Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Greek Life

Lauren M. Catalano packs her books and prepares for a 25-minute drive to FAU’s Boca Campus from her Coral Springs home. A purple T-shirt with the words “Delta Phi Epsilon” across her chest hide her small figure, and her short brown hair is tied back in place with a purple ribbon.

“I look like your stereotypical sorority girl, don’t I?” Catalano said jokingly. “People always ask me where I go to school, and they’re surprised when I tell them FAU. Not many people are aware that there are sororities and fraternities on campus.”

FAU currently has 21 Greek-lettered organizations. Members of sororities and fraternities say they are working to attract more participants.

Florida Atlantic University, with 26,000 students, has predominantly been a commuter school since it’s opening in 1964. FAU was originally founded as an institute of higher learning, which did not admit freshmen and sophomores. It was not until 1984 that FAU became a four-year university. Since 1985, when the first Greek chapter was chartered, Greek life on campus has been growing.

According to the Greek Affairs department there are nine sororities and 12 fraternities, with roughly 640 members. Currently four-percent of the students on the Boca Raton campus participate in Greek organizations.

Michelle Reis, president of Delta Phi Epsilon, explains, “There are four governing councils which house all 21 fraternities and sororities: IFC, NPC, NPHC and MGC. These stand for the Inter Fraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council.”

She notes, “In addition to the four existing councils, there is an umbrella organization called the FAU Inter-Greek Council, which consists of the executive board from each council. The Inter-Greek Council promotes good relationships among all sororities and fraternities as well as with the University.”

Daphne St. Val, Coordinator of Greek Affairs, said that students thinking of joining should be happy about having a Greek community that’s relatively young. She notes that the students who are now a part of the Greek organizations are making history and setting the path for future students.

“I rushed because I saw all the girls in the Breezeway and all of them looked like they were having so much fun together,” Catalano said. “I’m from here. I’m a commuter student so I wanted to add something to my college experience. I think more people should get involved in Greek life. It’s been a really positive experience for me.”

She explains that her sorority is very involved on campus and participates often in community service activities such as the Heart Walk. She said that she is proud to be a part of an organization working to better the lives of young women. “I can only hope that in the future more people can learn about Greek life. It’s almost like a family,” Catalano said.

Both fraternities and sororities on campus participate in several community service programs such as Relay for Life, sponsorship of educational workshops, Dance Marathon, raising funds for Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and street cleanups. Members also participate in national programs such as Habitat for Humanity and March of Dimes.

Michael Miele, a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, said, “I like being in a fraternity. It’s added so much to my life. I’ve made life-long friends, and I’ve been given several opportunities that I wouldn’t have been given otherwise, such as leadership positions and being a part of Student Government.”

Miele hopes that Greek life will expand at FAU. He said, “We need more help from the administration, and it would be nice to have more Greek-friendly professors, and it would be great to have Greek houses on campus.” Miele added, “Sororities and fraternities are not given any funds. We are independent, but we are working hard to get funds from Student Government.”

Reis said, “Building frat and sorority houses is the ultimate goal. What the school is waiting for is retention rates. Once all fraternities and sororities can hold up to 40 members for three years, they will consider building houses.”

“Going Greek is something that we are really trying to push. It’s about having the chance to be the best on campus. Greek life emphasizes scholastic achievement, philanthropic and community service activities, leadership positions, athletic competition and social growth,” said St. Val, a native of Haiti who assumed her post in December 2002.

The coordinator, who is a graduate of Simmons College in Boston and has a master’s degree in education from Barry University, said more events are being planned to inform students about Greek life. “This is something that we really want to see take off and hopefully it will get bigger and bigger with each year.”

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