Letter to the Editor: Greek life on campus in the works

Jeremy Hanford, Contributing writer

Since the beginning of my freshman year, I have had the desire to revolutionize Mercyhurst University by being a part of the first group to bring Greek life to campus. My dreams and ambitions of leaving a lasting legacy here at Mercyhurst are coming to fruition, and I could not be more pleased at the process that is underway.

My peers and I have spoken for well over a year now about taking this leap of faith into the unknown. Finally, at the beginning of this semester we made the leap and scheduled a meeting with President Michael T. Victor and Laura Zirkle, Vice President of Student Life, to discuss this revolutionary possibility.

At the conclusion of this encounter, we were encouraged by the outcome and began to look for a possible Greek organization to represent us, and got into contact with Kappa Sigma. We chose to pursue a possible colonization with Kappa Sigma for a variety of reasons. Kappa Sigma is a non-denominational social fraternity that supports the Catholic Church and upholds the strong values of Mercyhurst University.

Kappa Sigma stands for excellence in scholarship, service to man, leadership with its members and fellowship to a greater power. Every value of Mercyhurst University is represented by the values of Kappa Sigma.

Kappa Sigma reaches out with compassion to others, and allows members to become one in mind, body and spirit by knowing that a higher power exists. Kappa Sigma is the nation’s largest and most well respected social fraternity with members from all walks of life taking part in the brotherhood and covenant.

When I began the process of potentially bringing Greek life to campus, I had my own misconceptions about what Greek life is and what it stood for.

After countless hours of research, talking to alumni and speaking to fraternal representatives, my entire outlook changed.

When you think of Greek life, the first thing that comes to your head is “Animal House” and toga parties.

I have to admit that this was the first thing that came to my mind as well, but Greek life is something much different than I ever imagined. As a Greek student, you are expected to exceed the regular student and go beyond what it means to be a Laker. People do not know what it actually takes to be a fraternity member, and all the work that is involved.

As a fraternity at Mercyhurst University, members would be required to volunteer 35 hours or more per academic year and participate in six of eight philanthropic events which we would hold per school year.

As a fraternity we would help students move into housing, host mixers for students to get to know one another, hold tailgates and spirit events for the school.  We would also coordinate with Mercyhurst Student Government in philanthropic events like Walk a Mile in her Shoes, Wounded Warrior 5K race, Breast Cancer Awareness Walks, March of Dimes events, Relay for Life marches, and fund raisers or volunteer work for local charities and organizations in the Erie community.

As a fraternity, we would host events to raise money for this wonderful organization and give back in any way we can to support those who have defended us.

We would expect members to maintain grades above the all-men’s average as a whole and to stay out of any legal trouble with Mercyhurst University, the City of Erie and the State of Pennsylvania. Members will be held to a higher standard to represent Mercyhurst University and the fraternity in a positive light. We will welcome diversity as it will help us build a better sense of community and create something Mercyhurst has never seen before.

Greek members are members and brothers forever. Greek life creates a network between students and alumni. When students are graduating, being a member of a Greek organization allows them to network themselves to other Greek alumni of their chapter. This presents graduates with potential job openings that they never would have been presented if they were not a member of a Greek organization.

A Greek organization would create a strong bond between brothers that normally would never have known each other.

Mercyhurst is dominated by athletes, and many students cannot become friends if they are not athletes or do not play the same sport as somebody else. Essentially, we are trying to bridge the gap between students across campus and create newfound friendships and bonds between students in our community.

All students on campus, athletes, non-athletes, Caucasian, African American, Latino, Asian and foreign students would have the ability to meet and form bonds like never experienced on this campus. Greek life will build a sense of brotherhood and community between students that will last beyond the gates of Mercyhurst.

Bringing Greek life to Mercyhurst will revolutionize campus for generations to come. Greek life will bring about change that has never been experienced here and will spark a sense of community and inclusion that students seek and desire in a college setting.

Greek life will allow students to serve the mission of Mercyhurst and build a sense of community and family on campus. Beginning Greek life will allow those who were the founding fathers and first members to leave a lasting legacy which they will remember for the rest of their lives.