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The Northerner

NKU Greek organizations took root in ’70s and flourish today

Brittany Smart, Contributing Writer

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There are a total of 14 Greek letter organizations residing on campus this year who have been part of a trend that has been accelerating at a rapid rate in the past five years.

A Growing Culture

Just last fall, there was a spike in the number of recruits; numbers unlike the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life Director Kim Vance and previous Director of Student Life Betty Mulkey have ever seen.

“We’re going to have to add more chapters because there’s so much more energy and involvement on campus and it’s not just fraternities and sororities,” Vance said. “There’s talk about space for other things outside the classroom as well.”

When Betty Mulkey, the current director of Student Engagement, first started working with sororities and fraternities at NKU in July of 2000, the average chapter size for the sororities was around 35. Now after this spring semester, chapter total will be an estimated 115 members for each sorority.

Fraternities are also expected to see an increase in membership next fall with a chapter total of around 100 men.

“We’re just running out of space for people to meet and hold events and what will make chapter size go down is having more chapters,” Vance said. “Our grand plan has always been for fraternity and sorority life to grow, but to try to do that in a thoughtful way so that our chapters are always well served by their advisors and that they don’t feel crunched for resources.”

Changes in Greek Life

According to Vance and Mulkey, there have been several other changes since the Greek community’s foundation at NKU such as an increase in diversity and gravitation toward values-based recruiting.

When Vance first got involved with Greek Life in 1993, the only National Pan-Hellenic Council organization on campus was Alpha Phi Alpha.

However, now NKU has four NPHC organizations which does not include the Zeta Phi Beta sorority, who came to campus in 1999 but withdrew and will be returning next fall.

In addition to increasing diversity on campus, Vance and Mulkey also would like to make sure the chapters coming here know that Greek Life is a values-based community.

“Betty set the tone with her saying ‘Greek community,’ instead of ‘Greek system.’ She emphasized that word so we learned that value and continued that way,” Vance said.

According to Vance, although Greek Life on campus has evolved, she and Mulkey always try to preserve the integrity of those values.

Foundation History

deltazeta_Special_webThe first sorority on campus was Delta Zeta in 1972 and the first fraternity was Pi Kappa Alpha who created its charter in that same year.

In the next year of 1973, Theta Phi Alpha charted. Phi Sigma Sigma followed soon after in 1979.

Sigma Phi Epsilon was the next fraternity to join the Greek community in 1982 and both Tau Kappa Alpha and Alpha Tau Omega came to NKU in 1983.

Alpha Phi Alpha was the first NPHC organization to come to campus in 1988 and it stood alone until Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Gamma Rho came in 2007 and 2008.

“The Greek community has grown along with NKU,” Vance said. “It is a snapshot of the university.”

Omega Psi Phi is a new NPHC group forming whose members are traditionally initiated at universities such as UK and then transferred here to NKU.

The next sorority, Delta Gamma, chartered in 1993 and it was followed by Kappa Delta in 2003.

The newest Greek organizations include IFC’s Theta Chi, NPC’s Alpha Omicron Pi, and NALFO’s Alpha Psi Lambda, all of whom took root in 2013.

“I think that fraternities and sororities have the abilities to change campus culture here,” Mulkey said. “They get people excited and doing things like running for SGA office and they just keep a level of excitement going.”

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
NKU Greek organizations took root in ’70s and flourish today