‘Going Greek:’ AU’s faternity and sorority life community


The Collegian

‘Join FSL’ rock found on campus.

Steve Shrenkel, Reporter

As another school year kicks off at Ashland University, a sense of excitement can be felt in the air. From walking along the lines paved with purple and gold, to seeing a towering eagle statue perched with pride, a sense of endless wonder and opportunities can be felt for both returning and new students alike.

This is especially true for Greek Life on campus. A fresh new beginning means the start of recruitment for new fraternity and sorority members for each chapter.

There are four different fraternities and sororities that students can become a part of at AU. Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Kappa Psi and Tau Kappa Epsilon are all the fraternities on campus, while Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Phi, Delta Zeta and Theta Phi Alpha are the sororities.

‘Going Greek’ can be a thrilling and life-changing experience, but what exactly is Fraternity and Sorority Life all about at Ashland?

In the movies, Greek Life is often portrayed as having wild parties, underage drinking and hazing like seen in the movie “Animal House.”

Michael Wolfrum, the Vice President of Membership and Recruitment for the Interfraternity Council, said that joining a fraternity or sorority at Ashland is vastly different than what is commonly portrayed in the media.

“We all strive to make each other better men and women,” Wolfrum said. “What I see it about is finding a sense of community and home and creating a bond with people that mesh together.”

When Wolfrum first arrived on campus back in 2016, he had not planned on joining a fraternity. But when all of his friends from the Kem dorm went Greek, he decided to see what it was about.

“When I came in I was very shy and not really involved in anything,” he said. “I remember all my friends from my dorm joining fraternities, leaving the hall pretty empty, so they convinced me to check it out.”

This was when Wolfrum decided to become a member of Kappa Sigma and he has not looked back since.

“It’s opened so many doors for me through career and leadership opportunities,” he said. “That bond and the lifelong friends you make is the biggest thing you get out of it.”

Dustin Hargis, the Assistant Director of Student Life and head of FSL at AU, relates all too well to Wolfrum’s story.

Like him, Hargis’ life was changed forever when he became a part of the Greek community, he said.

“It’s clear to see how it’s impacted my life,” Hargis said. “I’ve made a career out of it.”

Hargis truly has made lifelong friends out of it, even to this very day, he said.

“You are making a lifelong commitment when you join one of our chapters,” he said. “When I got married a few years ago, four of the groomsmen were fraternity brothers. It’s about the connections and friendships and connections that you make.”

FSL at AU is founded on five different values: brotherhood/sisterhood, scholarship, leadership, service and philanthropy.

“We have these five values and make sure that each chapter upholds them,” Hargis said.

In order to join a fraternity or sorority, each perspective member can register for recruitment on Ashland’s fraternity and sorority web pages on AU’s website.

From there, two different processes will take place, depending on if you plan to join a fraternity or sorority.

For fraternities, it is a two week process from Sept. 3-14. In that process, men can expect to tour houses, while also attending different events hosted by chapters.

Some events include free chipotle, mini golf or even ‘Teke’ Ball where recruits can meet the members of different chapters and see if it is the right fit for them.

“You can expect to meet a lot of great guys during this process,” Wolfrum said. “I recommend going to as many different chapter events as possible. The more people you interact with, the better fit you’ll find.”

For sororities, the process is a little different and more formal.

There are three nights of recruitment from Sept. 19-22 where women are matched with recruitment guides that help guide them through party events before a best fit possible is decided for the perspective member and they ‘run home’ to their chapter.

Rebecca Fijalkovich, the Panhellenic Council president, said that a big part of this process is being matched with your big sister, since every new member that joins is considered a ‘little.’

“They’re suppose to be a guide and mentor to push you to be the best that you can be,” she said.

The Panhellenic Council and Interfraternity Council make sure recruitment for new members runs smoothly each year.

For both fraternities and sororities, each member must receive a bid which they can either accept or deny on bid day.

There are a few different requirements that a student must meet to officially become a part of a chapter, Hargis said.

“Every chapter has slightly different requirements,” he said. “All of them do have GPA and service requirements to meet to go along with weekly chapter meetings once you join.”

Even if you go through the complete process, there is no pressure to commit to a chapter at all, Hargis said.

“The worst that can happen is you meet some new people and then maybe make some friends out of it,” he said.

If joining a chapter is something that a student decides to do, they then become a new member of that chapter where they learn all about what it stands for and their key values.

There are many events to look forward to when joining a chapter, including two key events that bring the entire FSL community together.

Every fall, the FSL community hosts a ‘Greek Lip Sync’ where fraternities and sororities get together and put on a lip syncing show for the other chapters.

“That’s honestly my favorite event for the year,” Wolfrum said. “The number one reason we do it is to raise money for St. Jude’s.”

The other key event happens in the spring with Greek Week.

This is a week-long celebration of fraternities and sororities, Hargis said.

“We do Greek Week in the spring to celebrate the community as a whole to highlight the year,” he said.

Something that sets AU apart from other universities with a Greek presence is the fact that it’s a smaller campus, Matt Giffin, Ashland’s Interfraternity Council president said.

“One thing that strengthens our bond is that Ashland is a smaller campus,” Giffin said. “It’s not like what you really see at the bigger universities.”

Fijalkovich stresses that it is truly nothing like seen in movies, especially when it comes to hazing, she said.

“On a real level, there truly is no hazing,” she said. “Regardless of how big of a university we are, we don’t stand for that. The culture here is so much different than at other universities.”

They make sure they always do the right thing, Giffin said.

“We host educational forums every year on hazing, sexual assault and underage drinking,” he said.

Fijalkovich said that she likes to think of hazing in terms of whether or not you would hurt another family member.

For both Giffin and Fijalkovich, joining their respective chapters is something that has impacted their lives forever.

“I remember telling my parents that I would never join a fraternity but then ended up going to an interest night and liked it,” Giffin said. “It was one of the greatest choices I’ve made in my life.”

Fijalkovich does not know what she would have done if she had never ended up joining her sorority, she said.

“I don’t have any biological brothers or sisters and I knew absolutely no one when I first went to AU,” Fijalkovich said.

Both have words of advice for prospective members that are ready to take part in the process beginning very soon.

“I always say why not, what’s the worst that can happen,” Fijalkovich said. “If you do join, try to have as many friends in different chapters as you can. It’s all about a personal journey.”

If you are even the slightest bit interested, you should go through the recruitment process, Giffin said.

“I recommend everyone at least checks it out,” he said. “The worst that can happen is you meet some new people.”

It truly is a lifelong journey, Fijalkovich said. “You’re a brother or sister for life.”