At the start of every quarter — and most of all, every fall — students looking to enter UCSB Greek Life make their way around Isla Vista, visiting fraternity or sorority houses of their choice as they navigate their way through Rush Week. With nametags displayed on their impeccably assembled outfits and fresh hopes of joining the fraternity or sorority of their choice, many students are looking for a unique UCSB experience they can remember for a lifetime.
With Rush Week having just ended, most of these students will now become ‘pledges’ and begin their initiation into the many Greek organizations of UCSB. But rushing is different for everyone, and for some, the process can be nerve-wracking.
“As a freshman, I didn’t know any of these people. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have somewhere I felt comfortable,” Karen Lee, a second-year political science major and member of Sigma Kappa Pi, said.
On the other hand, some students look forward to this initiation period that is so essential to UCSB Greek Life, and many students say they rush for the experience rather than for the bid.
“I rushed to make friends, to meet new people and join an organization where I know there’s leadership potential,” Malia Malin, a second-year undeclared major and member of Kappa Alpha Theta, said. “The whole rush process was kind of overwhelming, but it was a lot of fun and I met a lot of people.”
Imman Leyberman, a second-year psychology major who helped formed Zeta Beta Tau, a UCSB fraternity, last December, said pledging is great, but, “If not, you just got a week of free food and meeting awesome people.” And while fraternities may spoil their prospective members with tempting free food offerings, freebies — for whatever reason — do not accompany the many rush events of UCSB’s Panhellenic sororities.
Nevertheless, Leyberman said he encourages students to look past common stereotypes of Greek Life as many sororities and fraternities, such as his own, do not live up to these oftentimes negative standards.
“Eighty percent of my frat was against stereotypical Greek life, as it is portrayed in movies and TV, and coming here, they didn’t think they would join a frat to save their life,” he said.
So with the year now in full-swing and pledges safely netted into their respective organizations, here’s a breakdown of what the College Panhellenic Council sororities and Inter-Fraternity Council fraternities are — by their own accounts — best-known for:
• Alpha Chi Omega — Founded in Indiana at DePauw University in 1885, Alpha Chi Omega has historically had a special interest in the fine arts.
• Alpha Delta Pi — Founded in 1851 at Wesleyan Female College, the oldest women’s college in the world, Alpha Delta Pi was the first secret society for college women and sought women who could “commend themselves for their intellectual and moral worth, dignity of character and propriety of deportment.”
• Alpha Epsilon Phi — Alpha Epsilon Phi embraces women valuing friendship, service to the community, and academic achievement, as exemplified by its motto “Multa Corda, Una Causa — Many Hearts, One Purpose.”
• Alpha Phi — Founded at Syracuse University in 1872, the UCSB chapter began in 1950. Its members are dedicated to scholarship, service, sisterhood and kindness.
• Delta Delta Delta — Since its founding in 1888 at Boston University, Delta Delta Delta has actively encouraged the development of women’s fraternities.
• Delta Gamma — Delta Gamma was established in 1873 at the Lewis School for girls in Mississippi. The UCSB chapter began in 1950.
• Gamma Phi Beta — Gamma Phi Beta’s objective since its establishment at Syracuse University in 1874 has been “to develop the highest type of womanhood through education, social life and service to country and humanity” and promotes ideals of love labor, learning, loyalty and leadership.
• Kappa Alpha Theta — The first society for women organized like a fraternity, Kappa Alpha Theta was founded at DePauw University 1870 and formed a UCSB chapter in 1950.
• Kappa Kappa Gamma — Founded at Monmouth College in 1870, Kappa Kappa Gamma came to UCSB in 1978, propounds principles of friendship, love, acceptance and understanding and seeks to instill a spirit of mutual love and helpfulness in obtaining philanthropic, academic, social and moral excellence.
• Pi Beta Phi — The largest of the UCSB sororities, Pi Beta Phi’s members are spirited, excited and committed toward the attainment of the individual’s personal best. It was founded in 1867 and established a UCSB chapter in 1950.
• Alpha Epsilon Pi — Perseverance, mutual helpfulness, faith, humility and honesty characterize the members of Alpha Epsilon Pi. The chapter formed in 1913 at NYU and came to UCSB in 1988.
• Alpha Gamma Omega — A Christian fraternity, Alpha Gamma Omega emphasizes brotherhood, academics, competitiveness in athletics and Christian fellowship.
• Alpha Tau Omega — Alpha Tau Omega attracts members from all over the nation and takes pride in its leaders on campus and in the community. It holds the annual All Sorority Volleyball Tournament among other events.
• Beta Theta Pi — Founded in 1839, members of Beta Theta Pi are academic leaders, participate in intramural and Greek-sponsored sports and volunteer at I.V. Elementary and Coal Oil Point Reserve.
• Delta Tau Delta — Since 1858, Delta Tau Delta has been dedicated to upholding liberty, justice and the American way.
• Phi Sigma Kappa — Founded in 1966, Phi Sigma Kappa is one of the oldest fraternities at UCSB and also boasts one of the largest alumni bases. Its members work hard and play hard.
• Sigma Phi Epsilon — The nation’s largest fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon was founded on the ancient Greek principles of sound mind and sound body and strives to build balanced leaders.
• Sigma Pi — One of the largest fraternities in North America, Sigma Pi was founded in 1897, is closely knit and is the only fraternity in North America with a service project.
• Sigma Nu — Sigma Nu was founded in 1869 at the Virginia Military Institute but is a new arrival to UCSB. It is based on the principles of Love, Honor and Truth.
PHOTOS BY WILLIAM ZHAO