Greek Life doesn’t exist at UTM.
At UTM, we have no houses, and you can count the number of students that are members of Greek Life on your hand.
I’d like to make the case for why this a problem and why we need more involvement from the UTM community in Greek Life.
I’m not talking about how we should all shuttle downtown and get drunk at more frat parties (even though that would be fun). I’m talking about why you (yes, you) should join a fraternity or sorority and why it would be great for the UTM community.
I was initiated into the Sigma Chi fraternity in March of 2017. I joined because I felt it would be a great means of networking and because I felt I needed a solid community during my university experience. I come from a small town where little to no people choose to go to UTM, so I found myself starting university without any real friends or community.
During the early years of my undergraduate career, I discovered that many of my fellow students were experiencing the same thing.
I wasn’t a fan of the idea that so many students came to UTM to simply go to class, leave, and eventually get a degree. I honestly don’t think anyone likes this, not even the people who follow this lifestyle.
When I learned that fraternities in downtown Toronto accepted students from UTM, I decided to give it a try. I went to the recruitment events, realized I liked the brothers (members), and low and behold I’ve been a brother for nearly three years. I personally believe it was one of the best choices I’ve made in my undergraduate career and I’ll explain why:
A fraternity or sorority is truly an organization where you get from it what you put in.
And there’s a lot to get. I said earlier that one thing that motivated me to join a fraternity was the networking opportunities, and that is exactly what I found. My fraternity’s alumni in Canada alone include business moguls, government ministers, and leaders in various industries, some of whom offered me summer jobs (which I graciously accepted).
As well, I’ve been able to attend leadership workshops across North America free of charge to gain skills and experience that I can use today and put on my resume for a future job.
I’ve been able to get cheap housing and have received bursaries and grants which have helped me afford my education. And of course, my social life is significantly more interesting with the opportunity to interact with such a vast downtown community and all the things that come with being a part of a U of T fraternity.
Most importantly though, I’ve found a stable and supportive community in my fraternity. My fraternity house is somewhere I can always feel at home and can always find someone to speak with about whatever is on my mind.
It’s a group of people who inspire me, support me, and are always there for me. I’ve never found it cliché calling these men my brothers. I genuinely see them all as my family.
Like any other family, I want to see it grow— not only my chapter but the entire Greek Life community. And where do I think there’s a large pool of students who could greatly benefit from being a part of a Greek Life organization? Right here at UTM.
Now then, enough about me. This is about you, the students of UTM.
Students that I’ve spoken with have time and time again voiced their disappointment in the social life that UTM has to offer.
Other than club meetings and the occasional coffee with a friend, there is a visible lack of that quintessential university social life. I’m not saying we should be having a collective campus party every week (even if that would be really fun), but we as a campus lack those things that make Laurier and Western such enjoyable places to be a student: community and involvement. I believe Greek Life can be the solution.
Though each fraternity and sorority is different, they all follow certain criteria. All of them believe their members should be community leaders dedicated to a set of moral values, their respective organizations, and their campus.
Imagine a UTM where there is a large portion of students dedicated to involving themselves and being leaders on campus. Imagine a UTM where that strong sense of community offered by Greek Life is folded into the campus culture.
There are organizations on campus trying to make that happen and they certainly deserve credit. The UTMSU, for example, goes to great efforts to create an enjoyable and positive campus culture, but I don’t think they should be doing it alone.
We don’t all need to hop on the shuttle bus and join a fraternity or sorority, but we should all definitely think about it. If you want personal development, networking opportunities, and a great community behind you, consider joining a fraternity or sorority. Even if you don’t want to join one, consider the benefits of having more people do so and tell your friends about it.
Greek life members are the sorts of people who become club presidents and student representatives. If you want more of those sorts of students on campus, you should support more students joining Greek Life. Believe it or not, it’d be much more than a bunch of dude-bros walking around campus telling you to join their “sick frat.”
It’d be more like engaged students trying to improve their campus community, maybe through a simple newspaper comment piece, and then telling you to join their frat. Rush Sig.
Ethan is the VP Recruitment of the Inter-fraternity Council of Toronto and is the Magister of Sigma Chi – Beta Omega