Greek Life: Fraternities and Sororities Bring Balance and Sense of Community

Participation in fraternities and sororities at UM is at its highest level in a decade, and that's a good thing for the future of private support for the University. More than 420 students belong to one of six fraternities and four sororities on campus. "When you're involved in the Greek system you develop stronger ties to your university," says Suzanne Peterson, Kappa Alpha Theta alumna, chapter advisor and UM Foundation Trustee. "I know a higher percentage of donations come from Greek alumni than non-Greek graduates because they have more connections to the University through volunteerism and through Greek events."

To give back to the community, each Greek chapter balances their service hours between serving their national philanthropic goal and creating their own fundraisers. For instance, Alpha Phi's national foundation funds women's cardiac care research, so the local chapter volunteers at the American Heart Association's Missoula Heart Walk. They also help with the Can the Cats food drive the week before each Griz-Cat football game. Last year, Griz fans donated 18,982 pounds of food to the Missoula Food Bank through this effort.

"Greek Life contributes to the University overall by helping students make connections—to their university, organization and community—as well as make roots in Missoula so they will finish their education," says Maureen Ward, fraternity and sorority involvement coordinator at the UM Office of Greek Life.

Fraternities and sororities emphasize academic excellence and leadership in addition to community involvement, and that helps students succeed.

Most members are recruited as freshmen and remain active until graduation, and many stay involved for the rest of their lives, like Peterson.

"I'm from Alaska so I really didn't know anyone coming here," says senior Caitlin Parker, president of Kappa Kappa Gamma and Office of Greek Life student coordinator. "I joined because I wanted to get to know people, and it's helped me have a balanced life."

To learn more about UM Greek Life and its philanthropic efforts, visit umt.edu/Greek or call 406.243.2593.