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What it takes to be part of sorority life

Gaby Velasquez
(From left to right) Junior psychology major Clarisse Sanchez, junior kinesiology major Victoria Rodriguez, and sophomore electrical engineering major Astrid Chacon dance in Centennial Plaza as part of Welcome Back week.

Sororities and fraternities may often be associated with hazing and parties in which members of these organizations do nothing but consume alcohol. UTEP’s Greek life tries to think differently.

Karina Arroyo, a recent UTEP graduate, said being part of Kappa Delta Chi was a great experience, which allowed her to be actively involved while she was a UTEP student.

“I was involved in school and I got to do community service, which looks awesome on resumes. KD Chi helped (me) grow as a person because it helped me develop people skills,” Arroyo said. “Joining KD Chi was the best decision I’ve made because I enjoyed college from a different perspective and I met awesome girls, whom I get to call sisters.”

Arroyo said her sorority differed from others at UTEP because she felt that everyone was welcomed.

“KD Chi never focuses on appearances. We come in all shapes, sizes and colors. What we have in common is that we all are Latina,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo said a member of her sorority was not accepted by another sorority because of her size.

“Their loss was our win. She’s now a KD Chi sister,” Arroyo said.

Alyssa Martinez, vice-president of Alpha Xi Delta, said Greek life organization committed students who want to work together as a group.

“I have experienced recruitment from both sides, as a potential new member and as a recruiter,” Martinez said.  “Living in a border city, we are surrounded by diversity and we welcome it. Physical appearance is nowhere on our minds when recruiting because the way someone looks has absolutely nothing to do with helping an organization be successful.”

Martinez explained the recruitment as a weeklong process consisting of three rounds, or “parties” each night, which provides possible members with a chance to visit each sorority. Each night has a different theme: an open house, a sisterhood night, philanthropy night, preference night and then a bid day. These are some of the events they take part in before the current members make a formal decision of who will become a new member.

“Formal recruitment was the best and most exciting week of my collegiate life,” Martinez said. “There’s no secret to being accepted. Selection is a mutual decision between both the sorority and the potential new member.”

Martinez said her sorority is looking for passionate girls who are willing to dedicate time in their community.

“Being in a sorority takes passion and dedication. We, as Alpha Xi Delta, look for women who are looking to better themselves and our community,” Martinez said. “We also look for women who are willing to commit themselves to our philanthropy. We want women to realize their potential, so that passion and dedication is so important.”

Martinez said everyone who is part of a sorority has to attend a workshop explaining the negative outcomes of hazing.

“We as women, join these sororities to better ourselves and give back to the community, not to humiliate one another or to create a sense of belonging through hazing,” Martinez said.

Coordinator of Student Activities Fraternity and Sorority Life, Alicia Rascon, said she is aware there are  stereotypes about Greek life, but her department is working toward making these organizations safer for every member and for everyone who wants to join.

“I think that a lot of the stereotypes are definitely based off of what we see in mainstream media. Those (stereotypes) focus on some of the negative aspects of fraternities and sorority life, so we definitely take measures to avoid anything not allowed by the university to take place,” Rascon said. “We encourage all students to report any incidents of hazing to avoid this from happening again.”

Arroyo said she thinks more support is needed to increase student involvement at UTEP.

“Greek life makes you have a better experience at college. It’s like athletics, you feel like you belong to your university. I believe that if UTEP encouraged Greek life more, students would happier during their time at the university,” Arroyo said.

For more information about fraternities and sororities, a recruitment fair will take place on Jan. 24 through Jan. 26 at Union Plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Jan. 26, open house information sessions will take place at Union East, first floor at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.

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About the Contributors
Rene Delgadillo, Multimedia Editor
Gaby Velasquez, Photo editor
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What it takes to be part of sorority life