The state of Greek life in Iowa

by James Joy

Recent declines in Greek-life participation on campus are part anationwide trend that has appeared at Simpson in the last twoyears. Since then, Greek membership has fallen from 374 to 305students.

However, compared to other Iowa private colleges, Simpson’sGreek numbers are above average.

According to U.S. News and World Report, Luther College, whichhas a larger full-time student population, has a lower Greekenrollment of 211 students. Also, at Central College, Greekchapters are composed of only 85 students.

Despite the recent downturn, all the chapters on Simpson campusare strong according to Jennie Cisar, assistant director of studentactivities for Greek Life and Leadership.

“There is a small decline all over the country, but Simpson isdoing well compared to other schools,” Cisar said. “We arecurrently at 21 percent, but the college is committed to achievinga Greek enrollment of 35 percent.”

According to US News and World Reports, Simpson’s Greekpopulation is currently at 24 percent.

The reorganization of Alpha Chi Omega has had a negative impacton Simpson’s Greek-enrollment numbers recently.

Senior Teressa Weigel, president of Alpha Chi Omega, is positiveabout the future of her sorority and Greek life on campus.

“I have seen an increase in interest recently,” Weigel said.”The experiences are wonderful, and the system builds awell-rounded human being.”

For some students like freshman Kathy Dierking, the Greek liferepresents an unnecessary distraction.

“I wanted to focus on my academics and not working hard onfitting in,” Dierking said. “I was afraid to spend the money andfind out I didn’t like it.”

Nonetheless, being Greek can also help students to find theirpath in life. Adrienne Lamberti, assistant professor of English, isa former president of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Lamberti attributes hergood transition to college and to life after college to hersorority experience.

“I met women who had the same priorities as me and I wanted tobe like them,” Lamberti said. “The Greek system gave me structureand helped me find my bearings when I arrived at school.”

However, Lamberti pointed out that every student is differentand they have to decide if the Greek system is right for them. Shesuggested that students look for a sorority or a fraternity thatmatched their personal values and priorities.

“For me, personally, it was great,” Lamberti said. “But I wouldnever tell students to do it because it is a decision that theyhave to figure out.”

Still, not all Greek-life stories are great, and some studentsfind themselves in a system that they feel is not supportive orcorrect for them.

Senior Morgan Hazelbaker was a member of Kappa Kappa Gammasorority but deactivated after personal tragedies allowed her torecognize that she and her sisters never truly had a chance tobond.

“I was very busy and I guess it wasn’t for me,” Hazelbaker said.”But for some people it can be a great experience and they canacquire good skills.”