By Amy Seligman
Greek Life: the most hated group on campus. It’s no secret that Greek Life on many campuses throughout the country, including Fitchburg State, faces a lot of prejudice from their peers, yet people keep joining fraternities and sororities. Many people on college campuses stereotype and misunderstand the purpose of a Greek organization. Alpha Sigma Tau, one of the sororities at FSU, is always active on campus, whether it be within their organization or others that members are involved in.
Alpha Sigma Tau’s president, Alyce Almeida, is a junior Human Services and Psychology double major. She’s a building and game room manager in Hammond Hall, and recently started a job at the Perkins School. What initially compelled Almeida to join a sorority back in the Fall of 2013, she says, was the movies about college life. Most importantly, she wanted to ensure she would have a support system throughout her college career.
Jessica Greenbaum, a junior in AST, says that the contribution all actives make is, “[inspiring] each other every day.” Greenbaum says that her favorite things about AST are the friendships she has made because she knows “they are everlasting and can always count on someone to pick [her] up when [she’s] down.”
According to AlphaSigmaTau.org, one of their core values is connections, “[to] build and maintain meaningful, sincere and lasting relationships with our sisters, our alma mater, and our community.” According to their national mission statement, their goal is, “…to instill the skills necessary to navigate life…” which members try to accomplish by running their chapter themselves.
Sorority life to an outsider may look like all fun and games but as president of AST, Almeida says, “I learned how to handle literally the world.” From time management, to conflict resolution, learning how to be a leader, to rolling with the punches – just to name a few – Almeida has had a lot of thing put into perspective for her.
Not everyone in AST will get the chance to be president – most members don’t even consider it – but there are various other positions, such as serving on the Executive Committee that helps guide the chapter and overlooks the other positions, to Director of Philanthropy, who’s in charge of planning the events that focus on raising funds for AST’s local and national philanthropies (R.A.I.N.N. and Pine Mountain Settlement school) and many others.
AST also volunteers within the community, often at the Habitat Restore in Leominster, the Fitchburg senior center, and various other places within the community. Almeida says, “AST is always looking to give back to the community, whether it be on campus, locally, nationally, or raising awareness for a cause we’re passionate about.”
Every active member is required to complete study hours in the library, as well as serve on at least one committee. The women in the organization, in order to succeed, must plan their time well, as well as be enthusiastic about all that they do in order to be successful. Contradictory to the movies, Almeida says that, “AST is about striving to be the best of version of themselves.” Being in this organization is much like being in the workforce and builds the skills that future employees will need.
A benefit of being in Greek Life other than the support and building of life skills is that there are at least thousands of other members of each organization, active and alumni. This easily helps build connections and creates easy access to networking within the workforce, a proficiency that has helped many along the way to where they want to be.
Almeida remembers when alumni of her high school came in and spoke to her class about their experiences and one of them was a member of a fraternity. Not only is that how he got his friends for life, but also his job! This goes to show that fraternities and sororities can offer many valuable connections.
Greenbaum mentions that “people like to think that we pay for friends and party and [join to] wear the letters physically, and we do have nice letters, we do go out, we do have fun, but it’s so much more – from the business side, fundraising for philanthropy, supporting each other at events other than ours, and always being there for each other.”