Growing up, political science and public policy major Fernando Martinez ’19 would watch movies about college and note the camaraderie of fraternity life. “I knew I wanted that experience when I got to college,” says Martinez, who today is a member of Kappa Sigma Sigma and who served as Inter-Fraternity Council president for the last fall’s semester.
Greek life is more than just fun at Redlands, says Tiffani Moorehead ’19, spring semester president of the University’s Panhellenic Council and Alpha Sigma Pi member. “My chapter involvements helped me become a leader and participate on campus. ... I held 13 positions in my sorority and was the Panhellenic recruitment chair before I became president.”
Social Greek life has existed at Redlands for more than 100 years, and for Redlands students, the appeal of Greek organizations lies in being able to enhance leadership skills and alumni connections, perform community service, and excel in academics within an established, close-knit brother- or sisterhood.
Greek organizations at U of R are local (unaffiliated with national chapters), so fraternities and sororities do everything—set up events, fundraise, and recruit—as standalone chapters. Members believe that local organization leads to stronger traditions, more loyalty, and enhanced mentorship, as well as the freedom and responsibility of self-governance.
Greek Council leaders such as Moorehead and Martinez act as liaisons between their organizations and the administration, co-hosting weekly Greek council meetings, and making sure Rush—a biannual event in which sororities and fraternities recruit new members—goes smoothly.
Therese Karnes ’19, a member of Alpha Theta Phi and Moorehead’s predecessor as president of the University’s Panhellenic Council, emphasizes the many opportunities for connecting with mentors through Greek life: “In my sorority, a group of four or five [alumni advisors] are our lifelines and our advocates. They give us all advice that we need.”
The biggest benefit of being a Greek, Karnes says, is being part of an organization that's bigger than you. “As a leader you have to govern your friends and make tough decisions. That experience has been invaluable.”
Alumni visits are also valued; when Martinez sees alumni at the fraternity house pointing to their names on the wall and telling their stories, he says, “It makes us realize that one day we’ll come back, too, and see how much our organization has changed and prospered.”
Learn more about Greek life at the University of Redlands.