SLU’s Greek Life community housing celebrates unusual unity

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

In the Coronado Place, there is a pretty typical college apartment. But there is something unique about this humble habitat that Maggie Fleming, Allison Schofield and Hayden Dry call home, and it certainly says something about the school they attend.

Fleming, Schofield and Dry are in three different sororities.  But for the second year in a row, they live together, and call each other best friends.

“We have been friends since freshman year, and joining different sororities didn’t change that,” Dry said.

Dry is a member of Delta Gamma, Fleming is the Financial Vice President of Alpha Delta Pi, and Schofield holds the same position for Gamma Phi Beta.

“[Living with my roommates] has given me a chance to get to know women in other chapters,” Fleming said. “The great thing about SLU is that you can be friends with anyone, none of the sororities are really exclusive.”

The fact that these women live together speaks to the inclusive nature of Greek Life at SLU.

Many state schools have houses for their Greek chapters.  Each fraternity and sorority has a house on or near campus, and members of that fraternity or sorority live in that house for a certain number of years.

Scott Jurgenson is a junior at the University of Missouri, where he lives in an apartment with other members of his fraternity.

“When you are a freshman or sophomore living in the house, you pretty much only hang out with your fraternity,” Jurgenson said. “There is a lot of unhealthy competition between houses.  We’ve had people get in fights solely because they are in competing houses.”

At SLU, Greek leaders have worked to prevent these conflicts between various fraternities and sororities.  One method for this is by having Greeks from all chapters live together.

“Our chapters have a unique situation where typically during their sophomore year they are living with individuals from almost every other chapter if they choose to live in DeMattias Hall,” said Kristen Clemens, Program Coordinator in the Student Involvement Center who works directly with Greek Life. “Because of this communal living, the members often have more interaction with members from other chapters.”

Schofield believes this plays a role in preventing cliques, rivalries and exclusivity from Greek Life here.

“Living in DeMatt is a great experience because you get the benefit of Greek housing, and you also get close interaction with people besides just your own chapter,” Schofield said.

Many non-Greeks agree.

“Everybody is friends with everybody here, it doesn’t really matter if you’re in a sorority,” said Stephanie Uhrich, a non-Greek freshman.  “I have a lot of friends in sororities and fraternities, and I don’t feel like that stops us from being friends.”

Greek Life at SLU is set apart not only by the non-exclusive living situation, but also by the religious aspect.

Nick Smith, S.J., who works in Campus Ministry and teaches in the theology department, has worked with Greek organizations for years.  He serves as the faculty advisor for Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Delta Sigma Phi.

“Greek Life provides opportunities that have a theological or spiritual element to help students see how it ties into our Jesuit mission,” Smith said.

Campus Ministry sponsors a Greek Spring Break Mission Trip and has worked with Greek leaders to create GRIP, Greeks Rooted in Prayer, a bible study group for members.

Smith also spoke about how the Catholic identity has been an important part of many chapters at SLU. Sigma Alpha Epsilon offers a chapter mass after meetings. Members of Sigma Phi Epsilon often sit together in College Church for 9:00 p.m. mass on Sundays.Beta Theta Pi organized a candlelight vigil on September 11th.

The spiritual side of these fraternities is unique to SLU, and the service element also speaks to their fulfillment of the Jesuit mission.

“The fraternity and sorority experience should be a positive experience that enhances a student’s educational experience. It is an experience that should be in line with the mission of the University,” Colleen Drazen, Program Coordinator at the Student Involvement Center, said.

While the Jesuit mission is fulfilled through service, spirituality and religion, it is also fulfilled through inclusiveness and acceptance in SLU’s Greek Life.