Menu Down Arrows

Search

Download Magazine

View or download the print version of the magazine. PDF icon

Spring 2018 Download Cover
Greek

What’s different about Greek life at Wofford?

Greek life at Wofford College is about leading, serving and learning in the fellowship of others.

Dr. Dave Pittman ’94, professor of psychology and faculty adviser of Kappa Sigma fraternity, left the Kappa Sigma 70th Biennial Grand Conclave in July eager to come back to Wofford and share the good news. Wofford’s Alpha Nu chapter, founded 125 years ago, collected 10 major awards for leadership, scholarship and service.

Also this summer...

Pi Kappa Phi brothers Steven Bendziewicz ’16 and Joe James ’16 participated in their national fraternity’s Ability Experience Journey of Hope cross-country bicycle ride to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities. The chapter also received recognition for exceeding national standards of growth, philanthropy, retention and branding.

Zeta Tau Alpha received five awards at its national leadership conference, including awards for highly commendable GPA, helping other chapters across the state and the Crown Chapter award for meeting international standards of overall excellence. The group also was busy planning its seventh annual Shag-A-Thon to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and education.

The Walker Foundation, the fundraising arm of the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind (SCSDB), presented Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity with the Hearts and Hands Award for their extraordinary service. PKA established the Hornet Hoops 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament in 2010 to raise funds for the athletics program at SCSDB. Each year the tournament provides needed equipment, uniforms and travel funds and allows SCSDB students to participate in the tournament alongside Wofford students. The Wofford Nu Chapter also received the Raymond L. Orians Chapter Excellence Award from nationals this summer.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As Wofford Greek-life organizations plan to move into new houses in the spring, their leaders are continuing the work that makes the sorority and fraternity scene at Wofford different.

WOFFORD STUDENTS FIRST

Emily Seaton ’16, president of Wofford’s Panhellenic Council, the governing body of sororities, says that Greek life at Wofford always has been different because students affiliated with Greek-letter organizations are Wofford students first.

“Here, members from different sororities and fraternities can come together and be friends. We are all a part of the Wofford family,” says Seaton, who didn’t know anyone when she came to Wofford. Her sorority experience helped her find family, both within her sorority and beyond. To her, community is a hallmark of the Greek-life experience, but that’s the part that in many other places draws the most criticism.

Pittman admits that Greek life has dominated national headlines, and too often the accompanying stories have been negative. Unfortunately, says Pittman, individual Greek-life members have misunderstood their responsibilities and used community bonding and fellowship as an opportunity for unruly or inappropriate behavior. That’s not what he sees at Wofford.

“Greek life at Wofford is much more than Friday and Saturday night parties. It is an exemplary model for developing young men and women citizen leaders,” says Pittman. “Wofford is different. The fellowship events are secondary to the genuine bonds that develop between brothers from different walks of life. For example, mirroring Wofford College’s incorporation of greater diversity, Kappa Sigma boasts a diverse membership of young men, including multiple ethnicities—African American, South Asian, Hispanic and Caucasian—and religious beliefs ranging from Christian to Muslim among brothers. The academic interests of the brothers are broad as well. They’re studying for careers in medicine, law, education, business, finance, even service in the military through Wofford’s Army ROTC program.”

ANCHORED WITH SERVICE

Sara Futch ’16, president of Delta Delta Delta, believes that the focus on service sets Greek life at Wofford apart. Her sorority raises money to support children’s cancer research through St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The sorority held an auction during Family Weekend called Bids for Kids. It also will host the annual Tri Delta Triple Play, a kickball tournament that will be held on Oct. 16. Last year Tri Delta raised more than $43,000 for St. Jude.

“I know when we all teamed up for Greek Week we raised a significant amount of money for Special Olympics,” she says. “I love seeing other members of Greek life at our philanthropy events and attending theirs in turn.”

Jamie Inabinet ’16, president of Pi Kappa Phi and treasurer of the Interfraternity Council, is proud of the fact that his fraternity has its own philanthropy, the Ability Experience, formerly PUSH America. Inabinet came to Wofford with no plans of pledging a fraternity, but meeting Pi Kappa Phi brothers and learning about the organization’s service initiatives changed his mind.

“Fraternities at Wofford seem to be more in tune with their philanthropies,” says Inabinet. “We even had a senior who joined our fraternity just so he could participate in the Journey of Hope. He was a great brother and brought a lot to the table... and he joined for service reasons.”

