As the Lawrenceville Student Government Association (SGA) Secretary, it is my constitutional duty to serve as the historian. I also serve as the SGA liaison to the Inter-Fraternal Council and Pan-Hellenic Council as per the constitution. Combining the efforts required of the two duties mentioned above, I’ve recently found out about a time period where Rider’s past Greek community can inspire the current one. The current Greek community obviously faces challenges to its survival after the loss of 60 percent of its fraternities in the past three years. How can Greek Life recover from this? Many might think that it’s inevitable that fraternities will disappear from Rider’s campus in a few years or less. What needs to be understood is that each fraternity was closed down for different reasons, and that in the past, Rider’s Greek Life was close to extinction yet survived the troubled times to thrive.
In the late 1980s, Rider College was down to three fraternities and sororities apiece from five and four respectively. Phi Sigma Kappa, Phi Kappa Tau and Zeta Beta Tau were the only fraternities remaining after Delta Zeta, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Theta Chi lost their charters for various reasons. Yet, over the next decade, Greek Life expanded and became an increasingly large presence on campus. Alpha Epsilon Pi was chartered in 1990. Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority was chartered in 1994. Sigma Phi Epsilon’s chapter was founded at Rider in 1996 and Tau Kappa Epsilon was re-colonized in 2004 and granted its charter just last year.
After a successful Friday the 13th Bid Day, Greek Life has a lot to look forward to. There is a plan for expansion of fraternity life, and groups of students have approached members of the Greek Life administration asking about starting a fraternity. Many of our campus’s young leaders are members of Greek organizations, while some of the campus’s most prestigious leadership positions are also held by Greeks. While not everyone appreciates or respects the Greek community — which I admit is sometimes the product of poor behavior that occurs from time to time — I’m proud that I can reasonably expect Greek Life to rebound over the next few years to again regain its presence on campus. Being a part of a Greek organization offers dozens of benefits, from networking opportunities to a steady intramural team; joining a Greek organization usually means you’ve joined a group of like-minded individuals who are striving for similar goals. The benefits of brotherhood and sisterhood are often buried under the newspaper headlines chronicling the mistakes of some who tarnish the reputation of all. Often we forget how we all make mistakes, but the best thing about mistakes is that you can learn from them and grow wiser and stronger.
Despite the trouble the current Greek community faces, those within know that it will continue to be the source of friendship, fun and personal development it always has been. Positively or not, history often repeats itself and this situation certainly seems to have potential for such an occurrence. As District Attorney Harvey Dent says in The Dark Knight when describing the particularly troublesome time his city is facing, “The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.” I look forward to the promise that the darkness that Greek Life faces right now will see its dawn come soon.
Secondary Education, Class of 2010
Lawrenceville SGA Secretary ’08-’09
Member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity