Arts & Culture

Sororities thrive at Dalhousie for 85 years

Greek life has become engrained in student life both on and off campus

Sororities thrive at Dalhousie for 85 years
written by Jessica Kempton
January 12, 2018 2:04 pm

Jessica Kempton is the founder and current president of Tau Lambda Xi sorority. 

Over its 200 years, Greek life has become part of Dalhousie University culture for students. Currently, there are six fraternities and four sororities on campus. 

In 1923, Phi Kappa Pi founded the first fraternity on campus. The establishment of other chapters shortly followed suit: Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Chi, and Zeta Psi.  

The first female fraternity was installed in 1932: Alpha Gamma Delta. Two sororities were founded in following years, Omega Pi and Iota Beta Chi.  

Due to the Dalhousie Student Union adopting a non-discrimination policy in its constitution, disclosing that societies may not discriminate against gender, Greek letter organizations (GLOS) are no longer able to be recognized by the school. In response, a number of GLOS united to create the Greek Council.  

The Greek Council is a ratified society at Dalhousie, as it allows membership from any gender whether they are in a Greek organization or not. 

The council was founded with the objectives to unite Greek Letter organizations, and serve as a liaison between the organizations, the student body, Dalhousie and the Halifax population at large.  

And despite Dal no longer recognizing Greek societies, that hasn’t stopped the expansion of more fraternities in Halifax.  

In 2013 an Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter was established, and in 2015 a chapter of Mu Omicron Zeta was installed. The most recent sorority was created in November 2017: Tau Lambda Xi. 

Jessica Kempton, Kyra Carson and Evonne Lingley founded Tau Lambda Xi. The newest sorority stands for self-discovery, learning, and community. Even though Tau Lambda Xi is new to Greek life, it’s gained three new members, and raised over $200 for the Halifax Cat Rescue Society.  

How is Greek life still thriving despite the drawback of not being able to ratify themselves? 

Greek organizations are founded on specific sets of values, referred to as pillars. Many members will join because they find themselves valuing these pillars too. And Greek organizations offer their members a unique experience – one that can’t necessarily be found in other societies. 

Unlike a society dedicated to one particular objective, GLOS focus on many aspects: offering social opportunities, charity work, networking, academic support and traditional ceremonies.   

Greek societies thrive because of the creative and dedicated individuals who bring new ideas and growth to the organizations. This creativity can especially be seen in how three sororities were founded in Halifax.  

Omega Pi was founded on April 20, 1985. 

“Omega Pi stands for leadership, respect, and individuality,” said current president, Tato Cristanto. “A few organizations we have partnered with for philanthropic initiatives are: Ronald McDonald house, Hope for Wildlife, Avalon Sexual Health Centre, Make a Wish Foundation, and Laing House,”  

In 1997, Gwen Butler created Iota Beta Chi with the help of Lorraine Wasson, Jessica Maddison, and Kristina Childs.  

“IBChi wishes to be recognized as an organization that creates future leaders and enriches the lives of women through philanthropic initiative,” said current president, Haley Boone. “A small group of four empowering women has now grown into an organization with two active chapters, a national HQ, and over 350 members.”  

Tau Lambda Xi is a sorority that stands for self-discovery, learning, and community. It implements an anti-hazing policy, and provides debriefs after ceremonies to discuss concerns and questions. 

There’s a negative stereotype associated with Greek life, but many sisters and brothers have had nothing but positive experiences.  

If you’re interested in learning more or becoming a part of Greek Life, organizations are holding recruitment events in January.