Greek Life at UB
There are many kinds of Greek letter organizations at this University and at universities in general: honorary, professional, service, and social. However, when most people refer to "Greek Life" they are referring to the social fraternities and sororities that over the years have made such a strong impression on college campuses nationwide.
Recently UB's "Greek Scene" came into the spotlight when MTV™ took residence on campus to film its college based shows: Fraternity Life and Sorority Life 2 during the 2001-2002 academic year. The shows focused on the pledge classes of Delta Xi Omega and Sigma Chi Omega.
But Greeks have been a vital part of student life at UB since the University's earliest days...
- Fraternities and Sororities
- The First Greeks at UB
- Greek Life in the 1920s-1930s
- Greek Life in the 1940s-1950s
- Greek Life in the 1960s-1970s
- Greek Life in the 1980s-1990s
Inter-Fraternity Coucil (IFC)
Guide to Fraternites, 1963-1964
Today the office of the VP of Student Affairs houses a Greek Affairs office where they maintain an online version of Greek Voices, the official publication of the Greek system of the University at Buffalo.
They are not perfect, true, but the good far outweighs the bad.
Fraternities at the University of Buffalo, 1962
As a fraternity man you will want to implement and achieve the goals on which your fraternity was founded. Responsibility to make a conscious and continuous effort to attain these objectives rests on you as an individual member. The worthwhile contributions the fraternity can make to the University as well as to the individual are among the most important considerations in selecting a fraternity.
Click on the above image to read "A History of Fraternities" from the The Inter Fraternity Council's Fraternity Handbook, 1965
Click on the above image to read "The Social Side of Sororities" and "The Serious Side of Sororities" from the Panhellenic Guide: Introducing Sororities, 1965
You may have heard that you don't need a sorority at the University of Buffalo. Of course you don't NEED a sorority; you don't need parties, or traditions, or ivy covered walls either at college. But, needless to say, college is a great deal more fun and more of a memorable experience if these things are part of it. In a similar fashion, a sorority can be a wonderful part of your days here.
-- Panhellenic Guide, 1959
The First Greeks at UB
"Members of the Pharmacy Class of 1889 and 1890 were responsible for the organization of the initial fraternity on campus. Although there were present before this, Medical, Dental, and Law fraternities, Beta Phi Sigma was the first strictly University fraternity founded."
-- Greek History, 1961 Buffalonian
The first edition of the Iris yearbook (1898) lists seven fraternities, some secret and each with a very different purpose: Alpha Omega Delta, Omega Upsilon Phi, Delta Epsilon, Beta Phi Sigma, Phi Delta Phi, Delta Chi, and Xi Psi Phi.
Beta Phi Sigma's logo
Alpha Omega Delta's aim was the "advancement of its members in the medical and surgical science [and] to study in all the sciences which have a bearing on the practice of medicine." While Beta Phi Sigma's main agenda was to "promote and provide for the social welfare of the students" and secondarily for "purposes of study."
-- from the 1898 Iris yearbook
Xi Psi Phi dental fraternity in their 1899 yearbook photo
Greek Life in the 1920s-1930s
The University's first sororities were founded in 1920. They were Phi Sigma Sigma, Sigma Delta Tau, and Sigma Kappa.
The Phi Sigma Sigma - Delta chapter - sisters from the 1921 Iris yearbook.
The Sigma Kappas from the 1921 Iris yearbook.
By 1931, UB had ten University-wide social sororities in addition to 18 University-wide social fraternities.
- Beta Phi Sigma
- Omega Epsilon Phi
- Xi Psi Phi
- Nu Sigma Nu
- Kappa Nu
- Kappa Psi
- Omicron Alpha Tau
- Kappa Delta Psi
- Lamda Epsilon Chi
- Phi Delta Phi
- Delta Chi
- Delta Sigma Delta
- Phi Pho Sigma
- Beta Sigma Rho
- Alpha Phi Delta
- Beta Chi Epsilon
- Beta Pi Rho
- Alpha Kappa Psi
- Sigma Kappa
- Phi Sigma Sigma
- Alpha Gamma Delta
- Sigma Delta Tau
- Nu Sigma Phi
- Pi Kappa Phi
- Theta Chi
- Zeta Tau
- Phi Psi
- Phi Alpha Epsilon
Greek Life in the 1940s-1950s
The 1940s and 1950s brought with them much in the way of inter-fraternity competitions.
The Beta Sigma Tau fraternitity reported in the 1958 Buffalonian yearbook that "Formal dinner, informal parties, Kampus Karnival, Moving-Up Day, Help Week, and intermural sports have served to united the Brothers in their quest for a feeling of achievement and brotherhood."
Sorority sisters of Theta Chi reported that during the 1956-1957 academic year they "participated in Stunt Night, I.F.C. Sing, and Kampus Karnival. Some of the high points were our annual Mother-Daughter Tea, Spring Fling and Christmas Party."
Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp for short) was chartered at UB on April 10, 1954. In 2004 they celebrated their 50th Anniversary.
SigEp's 1955 Buffalonian yearbook photo
Seated: D. Montondo, R. Wilson, M. Metlak, D. Brust, S. Canale, C. Bjerke, R. Reszel, W. Baker.
Second Row: H. Stewart, D. Lange, J. Douglass, G. Sciolino, R. Till, C. Stelzle
Third Row: M. Kilcyne, D. Clark, P. Shepard, W. Rittman, R. Dombrowolski, D. Stewart
Greek Life in the 1960s-1970s
Yes, it is an undeniable fact that fraternity life is an all consuming life -- float building, studying to make average, and sponsoring dances. But the American college fraternity is not that easily definable. It contains an intangible factor -- a mixture of brotherhood, faith responsibility, pride and a sense of belonging. It is this factor that makes fraternity life necessary for a fruitful college career.
-- 1961 Buffalonian yearbook
Sigma Phi Epsilon Ticket Raffle, January 1979
There are six sororities on this campus. They work together through the Panhellenic Council to coordinate activities and to provide a meeting place for planning and constructing new ideas for Greek organization on campus. Sororities can provide you with an opportunity for fuller participation in campus activities and leadership training that will serve you and your community later. Through sororities you will meet persons in fields other than your own and find a group with whom you can share many gratifying experiences.
-- Cindy Perl, President of the Panhellenic Council, 1965-1967
In February 1964, the merger of the University into the SUNY system brought a ban on national Greek organizations. Some Greeks, like Sigma Kappa, one of the University's first sororities, disassociated their chapter from their national organization. In doing so, Sigma Kappa changed its name from Sigma Kappa to Sigma Kappa Phi.
Sigma Kappa Phi Big and Little Sisters Night, Fall 1968
Theta Chi Trike Race, June 1969
Greek Life in the 1980s-1990s
In 1983, the Buffalonian yearbook reported, "Fraternities on this campus play a much more low-key role than they do at other institutions -- which is not to say that they're insignificant."
The 1980s brought with them a proliferation of ethnic and cultural Greek organization which continued into the 1990s. UB's African-American Greek organizations, like Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, continued to grow. Lambda Phi Delta, the first Latina sorority, was founded in 1988. Asian groups Delta Gamma Tau, Phi Iota Alpha, and Alpha Kappa Delta Phi were charted in 1990, 1995, and 1997 respectively.
The women of Alpha Kappa Alpha, 1995
l-r: Maya Coleman, Yvonne Evans, Nicole Gibson, Thrusha Henderson
Collette Hendricks, Jeannette Smith, Jozette Turner [photo from Buffalonian]
Frat house, ca. 1983
Members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, October 1985
Lambda Phi Delta's Founder's Day party at Wilkeson Pub, November 17, 1988