Meet the Greeks showcases Black Greek life

Eastern+Illinois+University%E2%80%99s+Zeta+Phi+Beta+Sorority+Incorporated+perform+at+the+Meet+the+Greeks+event+held+on+Friday%2C+Sept.+10%2C+2021.

Eastern Illinois University’s Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated perform at the Meet the Greeks event held on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021.

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Associate News Editor

The booming sounds of chants, applause, stomps and music filled the Library Quad on Friday, Sept. 10, when Eastern’s National Pan-Hellenic Council hosted Meet the Greeks. 

Meet the Greeks is an event that is hosted annually to showcase the multicultural fraternities and sororities belonging to NPHC: 

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated
  • Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated
  • Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated
  • Alpha Psi Lambda Fraternity, Incorporated

That Friday night, members from these fraternities and sororities performed their “steps” and “strolls” for the hundreds of Eastern students watching from the Mellin steps outside the Doudna Fine Arts Center. 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVE7L9pbnXU

Stepping is a dance form in which a fraternity or sorority will perform a dance while creating a beat with their body, whether that be by clapping, hitting their thighs, stomping or anything else that could help create that beat.

Strolling is when the fraternity or sorority will dance along to a song, matching their movements with the beat from the song.

Raiven Jones, a senior biochemistry student, is the secretary of Delta Sigma Theta. She said that she loved the enthusiasm both her sisters and the audience had during the steps and strolls. 

“My favorite part of strolling is going to be the energy with me and my line sisters,” Jones said. “As soon as you hear the song come on, and we say ‘1-9-1-3,’ that’s literally the best part. You feel everybody’s enthusiasm, and we just go hard from there.” 

Multiple members of NPHC stated that they were very happy to host Meet the Greeks again, especially since they weren’t able to host the event in person last school year due to COVID-19. 

Mikayla Sanford, a senior biology student, is the vice president of Zeta Phi Beta. She said that Meet the Greeks was hosted virtually last school year. 

“COVID hit and then last year, our Meet the Greeks was virtual,” Sanford said. “I was really excited to see what people were going to bring, because I haven’t seen the show since 2019.”

Each fraternity and sorority had specific dance moves, chants and songs that they used during their performances. 

Sanford said that those dance moves are unique to each organization, helping differentiate them from one another. 

“I definitely feel like for strolling, it’s something for the D9 that kind of distinguishes us from each other,” Sanford said. “It gives us a chance to express ourselves and show the differences in every sorority or fraternity. It shows our creativity, too.”

Alana McNeely, a junior human services student and a member of Zeta Phi Beta, added that the different dance moves show what each organization represents. 

“We get to show the individuals on campus what each organization represents,” McNeely said. “Each signature move or each signature dance position that we have represents our organization.”

Jaida Rosado, a senior majoring in geographic information sciences and a member of Zeta Phi Beta, stated that though the strolls each organization performs helps show their uniqueness, coming together to do them at Meet the Greeks helps show the unity in the Divine Nine. 

“Not only does it distinguish our different [organizations] and stuff, I feel like it also brings us all together if we all come and we do it together,” Rosado said. 

All groups performed, except for Alpha Psi Lambda, Eastern’s co-ed Latinx-interest fraternity. 

Alexandra Tinajero, a senior human services student, is the president of Alpha Psi Lambda. She said that though they did not stroll, the fraternity was glad to be there to show support. 

“We went to go show support to our friends of NPHC who did an amazing job as usual!” Tinajero said. “It’s always such an exciting thing to experience, especially with not being able to do it last year. Everyone needed this kind of show to see!”

Luis Paniagua, a senior graphic design student, is the recruitment chair and secretary for Alpha Psi Lambda. He said that he looks forward to the next opportunity they get to perform their stroll.

“We hope to stroll next semester with our friends of NPHC, who are the reason why we went out to support,” Paniagua said. “We love supporting our home team and sending love to each organization as they show everyone how it’s done. We unfortunately did not get to stroll due to our new members not knowing [the stroll] quite just yet. However, for the next one, we hope we can be part of the experience as well!”

Attendees also got to learn some of the history of these fraternities and sororities, such as how Alpha Phi Alpha was founded on an “ice-cold Tuesday” or that one of the purposes of Zeta Phi Beta is to promote the ideal of “finer womanhood.” 

The Greek organizations shared this history through rehearsed chants and choreographed moves. 

According to Ian Davis, a senior exercise science student and member of Iota Phi Theta, all that work learning the history is very important. 

“It’s definitely important to get the details right, so people know that you know your info,” Davis said. “For D9 organizations, it’s really important for them to know. History is a big deal when it comes to D9 organizations, so they don’t want to mess up their info. When it comes to strolling, the chants, all that is part of the history of the organization. Perfection is key when it comes to all that.” 

Multiple NPHC members said that they hope Meet the Greeks gave students an opportunity to learn a little bit more about the Divine Nine. 

“The importance of these events is to spread the word about Divine Nine,” Jones said. “There is a small Black community on campus, and this is here for them. To show them that they do have a safe space to come to. There are other fraternities and sororities on campus, but this one will be the best fit for them, because there’s people just like them in these [organizations].”

 

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]