Greek Life at Villanova



Alissa Ricci

Even at a university like Villanova, which does not have any on-campus fraternity or sorority housing available, Greek Life continues to thrive with approximately 15 percent of the undergraduate population as members of sororities and fraternities. Any new student or visitor walking around campus will undoubtedly notice the prominence and pride of many who wear T-shirts and other accessories emblazoned with traditional Greek letters. Any given week, a sorority or fraternity can be seen assembling for a chapter meeting in

Connelly Center or fundraising in the center of campus at the Oreo.

Additionally, this week you may have noticed the tug-of-war on Sheehan Beach, hushed whispers about skit themes and muffled chants from inside the Jake Nevin Field House reminiscent of Orientation. It is that time of year again – Greek Week. It is the most highly revered and anticipated week for fraternities and sororities as they get the chance to compete against each other for spirit points in a variety of activities, many of which are games and contests requiring intense teamwork among members. Greek Week is the pinnacle of the spring semester, as sororities and fraternites introduce their new members to their first experience of the Greek Week tradition.

This prominent display of activity leads one to take a closer look at Villanova’s particular brand of Greek Life, an experience that a small portion of students on this campus will forever treasure in their memories. Other universities, particularly ones with Greek housing, often find fraternity and sorority members live in a bubble world, where they do little outside of their organization and are constantly around their brothers and sisters. At Villanova, this is not the case.

The way students become involved in Greek Life here is different than at other universities. Phil O’Neill, who works within the Office of Greek Life, explains that “fall involvement in Greek letter organizations is a little less than spring semetser because Villanova has different recruitment, meaning that freshmen cannot participate until second semester.”

Greek students point out that they spend the first semester of freshmen year getting to know a full range of social contacts, who may or may not join a sorority or fraternity the following semester. This allows freshmen not only to adjust to the pace of college life but also to form friendships that can continue as they participate in Greek life and other activities throughout their college careers.

Many students point to the lack of Greek housing as a sort of buffer against the potential disadvantage of Greek students being segregated or separated from non-Greek students. In fact, the Greek community here is encouraged to go beyond such barriers and engage the entire campus in its philanthropic and social activities. Each sorority and fraternity has a specific nonprofit organization it works with to support, either by financial contribution or participation in service work. The causes range from increasing literacy to supporting cures for diseases to increasing awareness of social issues.

Furthermore, many Greek organizations encourage their members to take leadership positions outside of their sorority and fraternity. This leads to the multi-dimensional roles of Greek students in the Villanova community. To further this effort of increased personal enrichment and diversity, organizations across campus often approach the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council to designate certain events as “Wildcat Point Events,” or WCP for short.

“Three events each semester are designated as WCP, and then fraternities and sororities send as many members to the events as possible,” IFC, President Connor Nicosia said. “There is a point system that we keep track of that rewards the chapters with the highest attendance.”

Such events are open to all University students, but Greek involvement helps to boost participation and profit from personal enrichment as a result.

Currently, a 2.25 GPA minimum is required for any student wishing to participate in the recruitment process. Justine Italiano, president of the Panhellenic Council, reports that efforts to gradually increase the minimum GPA to 2.5 are in process.

“Nothing has been officially decided other than the recent switch from 2.25 to 2.3,” Italiano says. “We hope that over the course of the next few years to raise that standard to 2.5, but that will ultimately be decided by future Panhellenic and IFC.”

With increased emphasis on grades and academic achievement, sororities and fraternities establish chapter study hours to encourage academic diligence.

Like all other social organizations on campus, Greek students like to kick back and have fun with each other. Formals and list parties are hosted by fraternities and sororities, and other University students are in attendance. Social lives of Greek students are stigmatized by popular TV shows such as ABC Family’s “Greek” as a continuum of rampant alcohol consumption, relationship drama, and fierce rivalry between sororities and fraternities. While this may be quite true at some colleges and universities, it is not true for all.

Once again, the lack of Greek housing at Villanova helps to deter such behavior to a certain degree. Even without the stereotypical fraternity and sorority houses lining streets on or off university campuses across the nation, Greek students at Villanova still manage to symbolize their participation in such organizations with brightly colored Greek letters in the windows of their residence halls and apartments. Most Greek organizations will host their social events at nightclubs and hotels in the Philadelphia area, which creates an expected responsibility on their part to follw the rules of those businesses. While the University requires an extensive amount of paperwork for events, they can usually be pulled off successfully.

Greek students at Villanova report much satisfaction and fulfillment in their endeavor of being part of a sorority or fraternity.

Matthew Newton, a junior student in Delta Tau Delta, speaks out about his experience in a fraternity:

“Most people know I am in a fraternity from the beginning because it’s a big part of who I am here,” Newton says. “Each Greek organization seems to have a stereotype that follows them around.  A frat guy isn’t just a typical frat guy; most people will associate him with the frat he is in because they are all pretty unique.”

“Greek Life is different at Villanova because we focus more on the Greek community and not just individual sororities and fraternities,” said Angelica Bautista, a freshman member of Alpha Phi. “Everyone, for the most part, gets along with one another, and we are all trying to get the most out of Greek Life. I don’t feel that being a part of a certain sorority has distanced me from anyone, but rather brought me closer to many more people both in my sorority and in the others. Greek Life at Villanova is definitely something positive here and it offers everyone great opportunities, and I’m proud to say I’m part of Greek Life at Villanova.”