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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media


Marc Joseph and Terral Ainooson of Iota Phi Theta
Marc Joseph and Terral Ainooson of Iota Phi Theta

They may not be the alcohol-soaked, hedonistic scenes of debauchery filled with scantily-clad co-eds, but UMass Boston’s own fraternal organizations are offering students an opportunity to make friends and enrich academic experience while having fun.

This semester, a new fraternity-affiliated club is making its first appearance on campus. Lambda Alpha Beta of Massachusetts, a member of the National Collegiate Honors Society for Anthropology, is a new Greek club for students with twelve or more credit hours earned in Anthropology courses.

Dr. Lauren Sullivan, head advisor of Lambda Alpha Beta at UMB, said, “Lambda Alpha holds conferences, offers scholarships, provides half of its journal’s publication space for students’ research, and a whole slew of other benefits to Anthropology students. I thought it would be a great opportunity for the students and faculty here at Umass.” And with a $25 lifetime membership fee, it’s a cheap one too.

Lambda Alpha isn’t the only Greek club on campus. Currently there are several Greek honors societies operating on campus. Sigma Tau Delta, for English majors and minors; Iota Phi Theta, a community service-based club; and Psi Chi, for Psychology majors and minors, are all in operation.

Psi Chi, with over 100 members, is one of the most popular Greek societies on campus. “Our main goals are to encourage, stimulate, and maintain excellence in scholarship of the individual members in all fields, particularly in psychology, and to advance the science of psychology,” explains Andrew Bodman, treasurer and former president of the UMB chapter of Psi Chi. A one-time membership fee of $55 grants lifetime membership and allows students to reference Psi Chi in postgraduate applications and resumes.

Like many Greek organizations, Psi Chi also puts an emphasis on community involvement and action. Psi Chi members at UMB have run toy drives for underprivileged children during the holiday season and have run raffles in order to raise money for groups in need.

But why all of the emphasis on semantics? Aren’t all Greek organizations fraternities? “They’re not fraternities, they’re fraternity-affiliated clubs,” explains Chuck Henriques, Student Life staff assistant. “Fraternities aren’t allowed on campus right now, because the majority of fraternities are exclusionary-they’re somewhat discriminatory by nature. Fraternities and sororities discriminate on the basis of sex. Fraternity-affiliated clubs are allowed on campus on the condition that everyone can participate, within reason.”

With serious incidents of fraternity initiation “hazing” making headlines in the last decade, it’s also quite possible that the university administration fears stepping into a legal quagmire.

The future of fraternities at UMB could be more like what you have seen in the movies, or at least what you have heard about from your friends at UMass Amherst. If student residence halls make a showing here, soon frats could very well come along with them. “UMB is very quickly heading in that direction, towards fraternities,” Henriques said. “It’s mostly a situation of having to hammer out the details and set ground rules.”

As for Lambda Alpha Beta, interest so far has been sizeable. Dr. Sullivan plans on having two application periods set up for interested students-one in the fall, and one in the spring. In the future, Dr. Sullivan hopes to set up a UMB-dedicated chapter of Lambda Alpha Beta. For more information on any of the organizations, see the Student Life office.