By Nick Schleh, Staff Writer
Despite the decline of Greek life nationwide in recent years, two active sororities at USM still exist and continue to work in helping their community and provide a platform for students to make lasting bonds. Alpha Xi Delta and Kappa Iota or as they are nationally known, Kappa Delta Phi National Affiliated Sorority are the remaining chapters at USM and together make up over 50 students.
U.S. News published an article last year questioning if Greek life is worth saving. However the sororities at USM are working to not follow that pattern, they are growing stronger and building communities of young women preparing for the professional word.
“It has definitely made me more confident in myself,” said Emma Dolan, President of Alpha Xi Delta, about her experiences with Greek Life. Dolan heads the organizational structure of Alpha Xi Delta. She oversees the weekly chapter meetings, philanthropy events, and the various fundraisers every year where all of the proceeds go towards Autism Speaks. Alpha Xi Delta is a national sponsor of Autism Speaks, an organization that strives to increase a global understanding acceptance of autism.
Their fundraisers consist of events at Chipotle, kickball tournaments, dinners and their biggest fundraiser “Xi Man,” a male pageant where they simultaneously entertain those in attendance and educate them about autism awareness.
Kappa Iota upholds similar values, Karless Paradis, president of the sorority said. “Philanthropy is one of the pillars that our national organization was built on,” she said. “We like to spread the love, so we get involved in as many local philanthropic organizations as we can.”
Paradis said that she is optimistic about the future of Greek life at USM. “From raising money for important causes, running community events, rallying around our brothers, sisters and community members during times of crisis and loss, we are just capable of doing so much good, and I would be devastated to see USM lose any means to provide their students opportunities to do good out there in the world.”
David Lewis, the faculty advisor for Greek life at USM said that an important part of the college experience is to meet new people and grow as a person.“It’s becoming a part of a group on campus… working together to put on events on campus,” Lewis said. “It’s such a big part of college; having a group of students that you are so strongly connected with being a brother or a sister…it’s an awesome experience for students.”
Dolan said in despite of stereotypical views of Greek life, none of her sisters post pictures of partying because that’s not the sorority’s purpose.
“We represent something bigger than ourselves when we wear our letters,” she said. Dolan thinks that Alpha Xi Delta is definitely more community oriented, “It’s about making friends, a sisterhood of people that I have. I’ve met my best friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It brings people together based on the values that we have.” The values Alpha XI Delta holds strong are sisterhood, knowledge, leadership and service, according to Dolan. “It’s about friendship…people who will push us to be the best that we can be,” said Dolan.
Both sororities feel that the USM community benefits from their presence. “Kappas are always ready and willing to lend a helping hand, we are often recognized by others for our kindness,” Paradis said, “which is something that makes me endlessly proud, as both a sister, and as president.”
There are fewer pledges each year at the remaining sorority chapters. Kappa Iota has 11 active members and Alpha Xi Delta has 40 members.
Paradis said that while it’s stressful being president of the Kappa Iota sorority, it’s a position that means a lot to her. “It means so much to me to have the opportunity to put in hard work to maintaining a chapter that myself and my sisters, past and present, care so very deeply about,” she said.
Dolan also added that their chapter has a close relationship with the national chapter. She has gone to Washington D.C. to meet other sisters from around the country. Dolan’s favorite part of her experience in Greek life has been the relationships made, “It’s not just for four years, it’s for life.”