According to Inabinet, who was recently selected to serve on the National Council of Archons (a group of the 12 highest ranking national members), when it comes to service all Wofford fraternities and sororities share a cooperative spirit. Pi Kappa Phi participates each year in Kappa Sigma’s 5K for Karl race, which raises money for a scholarship to Wofford in memory of Karl Alexander, who died while he was a student. In turn, other Greek-life organizations joined Pi Kappa Phi’s recent bike-a-thon, which was plugged into the college’s “First 54” (days) orientation initiative to give first-year students a taste of service early on in their Wofford experience.

ENCOURAGING ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

During the spring 2015 semester, every Greek-letter organization except for one exceeded the non-Greek GPA. Each fraternity or sorority has a different title for it, but every organization has someone on its executive committee dedicated to helping sisters or brothers achieve academic success.

For Tri Delta, that person is the academic chair, who works with sisters on study strategies, finding tutors and taking advantage of the opportunities for help across campus. Many fraternities require study hall attendance for new members or for those struggling academically, and most Wofford chapters earn recognition each year nationally for scholarship.

According to Chad Sanders, president of Pi Kappa Alpha, older brothers serve as mentors and tutors to build a foundation for academic success.

“We believe that if we teach new members how to be gentlemen and scholars and show that things like honesty and integrity really go a long way, then success will come easily,” he says. 

LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Michael Siegel, president of Kappa Sigma, says that being in a fraternity gave him a sense of purpose.

“The guys of Kappa Sigma have gotten behind me and driven me to do bigger things,” says Siegel. “I transferred from Clemson and wasn’t sure about fitting in here. Because of my fraternity I’m a peer mentor for Transitions and have served as an at-large delegate for Campus Union. I’m also heavily involved in our fundraising efforts for military heroes. My fraternity has provided an amazing network and so many opportunities for leadership.”

Inabinet tells a similar story about the “uncommon opportunities” offered because of his involvement in Greek life. For example, he helped his fraternity raise $400,000 in six weeks to build a new home in the Greek Village.

“Not every college student can put that on a résumé,” he says. “I’ve been exposed to so many opportunities for leadership, decision-making and growth because I’m in a fraternity. When I graduate in May, I know with confidence from my experiences at Wofford that I can hold my own in the business world.” 

THE BEST IS YET TO COME

The new Greek Village, located on the corner of Evins and Cumming streets across from Gibbs Stadium and Main Building, will feature a multipurpose pavilion and common green space. The green will join all Greek-letter organizations and will open the Greek Village to other, non-Greek student organizations. Any student group on campus can use this common area.

“I think that the new Greek Village will help further the sense of community at Wofford,” says Seaton.

Futch expects the new Tri Delta house in the Greek Village to help the sorority expand both philanthropy and sisterhood events. She also says the new house will be used for study groups as well as chapter meetings.

“We are already making plans to use the house for recruitment, alumnae events and philanthropic parties,” says Anna Aguillard ’16, president of Zeta Tau Alpha. “Zeta is very excited to have our own house on campus.”

According to Aguillard, the whole point of a sorority or fraternity is to create a place of support, encouragement and accountability. “We are required to participate in service hours each month so that we learn the nobility of serving. We are required to participate in other organizations on campus so that we learn to think in terms of all mankind. Not only are we held to strict academic and social standards, but we are provided with the tools necessary to better ourselves in both categories.”

The success of Greek life at Wofford—of each sorority and fraternity—is dependent upon the success of each individual member. The same could be said for the college and each individual student. The focus on each individual student sets Wofford apart, and it sets Greek life at Wofford apart as well.

“Just like Wofford College is a special environment seeking to be a premier, innovative and distinctive national liberal arts college defined by excellence, engagement and transformation, so, too, is Greek life at Wofford a special environment seeking to instill values of leadership and service while supporting academic excellence and fellowship,” says Pittman. “Greek life at Wofford College is about leading, serving and learning in the fellowship of others.”

 

Philanthropies:

Delta Delta Delta
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 

Kappa Alpha Order
Muscular Dystrophy Association

Kappa Alpha Psi
Scholarships, after-school programs, local community support

Kappa Alpha Theta
Court Appointed Special Advocates 

Kappa Delta
Girl Scouts; Prevent Child Abuse America 

Kappa Sigma
Military Heroes, Karl Alexander Endowed Scholarship Fund

Omega Psi Phi
Education and other local initiatives

Pi Kappa Alpha
South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind 

Pi Kappa Phi
Ability Experience

Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Habitat for Humanity; Children’s Miracle Network

Sigma Nu
St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic 

Zeta Tau Alpha
Breast cancer education and awareness