As the Temple Greek community prepares to say goodbye to 198 graduating seniors, the larger community of Greek society will accept those new alumni into the fold – members said that after college, their commitment to Greek life is far from over.
“It feels great to be moving on to the next phase of my life,” said senior Joie’ Johnson-Walker, the president of Alpha Kappa Alpha. “Being a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. is not just [for] four years, but for life. So the real work of my organization begins after graduation. It is a bittersweet process transitioning out of my chapter, but I know that my sisters will continue the legacy of excellence set before us by our charter members.”
However, before students join the alumni network, they are honored for their service in Main Campus Greek life. On Sunday at 6:30 p.m. in Morgan Hall, the Temple University Greek Association will honor outstanding members in the graduating class for several individual, chapter and scholar awards. Individual awards include Emerging Leader, Greek Senior, Outstanding Chapter President, Adviser of the Year and Faculty/Staff Member of the Year.
Chapter awards include the Outstanding Community Service Project, Outstanding Philanthropy Project, Outstanding Program, Outstanding Collaborated Program, Most Improved Chapter and the Greek Unity Award. The academic awards, which require no application since they are earned by Greeks on merit, include Highest Chapter GPA, Most Improved GPA and the Greek Scholars award.
Members agreed that pledging a sorority or fraternity means more than spending four years sharing a home and wearing the letters, but rather a lifetime of connecting and supporting the alumni community to remember the pledge a Greek member took to uphold their organization’s values.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations have been based on the values of African-American unity, self-respect and equality for 84 years. The Multicultural Greek Council aims to unite those who share a race, ethnicity or religion to support their heritage for their entire lives and the Panhellenic and Interfraternity councils promote networking among men and women, respectively, from freshman year onward.
Johnson-Walker said an organization gains strength and maintains its values-centric approach when members “[join] a graduate or alumni chapter in their area and [exude] the standards expected by a woman or man in their organization.”
The strength of an organization’s alumni network, she added, is paramount to the success of the sorority or fraternity at large. Greek life alumni are responsible for maintaining the fraternal bond and supporting their chapter of the organization to remind members that once they pledge, the organization is for life.
“I hope to continue working with alumnae members from both my sorority and other Greek life chapters,” said Erin Quinn, a senior member of Alpha Xi Delta. “I would also love to continue working with undergraduates, since one of my dream jobs is to work for Student Activities here at Temple.”
Famous alumni in Greek life include Betsy Johnson of Alpha Xi Delta, Jon Hamm of Sigma Nu and Mariska Hargitay of Kappa Kappa Gamma, who have remained active within their organizations. Helping with fundraising and giving donations, organizing events and providing business and social opportunities are just some of the responsibilities of Greek alumni.
“It’s all about mentoring and helping to assist the next generation to reach their goals,” Johnson-Walker said.
Johnson-Walker plans to join an alumni chapter and said she hopes to eventually serve on Delta Mu’s international board.
“We talk a good game about being unified and wanting to feel Greek unity, but if we do not actually have these conversations with one another and understand where different groups of people come from and the things they are passionate about, we will not be successful in achieving such a dream,” Johnson-Walker said.
Quinn agreed with Johnson-Walker, adding that unity post-graduation helps Greek Life achieve it’s goals on Main Campus.
“The significance of interacting with on campus members as well as other members of Greek Life represents how tight of a Greek community we can be and strive to be here at Temple,” Quinn said. “We may not always be able to achieve success individually, but as whole we can be pretty be invincible.”
The Greek alumni network participated in last week’s Alumni Weekend, in Homecoming celebrations last fall and various events held throughout the year that connected them with Greek undergraduates.
Lora Strum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.