Multicultural greek life welcomes Rider students

By Asia McGill

As a campus tradition, Meet the Greeks made its return on Oct. 14, located on the Campus Green. This event showcased a variety of organizations from Greek life, accompanied by stroll, step and salute performances. 

Eight multicultural sororities and fraternities were featured at the event as well as some guest organizations from other universities.

Informational tables lined down the field with each organization along with its members available to introduce themselves to interested students and passerbys.

“To me, Greek life means being able to show off the culture of Greek life, the culture of our fraternity… and to show everyone what Greek life is really about,” said senior business data analytics major Noah Bernstein. 

Bernstein is a member of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity Inc., which won the Chapter of the Year Award, Bernstein said, “The most prestigious award an organization can achieve.”

Each organization shared similar stories of how they joined Greek life, like junior criminal justice major Cassandra Shummy who, like many, never imagined for it to become such a meaningful aspect of her life. 

“When I came on to campus as a freshman at the height of Covid-19, campus was kind of dead… I went to one informational [event] and the ladies that were there, they just made me feel so welcome,” Shummy said.

Becoming a member of an organization often generates deep connections and an overall sense of community. 

“Since joining Greek life I met a lot of cool people from [Rider] and other campuses in New Jersey, and honestly people from all around the country,” said Tyler Approvato, a senior information systems major and president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. 

These connections within organizations are what members refer to as brotherhood and sisterhood, which stand as a consistent theme throughout each fraternity and sorority.

“Our principles are scholarship, service, sisterhood and finer womanhood,” said senior sociology major Carly Bethea-Fuller. Bethea-Fuller explained the importance of womanhood and carrying yourself properly, “It means a lot to me,” she said.

The message of womanhood and women’s empowerment spreads widely across sororities and commonly is used as a pillar for Greek life women.

“We believe in educating, elevating and empowering all women,” said senior public relations major Natalie Minguia. “We take education very seriously and we try to implement that as well as professionalism.”

As the time for the show approached, organizations left their informational tables as the event they all prepared for what was beginning soon.

The show began at around 6 p.m. as the crowd quickly filled up to the front of the stage. Students gathered before the platform as colorful strobe lights cascaded across the field and vibrations from the music danced throughout campus. 

The first performance was by special guest fraternity Omega Psi Phi, strolling underneath a purple and gold strobe light to symbolize their colors. Strolling and stepping is a cultural tradition that originated from historically Black organizations within Greek life, and is utilized as a symbol of respect, power, and unity. Organizations that participate in this style of performance are recognized as the Divine 9.

“I feel like it’s very important to be in a Black sorority, especially at a PWI [predominantly white institution]… it’s finding your people… it’s very important to be in a D9 [Divine 9] sorority to me,” said senior elementary education major Danielle McClish. 

The show progressed with dancing and chanting from more organizations, along with audience dance breaks encouraged by hosts Omar Ortiz and Ohene Sah-Adubofour.

The crowd stuck it through the night as the temperature dropped to a low of 49 degrees, but it did not seem to bother audience members who continued to dance along with Greek members.

Meet the Greeks came to a close with the last stroll performed by Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., along with a dance battle of audience members called to the stage.

For any students interested in becoming a member of a Greek organization, please visit the school website under “How to Get Involved,” or visit the social media page of an organization.

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