Greek Life Continuing to Grow and Thrive on Campus
By Eric Breier
Nick Krueger considers himself lucky to have found a perfect fit when he pledged a fraternity at Cal State San Marcos in fall 2016.
It was during Krueger’s second year on campus and he had just two options. Fortunately for Krueger, he felt at home with one of those choices and joined Sigma Chi.
While Krueger is grateful that it worked out, he is glad current and future CSUSM students have more options to find a place that suits them – and those options are increasing.
“I joined for the brotherhood and to be more involved on campus,” said Krueger, who will graduate in May with a bachelor’s in economics and a minor in business marketing. “I was lucky because I fit into one of the two options. That’s why it’s good that there are more types of organizations coming on. There is a different culture in each organization.”
Future expansion has already been approved for four additional multicultural organizations, including an Asian Pacific Islander Desi American sorority; a black Greek letter sorority or National Pan-Hellenic Council sorority; a Latina sorority; and a Latino fraternity.
“We’re really mindful of ensuring that we have all of the group types that we need and that students want,” said Megan Ceppi, CSUSM’s coordinator of Fraternity & Sorority Life.
Greek life was established at CSUSM in 1994 and has grown to more than 800 members, or about 5% of the student population. Recruitment, which is held at the beginning of each semester, is open to students who have completed at least 12 college units, carry a minimum 2.5 grade-point average, are enrolled in at least six units at CSUSM and are in good standing with the university.
CSUSM has established six pillars that are considered critical to each Greek organization’s success:
- Leadership development;
- Intellectual development;
- Service to others and community impact;
- Diversity and inclusion;
- Fraternity and sorority life community development and lifelong membership; and
- Organizational standards and chapter operations.
The university’s Greek organizations are thriving when it comes to living up to those values. CSUSM fraternities and sororities completed more than 13,300 service hours and raised more than $155,000 in the last academic year. Both were increases of about 6% compared to the previous year.
“They’re some of the top organizations in the country for their respective groups,” Ceppi said. “That’s always something that I’m proud of – they’ll come back from their national conventions and have won awards that put them in the top five in the country.”
“I’ve gotten a lot out of it as far as leadership development,” added Krueger, who is CSUSM’s Greek Leadership Council president. “And the feeling of giving back to the community and the philanthropy work that we do is really awesome.”
CSUSM’s excellent track record certainly caught the attention of Gamma Phi Beta, which examines a variety of factors when determining whether to start a chapter at a university. Among those factors are the academic profile of an institution and support for fraternity and sorority life.
“We want to join campuses where we can provide a positive member experience and ensure the success of our chapter,” said Jennifer Attard, sorority growth manager at Gamma Phi Beta International Headquarters. “We felt strongly that all these factors were met at CSUSM.”
A similar sentiment was expressed by Delta Sigma Phi.
“We identified Cal State San Marcos as a growing campus community and a continuously emerging academic institution,” said Ry Beck, director of fraternity growth for Delta Sigma Phi. “Fraternity and sorority life have gotten off to a really good start over the last couple of decades, and we just thought this was a great place for us to call home.”
Both Delta Sigma Phi and Gamma Phi Beta have been working closely with CSUSM staff over the past few years to determine the most appropriate time to join the university’s Greek community.
Each organization has had representatives on campus this spring to provide information and recruit potential members, and Gamma Phi Beta hosted its Bid Day on Feb. 23 to celebrate the charter members of its CSUSM chapter.
“Our mission is to build confident women of character who celebrate sisterhood and make a difference in the world around us,” Attard said. “We are so excited to have the opportunity to advance our mission at CSUSM and in the San Marcos community. Gamma Phi Beta provides an enduring connection for women who are strong alone, but stronger together.”
Delta Sigma Phi will continue to have representatives tabling on campus over the next month, with a goal of launching the CSUSM chapter with 25-40 members.
“Delta Sigma Phi has a longstanding history of inclusivity,” Beck said. “When it comes to building fraternity, we’re really hoping to build a diverse group. We are looking for students of all ages, all backgrounds, all different interests and majors.
“We’re excited to be a part of the fraternity and sorority community at Cal State San Marcos, but beyond that, we hope that we're a value add to the different things students find interesting and helpful from the university experience.”
More information is available online about the CSUSM chapters of Delta Sigma Phi and Gamma Phi Beta, and students can also learn more through the groups’ social media channels (@DeltaSigmaPhiCSUSM and @CSUSMGammaPhi).
“Delta Sigma Phi and Gamma Phi Beta are such a great addition to the community here and a great fit for CSUSM,” Ceppi said. “We’re very excited.”
Visit the Fraternity & Sorority Life website for more information on Greek life at CSUSM.
Eric Breier, Public Affairs Specialist
firstname.lastname@example.org | Office: 760-750-7314