Once upon a time, a new freshman stepped foot on the grounds of a college campus known as Minnesota State University, Mankato. Once there, they were greeted by what seemed like an endless array of tables at the Centennial Student Union, all with their own banners that had words on them that meant more than just their dictionary definition but were a promise of belonging as well.
From the theater club to the college newspaper, each table offered the new freshmen a place to call home on campus, aside from their poorly air-conditioned dorm room. As the new freshman walked past each table, taking all of their options in, they landed on a table that not only offered them a home on campus, but brothers and sisters to share it with as well.
That is how the tale of Greek life at MNSU begins, and this is the happily ever after of three Mavericks that are proud of their memberships.
“I belong to Gamma Phi Beta and have been a member since the Fall of 2018,” says Lauren Bern, a senior at MNSU studying elementary education.
Bern, a South Dakota native, became interested in Greek life upon moving to college in Minnesota where she had yet to make friends. She figured Greek life would be a great way to do just that.
In her own words, “I needed to make friends that made Mankato feel like home and that is exactly what I found in Greek life.”
In order to become a member of a sorority or fraternity, an individual must go through a process infamously known as rushing. During which, individuals get familiar with the different sororities and fraternities and decide which one they want to join. The catch is that the sorority or fraternity get a say in who they allow in as well.
According to Bern, the process was both stressful and exciting but a necessary one nonetheless.
“This process helped me figure out what sorority sisters I bond with the most,” she explains. “There are three days of formal sorority recruitment and after each day is done, you vote on what sorority you like and hopefully they invite you back to the next day.”
Luckily for Bern, Gamma Phi Beta wanted her just as much as she wanted them, and the rest is history.
“My overall experience as a member has been amazing,” she recounts. “I have never felt so supported and loved by anyone else.”
Prior to joining her now beloved sorority, Bern says she entered college as a shy girl who lacked confidence. Throughout her three years of involvement in her chapter, Bern says she grew to find her true self and love that version of herself unconditionally.
According to Bern, she even discovered her sexuality in the process and her sorority sisters have been nothing but supportive.
“I have come out as a part of the LGBTQ+ community in the last year,” she says. “The girls in the sorority have been my biggest rock as some of the world has shut me out since.”
The endless support and being pushed to better herself is, according to Bern, her favorite part about being in a sorority.
However, sororities have their downsides as well.
“My least favorite part of the sorority are the cliques,” Bern says. “This happens inevitably since it’s a huge group of women, but I know that even though there are cliques, I can go to anyone in the chapter with my problems.”
When asked to give an inside scoop into the world of Greek life, Bern offered just one.
“I can tell you about informal recruitment,” she begins. “It’s a lot easier than formal recruitment and it happens after formal recruitment in the Fall and in the Spring.”
According to Bern, informal recruitment is far less intimidating than a formal one and it is arguably easier to get into a sorority or fraternity this way as well.
“A lot more girls get bids into sororities as the sororities are trying to meet total at this time,” shares Bern.
This has proven to be the case for two Mavericks who joined a fraternity by rushing informally, Brad Halverson, a senior at MNSU studying business management, and Asa Beckner, a senior at MNSU studying aviation.
Halverson has proudly reigned from Tau Kappa Epsilon for three years and Beckner from Phi Kappa Psi for two and a half.
According to Halverson, what sparked his interest in Greek life was the brotherhood that accompanied it.
“I hung out with the [fraternity] guys a lot my first semester at school but didn’t join until the spring,” he explains. “Someone was always doing something, whether it was at their place or on campus and I think that was a big draw for me.”
Beckner, on the other hand, says he became interested in Greek life after an encounter with some fellow students who would soon become his future fraternity brothers.
“I went to a basketball event at Myers Field House with them and a poker night down at the [fraternity] house,” he says. “Talked to a few guys and everyone seemed nice, and they gave me a house tour which was so sick.”
After that, Becker says he was sold.
“Everything just seemed awesome,” he explains. “Seeing the connection they all had, I wanted to be a part of something like that.”
And just like that, Beckner was, thanks to his ability to rush informally.
“I’d say my favorite part is the community service we do,” he says. “Helping out the community and being involved in service events not only brings us closer with the community but also with each other.”
Halverson agrees that the sincere connection and brotherhood that come with Greek life is one of his favorite aspects of it as well.
Among his list of favorites, Halverson also adds that the opportunities are endless.
“There are so many great opportunities that present themselves and I never would have guessed I’d be where I am, but Greek life has opened many doors,” he chimes.
Whether it be for the family bond or the opportunities that come with it, all three Greek life members encourage other Mavericks to join in on the fun.
“I say join,” says Bern. “It’s a life changing experience that helped me grow into the woman I’ve always wanted to be.”