Expansion of the Greek life community at USD

University of San Diego Greek life continues to grow, adding two new chapters this spring


With over one fourth of the University of San Diego community involved in Greek Life, its presence on campus is difficult to ignore. USD is home to 14 Greek fraternities and sororities, having gained two new chapters this semester alone.
While Greek life has always been prominent on campus, its community seems to be expanding at an exponential rate, with this year’s Spring Recruitment drawing in the biggest numbers the campus has ever seen. Whether this is due to the nature of the new students, or a good marketing strategy by the sororities and fraternities, there is no denying the Greek system has been gaining momentum.
With Pi Beta Phi and Pi Kappa Phi having just joined the ranks, Greek life is transitioning from a relatively small system to a community encompassing hundreds of people.
Freshman Catherine Thatcher is new to the Greek community, but is already seeing its impact on her life.
“I’ve always wanted to be in Greek life, my mom and grandma were both in sororities and they said it was a really good experience for them,” Thatcher said. “I joined at USD because I wanted a bigger group of people than I had found first semester. I think Greek life at USD is a big part of campus life, and can make a big difference if you chose to participate.”
Thatcher continued to talk about her personal Greek life experience at USD.
“So far I’ve really enjoyed being in Greek life; it has given me a chance to get to know so many more people here and feel connected to the school as a whole.”
This feeling of inclusion is a major factor for many considering becoming part of the Greek community. Additionally, many students enjoy the new opportunities to become involved that often come with joining a fraternity or sorority. Accompanying this increase in participants within the Greek system, the events and activities the Greek system is putting on are growing in both number and size.
Several Greek sponsored philanthropy events have occurred in the past few weeks, including Kappa Delta’s Shamrock and Roll lip sync, and Alpha Chi Omega and Phi Gamma Delta’s over the line tournament.
Additionally, Delta Tau Delta will host their annual philanthropy event, Delt Dodgeball this week, and Alpha Delta Pi is starting a month-long philanthropy event collecting pop tabs from soda cans to support the Ronald McDonald House.
Sophomore Sarah Kim, a member of Kappa Delta, is excited by the success of Shamrock and Roll this year, and has loved watching her relatively new chapter grow.
“It has been very exciting watching Kappa Delta and watching it grow and expand while I’ve been a part of the organization,” Kim said. “I am proud of everything we have accomplished so far and consider KD to be well established in the USD Greek community.”
This week there is an even greater influx of Greek spirit, as Greek week is in full swing, marking a campus takeover by the Greek community.
Sophomore Gabriella Koepenick is excited for her first Greek week, having just joined the new sorority on campus, Pi Beta Phi.
“I transferred here this fall, and would have never considered joining Greek life at my old school, but when I got here, it was a much bigger part of campus life than I had originally anticipated,” Koepenick said. “Even though I have only been in Pi Phi a few weeks, there are already so many things to participate in. I am looking forward to Greek week, as it will be my first real taste of what it’s like to be a part of the Greek community as a whole. I think we are supporting a great philanthropy this year, and the skits should be really fun to watch.”
The philanthropy that Koepenick was referring to is City of Refuge, a USD club that supports an orphanage in Ghana. The fundraising goal for this year is $50,000 to help build a computer lab for the orphanage. With three organizations having joined the Greek community since last year’s Greek Week, Panhellenic and IFC, the Greek governing boards, are hopeful that the goal can be met.
Sophomore David Morris, a new member of Pi Kappa Phi, is excited about the impact the addition of a new fraternity can make.
“I joined because I want to be able to start something new on campus that can make a difference and build a legacy,” Morris said. “The Greek system has been great so far in welcoming our new fraternity and all we hope to accomplish.”
In addition to creating larger fundraising goals, given the rapid Greek expansion the school is experiencing, a new position on Panhellenic council has been created to help insure the wellbeing of all members of the Greek community. The new position, implemented this spring, is the Vice-President of Health and Wellness, and was created to address issues such as hazing and sexual assault.
Junior Morgan Offenhieser is serving as the first ever VP of Health and Wellness and is really excited about what the new position means for Greek life.
“My position on Panhellenic, VP Health and Wellness, was created to promote healthy living among the Greek Community,” Offenhieser said. “My plan is to have campaigns revolving around sexual assault awareness and prevention, alcohol education, body image, and hazing prevention. I think this is an important position that the Panhellenic Council added because it is essential to support the Greek community in every way possible  safety, mental health, body image, inclusion and diversity, etc.”
With so many different activities happening under the umbrella of Greek life, it is no wonder the campus is seeing Greek expansion. It is a surefire way to kick-start campus involvement. Those who are not involved in USD’s Greek system are indifferent to the recent expansion.
Non-Greek students do not feel it is essential for social activities to be involved in the Greek life system. The Greek community makes up 25 percent of USD’s student population. This leaves a large number of students who are not involved in Greek life. USD offers a variety of clubs and organizations to join opposed to a sorority or fraternity. This helps students to not feel pressured to join the Greek system.
Jessi Pettenuzzo, a sophomore at USD who is not a member of Greek Life, sees it as non-essential to her college experience.
“It’s great for them but it doesnt really matter to me, I don’t feel like I neeed to be in Greek Life to have a social life at USD,” Pettenuzzo said. “The recent expansion doesn’t worry me nor does it make me want to join suddenly. I’m pretty neutral about the whole thing.”
This expansion is sure to affect the USD community, whether directly involved in Greek life or not, especially if the Greek community continues to grow even more in future years.