Why Are Sororities and Fraternities “Greek”?

While Greek life, including social, service, and other types of fraternities and sororities, is understood to be something that is present on most college campuses in some form or another, why exactly is it “Greek” to begin with? Why not Arabic, or Thai, or American?

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First, we need to look at the history of similar organizations. After all, organizations focused on scholarship, rhetoric, and ethical conduct started long before the inception of Greek life as we know it today. By 1770, Latin Societies existed at nearly all schools as competing organizations on campus. The literary exercises of these societies consisted of debates, political, social, or religious discussion, and composing and delivering original poems, essays, and fiction. These Latin societies are a big part of the development of modern Greek life due to the fact that early fraternities were considered private versions of the open forums of Latin societies.

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The Phi Beta Kappa Society at the College of William and Mary was the first fraternal organization in the United States, founded December 5, 1776 by John Heath. Heath started his Greek society in protest of being rejected from several of these Latin letter societies, with the intention of starting an organization with “friendship at its basis and benevolence and literature at its pillars”. This society established the precedent of using Greek letters based on the initials of a secret Greek motto. Phi Beta Kappa is named for its motto: “φιλοσοφια βιου κυβερνητης” (philosophia biou kybernētēs), meaning “philosophy is the helmsman of life”.next

 

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Gamma Phi Beta UC Riverside

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The Gamma Phi Beta girls at University of California in Riverside sure know what it’s like to be strong, independent women! In a sorority that values strength, these girls are becoming the best versions of themselves alongside their best friends. Check out the video!

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UW Madison Gamma Phi Beta Just Raised The Bar For All Sororities

UW Madison!!!! Known for amazing students and amazing athletics, the Gamma Phi Beta ladies just raised the bar for their university. Check out their amazing video. Way to go ladies! Keep up the amazing work in the community. Your chapter is phenomenal and we fully support! Go Badgers!!!!

 

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