By: Jack Ineson '19
Many first-year students, myself included, are greeted for the first time by the University of Mount Union’s row of grandiose houses bolstering colorful Greek letters. I, more than most, was excited to become a part of the fraternity and sorority community barring that it could fit into my busy academic and athletic schedule.
Growing up, my mother talked about the lifelong friends she made through her sorority at Hillsdale College and my older sister participated in the famous fraternity and sorority life of Miami University (OH). I knew that I wanted to enjoy some of the same experiences they had. However, I only really saw the simple benefits to joining a fraternity like meeting friends, networking, and a place to go on the weekends. However, fraternity and sorority life at Mount Union is so much more. It’s a community that not only encourages, but compels all of its participants to become campus leaders, give back, and better themselves.
Whether you are a fan of the festivities, cheering, and glitter or not, there is no denying that recruitment week is a special time at Mount Union, and this year’s sorority bid day that took place on Sunday was no different. However, don’t take it from the person in a fraternity. Take it from Marcy Spann, a junior sports business major, who was able to see the side of bid day as a full member of Delta Sigma Tau for the first time.
“I honestly believe looking back at last year that it is way better to watch your friends and new sisters go down the steps of chapman rather than yourself,” Spann said.
When I asked her “Why?”, her statement is something that I think everyone in fraternity and sorority life at Mount Union can agree upon.
“Being able to scream at the top of your lungs for the people you care about makes you appreciate the unending bonds you create through Greek life,” Spann said.
Every year, as sorority bid day comes to an end and fraternities prepare to hand out their bids, I can remember back to my first few weeks on campus and I’m reminded of just how exciting recruitment was for me. The people I met during recruitment instantly reaffirmed my decision to go to Mount Union. I was instantly connected with so many welcoming people. Any of the nerves I might have had about meeting new friends disappeared with the people that I met in my first few weeks on campus. I knew that I could join any of these chapters and have a great next four years.
Being a first-year student on the University’s swimming team, many of my teammates and friends were already a part of the Phi Kappa Tau (PKT) fraternity. While they all highly encouraged me to meet the men of PKT, they and the other members of the fraternity ensured that I looked into all of the other chapters before I ultimately made my choice. While it’s a small gesture to encourage first-year students to venture out and meet people from each organization, it holds a more significant meaning to me. It represents how each fraternity and sorority organization is friendly and respectful, but also shows the trust each organization has for each other. Each organization acknowledges that any chapter on campus will get the best out of their members and treat them with the utmost respect. However, it also shows that each chapter recognizes that they are unique and that every student really does have their true home.
Going into recruitment as a first-year student can be a daunting task despite how extroverted or amicable you may be. However, I never felt the judgment or scrutiny that some of my friends who had joined a fraternity at other universities felt.
Joseph Palmquist, a junior political science major and member of Sigma Nu also had reservations before taking the dive into fraternity life.
“Originally, I didn’t think that Greek life was for me and that my academic and athletic schedule would make it impossible,” Palmquist said. “Not only were the members of Sigma Nu super welcoming, they make it easy to fit around my schedule all while making me have the time of my life at Mount Union.”
My experience was very much the same. At many of the rush events, there were eclectic groups of students with the aspiration to get more from their collegiate experience. When I was being inducted into the 2015 class of PKT, I was inducted with a mix of students who, many of them, didn’t seem like the stereotypical fraternity man that I was told about. Not only was I inducted with students from a variety of backgrounds, there was even at least one person from each academic class. From a large group of first year students, all the way up to a senior, we were all ready to become part of PKT.
Despite being such seemingly different individuals, we were shown why we choose our home at the Epsilon Chapter of PKT and our differences were really what has made my past four years so great. Having friends off the bat from so many different backgrounds and experiences has helped me so much in my college career. It gave me older mentors and resources to perform better than I ever have in my classes and light spirited friends that you can’t help but laugh at in the middle of an exam week breakdown.
As this year’s class of fraternity and sorority men and women receive their bids, I can’t help but be a little jealous that I’m not in their shoes anymore. Then again, it’s just as rewarding to know that this new class of fraternity men and sorority women are about to embark on a journey that will shape their next four years and will meet people they will cherish for the rest of their lives.