Monday, May 6, 2013

Fraternities and sororities at UNCG

Prior to the founding of the State Normal and Industrial School (now The University of North Carolina at Greensboro) in 1891, Charles Duncan McIver was very supportive of the notion of societies for the female students.  In 1893, the Adelphian and Cornelian became the first two literary societies on campus and almost all of the students joined either one of the two groups.  In the years following, a joint committee of students would divide the list of new freshman girls and place them within either society.  Society invitations and initiations became an exciting time for each student as some expressed great joy in their placement while others were visibly upset. In 1896, fourteen girls attempted to create their own secret society tied to a Greek letter sorority.  Upon discovering this, McIver quickly reproached the girls and demanded they disband the group or face expulsion, believing such exclusive secret organizations were inappropriate to the mission of public education.  Two other literary societies would later be established on the campus as student body population continued to grow.  In 1918, the Dikean Society was founded and the Aletheian Society was later established in 1923.  The societies would continue to operate as part of student life on the campus until 1953 when they were abolished by a student vote. 

The next several decades saw a general distain by the administration regarding the establishment of a Greek system.  In 1975, believing social sororities (and later fraternities) to be elitist, divisive, and irrelevant to academics, a faculty committee voted against the issue of whether to establish a Greek system at UNCG. However, recurring student interested prompted a second study in 1977-1979 and found that thirty-one percent of the student population would consider joining a fraternity or sorority.  With such support, the Board of Trustees approved a five year trial period for a Greek system and in 1980 the first rush took place. By the fall of 1981, there were seven fraternities and seven sororities officially recognized on the campus.  With continuing interest and growth, the five year probationary period expired and a Greek system was official established at UNCG in 1984.  As of 2012, there were ten social fraternities and social eleven sororities on the UNCG campus.

One key iconic symbol that is shared by UNCG fraternities and sororities is the Rock.  The Rock is a 12.7 ton boulder that was imported to the campus from a rock quarry in nearby Jamestown by the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity in 1973.  It was placed between the dining halls and dormitories and would serve as a message board for the various fraternal organization as it was continuously painted over again and again.  There exists an unwritten rule that a groups message has to stay up for twenty four hours before being written over.  Prior to the Rock, students would paint and decorate the statue of Charles Duncan McIver as way to promote their messages.  However, after years of continued abuse, the statute was beginning to deteriorate thus prompting a new method of communication.

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