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HawkTalk: Greek Life making resurgence on campus

Three fraternities were established within six years of the university being open. (Courtesy of Marie Frank/Arcadia Publishing)

Cassandra Milnes
Connector Editor

The Greek Life community went on hiatus for a few years and returned in 2012. But what happened before the fraternity brothers, sorority sisters and fraternity houses students know today?

Lowell Textile Institute was less than a decade old when Greek Life originally arrived on campus on Nov. 2, 1902, with local fraternity, Omicron Pi. This was quickly followed by the Beta chapter of national fraternity, Delta Kappa Phi within the same year and Phi Kappa Psi in 1903. Omicron Pi and Delta Kappa Phi are still on campus today, but Phi Kappa Psi is no longer on campus.

In 1964, local fraternity Sigma Phi Omicron was established at UMass Lowell. In 1969, the Mu Epsilon chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon was established at UMass Lowell, but lost their chapter in the mid-90s. International fraternity, Phi Kappa Sigma was created at the University of Pennsylvania in 1850 but was not introduced as the Gamma Upsilon chapter at UMass Lowell until over a century later in 1992.

Following soon after, national fraternity Sigma Tau Gamma established the Epsilon Delta chapter at UMass Lowell in 1993. The final fraternity brought to UMass Lowell was national and multicultural fraternity, Sigma Beta Rho in 2012 when Greek Life returned to UMass Lowell.

Greek Life does not exclude women either as there are four unique sororities on campus. The first sorority to be at UMass Lowell was Phi Sigma Rho in 1937. Phi Sigma Rho spent over 30 years being the only sorority on campus until the first local sorority on campus, Alpha Omega, was established in 1968.

The next two sororities joined quickly after this. In 1969, Beta Tau was established, but was extended in 1975 as the Beta Tau chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau. The Kappa Upsilon chapter of Kappa Delta Phi National Affiliated Sorority was founded on campus in 1972.

In 1980, a pledge of Delta Kappa Phi lapsed into a coma and died after heavy exertion excercies that would now be considered hazing.

Today, hazing is not allowed on campus in any way, shape or form. Greek Life takes integrity and honesty very seriously. They work hard to avoid and prevent hazing, harassment of any form, and other stereotypical Greek Life expectations. If someone is ever at a fraternity house and is being made to feel uncomfortable by another guest, said guest will be removed from the house.

All fraternity brothers and sorority sisters are required to attend trainings run by the Campus Advocates for Prevention Education (CAPE). These trainings focus on providing education and awareness on sexual violence and mental health.

With the numerous additions made to improve the Greek Life experience for students on campus, UMass Lowell hopes to keep the traditions available to many future generations of students.

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