Photo: Larissa Johnson / The Daily Gamecock

Greek life at USC offers opportunities besides traditional social organizations

Greek life on USC’s campus is unavoidable, with more than 6,500 students participating. The most well-known image of Greek life, Greek Village houses 20 sororities and fraternities – all in either the Interfraternity Council or the National Panhellenic Council.

However, these traditional social sororities and fraternities are just a part of Greek life at USC. From service sororities to multicultural fraternities, there are around 20 Greek organizations not in the IFC or NPC. They range in size from under 20 students to several hundred, and also vary drastically in terms of how much they resemble the organizations housed in Greek Village.

“We kind of like take away the whole ‘sorority’ aspect because we’re more like a group of girls that hang out, are involved in service groups,” said Caitlyn Ehly, the vice president of service sorority Epsilon Sigma Alpha.

Epsilon Sigma Alpha requires service hours in order to stay a sister and attend events. It still has dues and chapter, though, just like almost every Greek organization, and has about 200 sisters.

The 14 cultural and historically black Greek-letter organizations on campus function in much the same way as other fraternities and sororities, but they’re governed by the Multicultural Greek Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

"I knew I wanted to be apart of something that was bigger than myself, and I wanted to be a part of something that lasted a lifetime," said Courtney Fant, a sister in Alpha Kappa Alpha.

She grew up with family members in Greek life and decided to pledge AKA, a sorority within the NPHC that has about 40 members, when she came to USC. In a different system from how NPC rush works, prospective members only seek to join one organization.

While historically black Greek-letter organizations have been on campus for decades, USC also welcomes expansion by new organizations. Chartered in November, Christian fraternity Beta Upsilon Chi has just 14 brothers. Instead of focusing on numbers, pledge captain Jacob Sloan wants to focus on building productive relationships. 

“I think that the biggest factor of what I’m looking for is a relationship with Christ,” Sloan said.

One of the biggest differences that members of all the organizations mentioned was cost. According to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, IFC semester dues range from $625 to $900 and NPC semester dues range from $130 to almost $800 — and those prices don’t include required meal plans, which can be close to $2,000. In comparison, most MGC or NPHC dues are just a few hundred dollars or less. 

"We really just wanna make it as accessible as possible to as a big a group as possible," Beta Upsilon Chi President Ladd Platt said.

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