Greek Life changes name

Alpha Sigma Alpha poses for a photo after a recruitment event. Several other universities have changed their Greek Life program names. Photo by Emily Collins

Greek Life at Truman State University has changed its name to Fraternity and Sorority Life to distinguish itself from other organizations.

The idea of changing the name to Fraternity and Sorority Life began during spring 2020. The change did not happen at that time, however, because of the pandemic. It was not until this past summer that the department revisited the idea of changing the name.

The name change had various reasons behind it. One of the reasons for the change was to distinguish the social organizations within Fraternity and Sorority Life from the honorary societies and academic fraternities on campus, which also use Greek letters in their names, said Chuck Perry, Fraternity and Sorority Life team lead.

The new name also reflects that the department is not of Greek heritage, Perry continued. The title of Fraternity and Sorority Life reflects that fraternities and sororities make up the department rather than individuals of Greek descent.

Another reason is that if non-Greek-lettered chapters of fraternities or sororities were to be founded at Truman, they would not align with the name Greek Life. 

It is not just Truman that has changed the name for their fraternity and sorority departments. According to Laura Bates, the director of the Student Union and campus activities, many universities have been making this change lately.

“We’ve been seeing a shift, for several years now, where communities have been shifting to that terminology,” Bates said. “So we were just overdue for [the name change].”

Along with officially changing the name to Fraternity and Sorority Life comes the task of rebranding all associated materials.

This task requires members of Fraternity and Sorority Life to have all materials across all departments that mention Greek Life to be reworded.

“Sometimes I will go from department to department and say ‘Hey, we aren’t this name anymore. Can you change it, so it’s up to date and the incoming students know the proper name to call it?’ and they have been super responsive to it,” Perry said.

Official materials that still have the Greek Life name are in the process of being changed to align with the new name, such as the domain name of the Fraternity and Sorority Life website.

The organizations that operate within Fraternity and Sorority Life have also had to make some effort to make this name change more effective. This is because the members of the various fraternities and sororities on campus will be using the new name as well.

“We have big chapter meetings, where everybody is all together, so [when the name change happened], I took some time to explain the update from the Panhellenic Council, that we won’t be going by the name Greek Life anymore, and with the reasons why,” said Kyndall Penyweit, president of Sigma Kappa.