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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Starting a new chapter: Junior organizes first Fraternity and Sorority Life Fair

Megan Ellis, Sigma Pi Theta’s recruitment chair, organized Emerson’s first organization fair for fraternities and sororities. Madison Murillo / Beacon Correspondent

At the college’s first-ever Fraternity and Sorority Life Fair on Sept. 12, organizer Megan Ellis said she hoped to showcase an environment she believes is reflective of Greek life—one that will bust misconceptions about it being exclusive.

The FSL Fair, similar to the Student Organization Fair, spotlighted the 10 FSL chapters at Emerson. The fair allowed students who missed the chance to visit FSL booths during the Student Org Fair the opportunity to learn more about each chapter from the recruitment chairs.

“The fair has a more specific and contained environment, so there will be no pressure for students to get to every single booth,” Co-Vice President of Recruitment for Xi Gamma Nu Lizzi Upson said.

Ellis, who is the recruitment chair for social sorority Sigma Pi Theta, defines FSL as a “family of people” brought together by common interests. She said that FSL at Emerson highly values inclusivity.

“The Emerson staff is really focused on making sure that FSL here is really accepting and welcoming, and not as daunting as other schools are,” Ellis said.

Three chapters at Emerson welcome members regardless of gender identity, while the other chapters are exclusive to either male- or female-identifying students.

Rushing at Emerson is also fundamentally non-traditional and is dubbed the “recruitment process” instead. Ellis said it’s designed to get to know potential members on a more personal level, such as whether they would be a good fit for the chapter.

“It’s a lot more relaxing, a lot more calm, a lot more lowkey here than other schools,” Ellis said.

Jason Meier, director of student engagement and leadership, assisted Ellis in organizing the fair. Meier said he believes FSL improves the Emerson experience for students involved.

“[FSL] plays an important role in connecting to other people, in creating a more hospitable place for people to grow and thrive, and making Emerson a more special place,” Meier said.

Upson said she shares Meier’s beliefs.

“Joining FSL is a great way to expand your friend group,” Upson said. “It’s nice to have an organization to lean on in times of stress. In that sense, FSL acts as a safe space.”

Ellis said another common misconception about FSL is that all members have the innate desire to join a chapter before attending college. She said that many of the students involved in FSL never pictured themselves being in FSL before they joined, yet they still found a place where they were welcomed.

Ellis said each chapter varies in form and function, offering a different experience for their members. For example, Delta Kappa Alpha is a national professional cinema fraternity, while Sigma Pi Theta focuses on providing a support system for its members.

“There is something for everyone, and even if you maybe don’t see yourself in a fraternity or sorority here, you could go and you could just really love the people,” Ellis said. “Because at the end of the day, each fraternity and sorority is, at the core, about the people that are in the organization, because each one is like a family.”

In addition to the fair, FSL had previously organized “Fries and FSL” and an FSL picnic. Both events targeted all students and served as an introduction to FSL in a more casual setting when compared to the fair.

“The more we have these events, the more likely people are to come check us out and come to our recruitment events,” Ellis said. “All the different environments with FSL mixing for potential new members offer so many different crowds, so many different types of people to come to the events, and it also helps the fraternities and sororities to bond with each other. Because the more FSL unity that we all have, the stronger we are as a whole.”

Although the separate FSL fair had been in the works for several years, this is the first time it was fully carried out. Ellis said she hopes there will be more FSL fairs in future.

Ellis recommends all students consider attending the FSL fair, even if they have never pictured themselves getting involved.

“Even if you don’t think you’re a sorority or fraternity type of person, the people in the fraternity or sorority might be your type of people,” Ellis said. “I just hope that students will look past the actual Greek life aspect and be more open to [FSL].”

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