We all know what fraternities and sororities are. But the scope of Greek life is probably much wider than you think—far beyond the stereotypes you see in movies. We’re giving you a rundown of the different Greek councils at UM and how to get involved. Whether you’re the chapter president or don’t know theta from phi, you might just learn something new about the big Greek family.
What do Michael Jordan, Jimmy Buffett and Carrie Underwood have in common with about 25% of the University of Miami’s undergraduate student population? Greek membership. But fraternities and sororities aren’t just what you see in the movies or on TikTok. University of Miami has four Greek councils consisting of 27 total recognized organizations, all with their own missions, causes and values.
Panhellenic Association (PA)
Chapters: Alpha Delta Pi, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Phi Epsilon, Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Delta Tau, Zeta Tau Alpha
The Panhellenic Association (PA) at UM oversees seven sororities on campus that are part of the National Panhellenic Conference, which has 26 national and international member sororities with chapters on 670 campuses, according to its website. Sororities at UM that are part of the PA have suites on campus, sponsor patron philanthropies and host career-building, academic and social events for their members.
“I feel a lot more connected by being in a sorority,” said Marissa Katz, UM senior and PA vice president of recruitment. “I feel like I have a place on campus, and it allows for a school that’s not small to feel small. Knowing that I have a network of sisters and alumni that will always be there is a crazy but comforting feeling.”
While most organizations in other councils have their own recruitment processes, overseen by the governing bodies, all PA sororities participate in one big “formal recruitment.” This happens the week before spring classes start and involves a series of days where potential new members (PNMs) meet each sorority and narrow down the ones they want to join while chapter women simultaneously get to know the women and select those they see fit.
National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)
Chapters: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Sigma Gamma Rho,Zeta Phi Beta
The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) governs nine Black Greek letter organizations popularly known as the “Divine 9.” Eight of these organizations have chapters at UM. This council, according to its website, was founded in 1930 at Howard University and boasts alumni like Martin Luther King Junior (Alpha Phi Alpha), Kamala Harris (Alpha Kappa Alpha) and Michael Jordan (Omega Psi Phi). Ebony Arnold, co-president of the NPHC, said the council focuses “on the advancement of not only each organization, but of the Black community as a whole.”
Arnold, who is also the president of Sigma Gamma Rho, said her sorority focuses on leadership, development and sisterhood. “I give all my love to Sigma Gamma Rho,” she said, “and I receive love back in various ways. I’m a member for life.”
Each semester, these chapters collectively host a “Meet the Greeks” event for the organizations to professionally showcase themselves. Each sorority and fraternity also hosts their own more in-depth interest meeting each semester and have an intake process by which new members are selected.
Interfraternity Council (IFC)
Chapters: Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Sigma Phi, Beta Theta Pi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Pi Kappa Alpha, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Tau Kappa Epsilon
The Interfraternity Council (IFC) at UM is made up of 11 chapters. These are what you might think of as the “traditional” fraternities—Zac Efron’s character in the movie “Neighbors” would’ve been in an IFC fraternity. Many of these chapters have suites on campus or their own houses, where members live together and host events.
“Being a brother of Lambda Chi Alpha is about more than being a stereotypical ‘frat bro,’” said sophomore Thomas McPherson. “It’s about being part of a larger community of men who want to see each other success in school and in life and happiness.”
Each year, the Interfraternity Council has a fall rush which some frats partake in, open to sophomores and upperclassmen, and a spring rush which all frats typically partake in, open to second-semester freshman and above. Participants can choose which fraternities they would like to “rush,” and each organization has their own formal voting process to decide which guys will receive bids to join.
Multicultural Greek Council (MGC)
Chapters: Lambda Theta Alpha, Delta Epsilon Psi, Sigma Lambda Gamma
The Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) at UM oversees culturally-based fraternities and sororities. According to Eswar Saraswathi Mohan, a member of Delta Epsilon Psi, these tend to be smaller and more diverse than some other Greek life organizations that are predominantly white.
While all these organizations accept members of all backgrounds, according to their websites, Delta Epsilon Psi was founded to support South Asian men, Lambda Theta Alpha is recognized as the first Latina sorority in the United States and Sigma Lambda Gamma is a “historically Latina-based national sorority with a multicultural membership.”
The fraternities and sororities within the Multicultural Greek Council host some larger events to support their national philanthropies. They also spend time focusing on service by creating, funding and executing smaller projects to benefit UM students and Miami residents.
Mohan said that he “came to college to make a difference” and that joining his fraternity gave him the platform to do just that, as well as to “meet and make friends with shared interests and ideals on campus.”
These organizations appear at the showcase of cultural organizations on campus, Mohan said, and have their own formal and informal rush processes where they can get to know potential members before distributing bids.
Academic/Extracurricular Fraternities and Sororities
In addition to the social organizations above, there are a number of academic and honors fraternities and sororities on campus. Unlike social fraternities and sororities, they don’t typically belong to a Greek council and each has their own recruitment and selection processes, goals and service objectives.
Many are co-ed, whereas the organizations above are all single-gender groups. These fraternities and sororities typically focus on a single interest or career field, such as film, music or business, and their members can typically be brothers or sisters of social organizations as well.
Some examples of academic Greek organizations on campus include music fraternities Phi Mu Alpha for men and Sigma Alpha Iota for women, professional and business co-ed fraternities Alpha Kappa Psi and Delta Sigma Pi and co-ed film fraternity Delta Kappa Alpha.
“Professional fraternities are fraternities because of their greek traditions, such as an initiation, bigs and littles, chapters, etc. But what we look for in our members is a little different—all of us are interested in entering the same industry,” said junior Summer Ward, who is both president of Delta Kappa Alpha and a member of Chi Omega. “We join together for professional development, networking and to support each other and learn about film. We still make great friends through our organization, but that might not necessarily be something a member is searching for initially when joining.”
words_nicole facchina. design _chloe ponte.