Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This past week was Greek Week at RPI. One of the main events of the week was the Greek BBQ held on campus behind Commons Dining Hall. I took this opportunity of Greeks from all houses gathering together to collaborate my art project. I set up a table with a posterboard and markers. I asked everyone I could to come and sign my poster with their name, letters, etc. Overall, people were very willing to become part of the art project.


The artwork was created by the community and in order to have it reach all members of the community and others I decided to use the art piece as a design for a t-shirt for Greek Week. The front of the shirt has the statement "Proud to be Greek" which is a statement that unites the Greek Community as a whole. The back of the shirt displays the signed artwork bringing the community to a personal level that everyone can view.

A community is a network of people connected in some way by location, similar interests, a common bond, etc...

I chose to document the Greek community at RPI. This community is composed of over thirty Greek affiliated houses. This community has existed at RPI for 143 years. I chose to work with this community because I am a part of it and it is a community that affects us here at RPI because many students join Greek life. On their own each Greek house contains its own community but by coming together the Greek community has a very large presence at RPI. To begin documenting I first looked at the individual houses where many of the members live. The image above is a diagrammatic mapping of the locations of these houses in Troy. There are scattered around campus, downtown and up Pawling Ave. The houses represent a physical separation of the fraternities. Since one of the goals of this project was to unite the community I first started looking at the differences between the houses and then the common goals and ideas that they all share.

At look at how people within a single fraternity or sorority are connected with each other and how this fits into the whole picture of the Greek Community.

In the case study of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, I started with me as a single person to map how I am personally connected at every level of the community structure. At first a girl becomes a pledge and is part of a pledge class. To become connected with the sisters, each girl is given a big sister through which she is connected in a family tree to other girls in the house. Finally, at initiation you become fully part of the sisterhood and the Alpha Gamma Delta Community. With this status you are automatically associated with the Greek Community. However some individuals and some houses feel more connected with the overall Greek Community than others.

Monday, April 21, 2008

In this part of the project, I tried to make a more personal connection with individuals in the Greek Community. I conducted a series of mini interviews with a sampling of RPI Greek affiliated students. I have posted the two questions which I asked each person and several selected responses. One interesting discovery was that members of the same fraternity seemed to have similar feelings towards the level of connection they feel with other Greek houses on campus. Also, IFC (interfraternity council) sports seemed to be the most common area of connection in most people's opinion.

Question 1: What made you join your specific fraternity/ sorority?

Question 2: Do you feel an overall sense of connection to the RPI Greek Community?

Jen, Alpha Gamma Delta

1. “I felt that I shared common interests with the girls in AGD. They were involved on campus, in athletics and shared the same values. They seemed like very down to earth girls. I had the most in common with girls in AGD than any other sorority.”

2. “I feel connected with the Greek community but only to a certain extent. I feel like I know some houses better than others because some houses also share similar interests and common reasons for joining.”

Cesar, Zeta Psi

1. “Guys brought me out to the house during rush. As a freshman it was a cool way to meet new people, both guys and girls. The guys at Zeta Psi were fun to hang out with and we shared similar interests.”

2. “Yea, through being in the fratnerity I have been able to meet more people in other Greek houses. Being Greek puts you under the same umbrella.”

Ray, Sigma Chi

1. “During rush I felt that the guys at Sigma Chi had a strong sense of brotherhood. There were all different kinds of guys. Since it is a smaller house there weren’t cliques within the brothers. It seemed to be a better running house and also a lot of fun.”

2. “I don’t feel a great sense of connection. I do feel that I am part of the community by being in a fraternity but I do not feel that we are all connected except in cases like the bonding together against the new rules being enforced by RPI. We are also connected somewhat through sports but not outside of that.”

Danielle, Alpha Omega Epsilon

1. “I knew girls in the sorority and I wanted to join a sorority with a specific goal.”

2. “I guess I feel connected, we do activities with other houses and in architecture there are people from all different houses.”

Wyatt, Pi Lambda Phi

1. “I joined because I got along with all the guys. They had a lot of guys involved in athletics and I liked their house.”

2. “Yea but I feel connected to some houses more than others. I feel more connected with the other Pi Lam chapters than with other fraternities at RPI.”

