By Dallas Mirabal / Special to The Delta
Greek life at Missouri Valley College has been struggling in the past few years with the recent shutdown of two fraternities and one that is diminishing. Sigma Nu and Alpha Sigma Alpha were discontinued this past year due to lack of enrollment, and Tau Kappa Epsilon is well on its way down that path, with only one remaining member left.
The popularity of fraternities and sororities on campus seems to be fading away in the past few years. Nicholas Whitehead, a long time member of Alpha Sigma Phi has seen the Greek life scene take a downward turn from when he first arrived here at MoVal.
“When I first arrived as a freshman, Greek life in general was doing great collectively as far as a relationship from house to house,” Whitehead said. “However, as the years went on, it rapidly declined and I feel backs were turned on all the houses.”
The stigma of opposing fraternities will always remain, and the financial dues that members owe when joining a fraternity are challenging as well, however, Whitehead contributes the main cause of decline in Greek life to lack of school support.
“I feel anytime we have had an idea for campus involvement or chances to allow us to gain exposure and interactions other than what people are used to, it gets shot down almost immediately,” Whitehead said.
Another student feels the same way about campus involvement in Greek life. Rodrigo Padilla, the lone survivor of Tau Kappa Epsilon also has mixed views on the issue.
“The school doesn’t let you know about organizations and even some coaches threaten their players to not join any fraternities,” Padilla said.
Some coaches persuade their athletes not to join greek life due to the time constraints and affiliation with anything other than their sport. They want their athlete to only focus on their sport, and leave little room for anything else.
Learning about Greek life can also be a challenge.
“In the web site, Greek life is hard to find and there is not much information about it,” Padilla said. “No new student knows about Greek life until some how they get told by another student.”
Students are not the only ones seeing the effects of Greek life recently. Tiffany Bergman, a teacher and former student, was one of the founding members of Theta Phi Alpha here on campus.
“When I was a student at Missouri Valley College,” Bergman said. “Greek life was vibrant and exciting. It was such an exciting time to join and be a member of these campus leaders. Greek Week was exciting and really pulled an audience from students all over campus.”
Bergman was here at a time when Greek life was striving and in its prime. Over here years here at Valley, she has seen Greek life change and grow farther away from what she has grown to know it.
“The main differences is the level of support they have received from the college community as a whole.” Bergman said. “There is such a negative view of Greek life in the 21st century, not completely undeserved, however, the MVC Greek community was never what I saw on television and in movies.”
College Greek life does have this negative connotation towards it, many think it is just about partying and drinking, as Hollywood portrays. Bergman however, does believe that there is a cause to the problem we are currently experiencing right now.
“When I was a student so much of our college experience had to do with interaction with our peers,” Bergman said. “However, the modern generation has really lost some of this passion for community. I hate saying it, but cell phones and gaming in rooms has really pulled students away from so many social situations.”
Our peers today are very lucky to experience the technology that we have grown up with. However, has it hindered our ability to socialize with our communities as a whole? Bergman contributes that struggling of Greek life here at Valley with several factors, and cannot be labeled down to one.
“We have a tendency to forget that organizations are more than just a “club”,” Bergman said. “They are a business and therefore require quite a bit of work. Not everyone is willing to put forth the work and effort that is necessary to ensure the success of groups. So much of Greek life requires a commitment of time that some are just not willing to sacrifice. I also believe that students need to be willing to open themselves up to truly learning about what Greek life is beyond what is conveyed in the media.”
Greek life as a whole does indeed have some negative connotations, however now it is starting to show in participation with these organizations. The fraternities here at campus will likely revive, it will just take some time. All we can do is keep trying and stay positive, and soon greek life will be restored at Missouri Valley College.