Pledging is an ‘individual choice’

As you look at the Set on Fridays, or the leftover flyers blanketing the ground after hours of pubbing for an event, or simply attending one of the livest parties of the year, you are left to wonder about the chants, signs and stepping. “What is this all about?” you may ask. These are just some of the counterparts to Greek life.

Many people are only familiar with the social and service organizations, but some organizations are based on a specific area of study including music, pharmacy and law.

Of the 20 Greek organizations to choose from, only nine are a part of the National Pan Hellenic Council. The other 11 consist of band, academic and service organizations.

Members of these organizations can still join sororities and fraternities of the Divine Nine, which consists of five fraternities and four sororities. Their histories stream as from 1906 to 1963.

The five fraternities include Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Omega Phi Psi Fraternity Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.

Each organization was founded upon unique principles, but overall, brotherhood is the key factor.

The four sororities are Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.

Amber Hall, a fifth year business management student from Indianapolis and the basileus of the Beta Alpha chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. said an organization is not based on activities and service alone, but its purpose and the virtues it upholds.

“No organization was founded to have parties,” Hall said

“It must be able to effectively assess the needs of its campus.”

Before making a decision that will last a lifetime, one must complete extensive research and observation.

“Being Greek is a decision that you have to make yourself,” said Kimberly Pate, 20, a junior psychology student from Memphis, Tenn.

“Being a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated has certainly made me a stronger person. It is an individual choice. I saw it as a great way to be a service to my community and gain lasting friendships.”

Prioritizing is essential to determine whether this fits into your undergraduate plan. Will you have time to complete the pledging process? Should you wait and join a graduate chapter? Do you work well with groups? Pledging can cost between $500 to $2000 depending on the organization – are you prepared to find ways to pay these fees?

These are just a few of the questions that you must ask yourself.

Reginald Mitchell, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and the Beta Nu chapter’s adviser said pledging “accelerates time management and focuses you to a group of people with the same mindsets.” He managed to pledge while becoming SGA president in 1985 and said he doesn’t regret it.

As an incoming freshman, you have an opportunity to simply observe what goes on on campus. At Florida A & M, a 2.5 GPA and 30 credit hours are required to participate in any organization.

During your period of ineligibility, use your time wisely. After all your school work is done, begin to go to parties and observe different activities sponsored by the sorority or fraternity of your choice.