Casey, Delta Tau Delta

1. “I joined because one of the guys was helping me with my architecture classes. They were cool guys and made me feel welcome.”

2. “Yea, I was an IFC representative and now I am the President so I have meetings with the other houses.”

La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity Inc. was founded to address the needs of all underrepresented groups, especially those within the ever-growing Latino community. By conducting ourselves with pride and dignity, we promote equality and the overall advancement and enhancement of the quality of education for all.

Theta Chi's motto is "lend a helping hand", which is translated from the greek letters Theta and Chi. This translation is what Theta Chi's try their best to live by. Brothers strive to help each other out and in the process build an ever stronger brotherhood, but our helping hand is not just extended to brothers but also to our neighbors, the community, and our country. In being founded at Norwich University, a private military college, many of our beliefs and ideals reflect those of an upstanding military officer. Among these beliefs are accountability, the courage to do what's right, and respect for oneself and others. By instilling these ideals in our brothers it is Theta Chi's goal to create straight forward and upright men, there by helping them lead honest and successful lives.

Alpha Chi Rho is a National, men's collegiate fraternity whose purpose is to enhance the life long intellectual, moral, and social development of out members through guidance of our Landmarks. Membership is from among those who are prepared to realize in word and deed the Brotherhood of all men. We insist on a high and clean moral standard. We believe in the paramount duty of Brotherly love among members. We also believe in judgment not by externals, but by intrinsic worth: no one is denied membership into Alpha Chi Rho because of race, creed, or nationality.

SigEp national was founded on November 1, 1901. The cardinal principles of the fraternity are Virtue, Diligence and Brotherly Love. Sigma Phi Epsilon is considered by many to be the most successful fraternity in the United States. It currently has the largest number of active members and chapters in the US. It is also the fraternity with the highest cumulative GPA nationally. The experience of Sigma Phi Epsilon is a never-ending quest to attain a "Sound Mind and Sound Body". The New York Delta chapter resides at 2005 15th Street, right near the Rensselaer Union, and contributes to the community through philanthropic programs such as Habitat for Humanity.

The purpose of Theta Xi is to provide a college home environment for its active members in which fellowship and alumni guidance lead to wholesome mental, moral, physical, and spiritual growth.

The mission of Epsilon-Eta Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha is to collaborate in providing a superior fraternal environment and bond at Rensselaer with excellence in chapterer operations, scholarship, member involvement, house maintence, social image, and our rituals, while always striving for personal development.

Chi Phi was founded as a social organization; a group of like-minded individuals formed Chi Phi in order to promote the values they held close to their soul. These values can best be summarized as Truth, Honesty, and Personal Integrity. The promotion of these three values is what guides this fraternity.

Phi Gamma Delta exists to promote lifelong friendships, to reaffirm high ethical standards and values, and to foster personal development in the pursuit of excellence. Phi Gamma Delta is committed to provide opportunities for each brother to develop responsibility, leadership, scholarship and social skills in order to become a fully contributing member of society.

Being a brother at Alpha Sigma Phi does not mean you are a stereotypical "frat boy" as often portrayed in popular media. On the contrary, the workload at RPI will quickly consume what little free time you think you might have and in that respect, Alpha Sigma Phi can be a valuable tool to better yourself. The academic curriculum has often times been made easier with the help of brothers who have taken the classes, the textbooks and study guides we have on hand, and the general experience brothers have that they are willing to share. The goal of Alpha Sigma Phi is "to better the man." It is a goal we each hold in our hearts. We are a group committed to helping each other in our studies and in our lives. We are work associates, we are classmates, and we are friends. We are brothers of Alpha Sigma Phi.

Tau Epsilon Phi is comprised of men who live their lives by our three ideals; Friendship, Chivalry, and Service. Our fraternity is based upon the strength of friendship, as we would cease to exist without this eternal bond which we grow from more and more each day. We strive to uphold the ideal of chivalry, being respectful and courteous to all men and women. We give our strength, ideas and time to those whom require it, whether it be voluntary or not, embodying the ideal of service. Our purpose is to guide college men toward productive lives and to prepare them for community responsibility by practicing our three ideals.