Ashley Winges’ first semester at Weber State University was a struggle, as she’d moved away from her family and friends in Colorado to go to school. But during her second semester, Winges became interested in Greek Life on campus, and she said she finally knew where she belonged.
“These people have adopted me. They are now my sisters and my brothers,” Winges said. “It’s such a comforting thing that with Greek, you always have something to do and somebody to go to.”
WSU has had one sorority and one fraternity for several years, but this fall, Greek Life will double with the addition of Tau Psi Beta and Phi Gamma Lambda.
Winges is the secretary and a founder of Tau Psi Beta, the new sorority on campus currently made up entirely of women who came to WSU from out of town. Tau Psi Beta was ratified on April 11 and will join Delta Chi Nu this fall as another sorority that women interested in being part of Greek Life can join.
The Delta Chi Nu sorority was founded in 2007 after on-campus Greek Life became almost nonexistent.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but Greeks were huge here back in the ’70s and even in the early 2000s,” said Lexie Martinez, the former president and a current member of Delta Chi Nu. “As Greek Life here was kind of dying out, there was one sorority, and the last active members thought, ‘Well, we’re not done with our sorority.’ So they created this sorority.”
Chad Mosher, the adviser to Pi Theta Xi, the fraternity founded in 2008, said the fact that the remaining sorority and fraternity have been able to last and now double their presence on campus speaks to how resilient and determined WSU Greeks are.
“One of the unique things about our Greeks is that they are tenacious in that they started small after the Greek system almost went away,” Mosher said. “The fact that they are bringing in a new Greek Life is huge.”
With the addition of the Tau Psi Beta sorority and the Phi Gamma Lambda fraternity, Greek Life now has around 50 active members. Martinez said the Greeks’ goal is to double that number after Rush Week.
Rush Week is a weeklong recruitment event, held Sept. 9–13 this year. Throughout the week, the Greeks will host events such as a community service outing, a formal night and a talent show open to anyone interested. These are followed by two invitation-only events for those who appear truly committed to joining Greek Life.
After Rush events, each sorority and fraternity will send bids to potential members, who will be invited to a traditional ceremony should they choose to accept the bid.
“The ceremony is a sacred kind of thing,” Winges said. “You show up at this place at this time if you choose to become a pledge, and whatever happens beyond there is completely secret.”
The addition of a sorority and fraternity will make Rush different this year than in the past. Daniel Pittman, a member of Pi Theta Xi, said these changes will make Rush more interesting.
“One of the main things this does for us is it allows us to have a bigger presence on campus,” Pittman said. “It creates a rivalry. It gives us more manpower to do activities, and it makes Rush more exciting, because now it’s no longer just a matter of if you want to join Greek Life; it’s if you want to join Greek Life and which fraternity you fit in.”
WSU Greek Life is community service-oriented and largely academic. The Greek Council has been working to establish traditions, such as the yearly Casino Night and Traffic Light Dance. The Greeks also get together often for mixers and service projects.
WSU currently does not have Greek housing, and according to Martinez, that is something Greek Life has been working on for some time.
“From the start, we were told that having Greek housing is illegal and that it would be legally considered a brothel largely because of Ogden’s history,” Martinez said. “We looked into it and we found out it’s not illegal; you just have to find the right zoning area.”
Martinez said that because of this, Greek housing might be an option in the future. For now, the focus is primarily on the growth of the Greek organization and changing any negative perceptions of Greek Life.
“When I first joined, I had skewed perceptions of what it was going to be, and it’s been a life-changing experience,” Pittman said. “It matures you and gives you a lot of opportunities for leadership. I don’t believe you can really have the college experience without being a part of Greek Life.”