring Mustang actors to attend conferences and conventions for the arts. Morningside senior, Jared Kamrath, has been a part of APO since his sophomore year at Morningside, and last year acted as the President of the group.
“APO allows kids that are like me to branch out and express themselves. It is no secret that the arts are dying not only on Morningside’s campus but all over and I feel being a proud member of APO I am doing my part in bringing theatre back to life.” Kamrath stated.
APO hosts monthly meetings for all the members to attend, and are also in charge of all theatrical events on campus whether that be a play, opera, musical, or special event. This Greek group is always working to make the theatre scene not only at Morningside but throughout all Siouxland grow.
Another very active group, and potentially the largest Greek fraternity on campus is Sinfonia. This group is exclusively men, and invite men interested in music to join. The group hosts weekly meetings and song rehearsals where they talk about their experiences that week, how music impacted them, and anything else they feel needs light shed on it.
“I was a part of Sinfonia all 4 years while attending Morningside, and my senior year was president of the organization. To this day I am still a part of group chats, conference calls, and still occasionally attend song rehearsals or one of our weekly meetings. I feel that this organization is a great way for people to get support, and it truly is like a family. I consider each and every member a brother of mine, and in my time as a Mustang Sinfonian we had the opportunity to go to the National Sinfonian convention in New Orleans where we met even more brothers of the fraternity that share the same values, support, and love for music. It is a great organization, and I am hopeful to remain active in it as long as I am still practicing music”, said Morningside 2019 graduate, Dylan Root.
Now, even though Greek life has smaller numbers on Morningside campus, it still is a big and impactful part of many Mustang’s lives. Looking from the opposing side though, Iowa State senior, Zack Leist, who is a part of AGR, an agriculture fraternity had a much different experience with Greek culture on his campus.
“I joined AGR after my freshman year at ISU to find some stability in my studies and to find men that shared my same passions and goals for bettering agriculture. As an AgBusiness major I thought it was the perfect fit. This was so much more than what the movies led on though” Leist joked, “I lived in a massive house with over 100 other guys, there were 4 other people in my room with me, and the house was always a mess.”
Although it was much larger and crazier than he expected, Zack said he has made connections and friendships that will follow him long after his adventure is over as a Cyclone. Through AGR, Leist was able to prosper in the Agriculture and Business department at ISU and even become a part of the Board of Regents for the State of Iowa as a student representative for all colleges and universities in the state of Iowa. Zack claims is successes so far are all thanks to AGR surrounding him with brothers that pushed him to be a better version of himself.
Whether big or small, Greek life on college campuses is a great way to ‘get out there’, and after speaking with countless people part of organizations big and small one thing was consistent in their answers of what they love about Greek life and that was, the support of their fellow members.