With the start of the spring semester, CSUSM’s fraternity and sorority community is nearly doubling with the addition of three new colonies: Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Psi Rho and Nu Alpha Kappa.

“We are excited about the new energy and new opportunities that these organizations will provide for students interested in establishing bonds of lifelong brotherhood and sisterhood,” said Julie Mattingly, associate director for Student Life and Leadership. “Our new organizations will continue to reflect our common commitment to the values of academics, service, lifelong learning and creating a new and dynamic Greek experience for students at CSUSM.”

Currently about 280 students are members of the University’s recognized fraternities and sororities, accounting for nearly four percent of CSUSM undergraduates. The Greek community coordinates its activities through the Greek Leadership Council, a governing board with delegates from each fraternity and sorority, and two Greek honor societies, including Order of the Omega and Gamma Sigma Alpha.

Much more than a social entity, Greek life offers leadership development, promotes high academic standards, provides networking opportunities and strongly supports philanthropic endeavors, said Ofelia Torres, president of the Greek Leadership Council and member of Alpha Pi Sigma. Last fall, the University’s Greek community collectively donated more than $22,000 to nonprofit organizations like Autism Speaks, the Center for Community Solutions and the Children’s Miracle Network.

Greek life first took root at CSUSM in 1996 with the chartering of two sororities, Alpha Xi Delta and Alpha Chi Omega. Fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon joined the campus in 1999. The Greek population on campus has more than doubled in the last five years with the addition of Zeta Beta Tau, a Jewish based fraternity, and Alpha Pi Sigma, a Latina-based sorority, in the spring of 2007.

Two years ago, a feasibility study was conducted to measure the capacity and student interest to grow the Greek community. As a result of the study, campus officials were able to identify criteria by which to select the new organizations through a formal expansion/extension process, which took place last summer.

Because each organization has a different focus and charitable interest, the addition of three new chapters at CSUSM will increase diversity in philanthropic projects and attract students interested in finding a perfect fit within the Greek community, explained Mattingly.

“It’s rewarding to see our Greek community grow,” added Torres. “I value the diversity that our new sorority and fraternities will bring to our University and current Pan-Hellenic organizations.”

Two of the three incoming colonies are former student organizations. The Latino Community Organization, known for hosting the children’s carnival KidsFest, is transitioning to Nu Alpha Kappa, a Latino-based fraternity with twelve chapters nationwide. The colony of Alpha Psi Rho originates from the student organization “Brotherhood Academics Prosperity and Strength” (BAPS), which stands for the four core beliefs of the Asian Pacific-Islander-based fraternity. Alpha Omicron Pi is the new sorority on campus, and will recruit founding members in March of this year.

Although two of the organizations have a cultural focus, recruitment and membership is not limited to specific ethnicities. The value of diversity and inclusion is emphasized across the Greek community at CSUSM.

“We believe that brotherhood isn’t just one color,” said Marvin Gomez, president of the Alpha Psi Rho colony. “Our fraternity promotes diversity and multiculturalism while celebrating the Asian Pacific-Islander culture.”

Campus officials are also preparing to add a colony of Sigma Chi, an international men’s fraternity, during next spring’s formal recruitment period. That addition in 2013, pending successful colonizations taking place this spring, will bring the total count to five fraternities and four sororities.

Students and the campus community can learn more about Greek life at the Fraternity and Sorority Fair on the Forum, which features games, carnival activities and informational booths, during U-hour on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

For more information on Greek Life at CSUSM, contact Student Life & Leadership at 760-750-4952.

Students and the campus community can learn more about Greek life at the Fraternity and Sorority Fair on the Forum, which features games, carnival activities and informational booths, during U-hour on Tuesday, Feb. 7.