CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 27, 2015 – After recently welcoming its second largest student body in school history, Southeast Missouri State University also is celebrating growth in its Greek community.
Total fall 2015 membership stands at 1,381 today. Greek students make up 12.1 percent of Southeast’s student body, up from 11 percent last year.
DeAnte’ Smith, director of Southeast’s Greek Life, says Southeast Greek students develop leadership skills, achieve academic success, serve the community and develop lifelong friendships.
Smith joined the University in 2013, when the University had 1,072 Greek students.
“When I first started at Southeast, I wanted to focus and offer support to those chapters that hadn’t seen any or little growth,” said Smith, who is excited by the significant increase in Greek student involvement over the past two years.
Southeast’s smallest sorority in 2013, Sigma Sigma Sigma, is now the largest, said Smith.
Southeast currently hosts 21 active chapters, 12 fraternities and nine sororities, across three councils, which are referred to as the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).
Smith is also particularly proud of the growth of the NPHC, which governs and represents historically African-American fraternities and sororities that are recognized at Southeast.
“They represent the voice of leadership of our African American student community,” he said. “They play a big part in the University diversity initiatives and campus events.”
In 2013, there were three NPHC fraternities and sororities at Southeast. Currently there are five active on campus. Smith hopes to add two more chapters in the upcoming years.
The Greek student body has a profound impact on the University’s community and environment.
“The Greek students hold themselves to higher standards,” said Smith. “They’re also our largest group of students actively engaged in University events and activities.”
Greek students tend to be more involved in other campus organizations and offices outside of their fraternity or sorority, said Smith.
A healthy Greek Life is also important for the University’s enrollment and is a positive reflection of campus life and student community when prospective students consider Southeast and pledging a Greek organization, said Smith.
Smith says he’s often had prospective students, parents and teachers tell him they chose and recommended Southeast because of its fraternities and sororities.
The larger membership numbers also have a positive effect on the local community.
In spring 2015 during Greek Week, more than $20,000 was raised in one week to support various local and national philanthropic organizations, including United Way. The previous record was a little over $16,000 in 2013.
During that same week, 899 units were collected during the blood drive, surpassing the previous record of 650 units.
The advancement in plans for a Greek Village, an idea that has been considered for years, is also a testament to the increased importance and impact of the Greek students at Southeast, said Smith.
The University Board of Regents’ recent approval of a $7.72 million contract for the Phase 1 Greek Housing project has stirred a lot of excitement, he said.
“It’s opened up and started a lot of conversations and people are realizing Greek Village is truly going to happen,” said Smith.
The housing development plan on the north end of campus, north of the Show Me Center, includes construction of four houses and an access drive off of Alumni Drive. The project schedule calls for two houses to be complete by fall 2016 and two by fall 2017.
Many of the fraternities and sororities are discussing to create housing councils to increase their student engagement and alumni support in the upcoming phases, said Smith.
The University is also focused on developing short-term and long-term strategic planning for Greek Life at Southeast based on consultants’ recommendations.
Two of the recommendations included identifying NPHC alumni who can support, interact with students and have a greater impact on the continuing success of Southeast’s NPHC fraternities and sororities; and hosting an all-day Greek development conference with guest speakers, special programs and workshops.
Also starting this semester, Smith hopes to begin to examine and quantify how Greek Life impacts Southeast’s student retention.
For more information on Southeast’s Greek Life, contact DeAnte’ Smith at (573) 986-7301 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit semogreeks.com.