A Way to Connect
“Coming from a small high school with 98 others in my graduating class, I wanted to find a smaller home within a large university,” said Alex Van Noord, a fifth-year student from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Van Noord, a student in the accelerated petroleum engineering, MBA program, found that community through Interfraternity Council, an organization for which he now serves as President.
IFC is one of five councils housed under OU’s Fraternity & Sorority Student Life. The others include Independent Greek Council, Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and Panhellenic Association.
Student Life at OU provides many avenues through which students can become involved and connect with the university community. One of those options is through joining a fraternity or sorority.
“Once I decided OU was my home, I told myself I would be the person I always wanted to be when I got there,” Nichole Krug shared. “Through the recruitment experience I got to meet incredible women who inspired me to challenge myself. I thought if I joined a sorority I could whole-heartedly pursue the woman I always wanted to be.”
Currently, more than 6,000 students are involved in a chapter on campus. With having five councils and a variety of organizations within those, it helps students find an organization that is the right fit for them.
“It’s just another organization to belong to,” said Jill Tran, OU’s Fraternity & Sorority Student Life Coordinator. “I think that they (incoming students) should get plugged into something, and this is an awesome opportunity. We say it’s not just for the four years they are here, it’s a lifetime commitment, so once they join, they have opportunities to be involved with this organization for their life.”
All five councils operate with four components, according to Tran, focusing on sisterhood/brotherhood, academic excellence, community service, and giving to philanthropic organizations.
“Looking to be surrounded by men who wanted to build me up as a person and as a leader, I decided to participate in IFC recruitment, and in the fall of 2013, I signed with Alpha Tau Omega, a fraternity that felt like home,” Van Noord explained. “Over the past four years, I had found exactly that, and so much more. I couldn’t imagine my time in college, or who I’d be as a person, without my fraternity brothers.”
For Nichole Krug, a senior medicinal sciences/pre-pharmacy major with a women and gender studies minor from Kansas City, Missouri, participating in Panhellenic Recruitment as a freshman provided her a place where she could be herself.
Krug, who is now the Panhellenic President at OU, joined Gamma Phi Beta as a freshman. While she was involved in her high school, she said she never felt genuinely happy. Being at OU changed that.
“Once I decided OU was my home, I told myself I would be the person I always wanted to be when I got there,” Krug shared. “Through the recruitment experience I got to meet incredible women who inspired me to challenge myself. I thought if I joined a sorority I could whole-heartedly pursue the woman I always wanted to be.”
Both Krug and Van Noord would encourage future OU students to look into becoming a member of a Greek organization if that is of interest to them.
“Panhellenic is an incredible springboard into campus involvement and leadership roles here at OU,” Krug said. “When joining a sorority, you are not only joining a chapter, you are introduced to 3,000 women who will support you and surround you during your time here at OU.”
“Going through recruitment and joining a fraternity has given me the home and foundation to carry on through college,” Van Noord echoed. “There are going to be many, many great days at OU, and there are going to be some bad days in college, but regardless you will have your fraternity brothers or sorority sisters there to support you through thick and thin. The bonds you create in Greek life will hold you up during and after your time at OU.”
Last year, OU Fraternity & Sorority Student Life hosted the inaugural Fraternity & Sorority Preview Day, designed to give high school seniors or non-affiliated OU students and their families a chance to connect with the five councils. More details for the 2018 event will be posted on greek.ou.edu as they become available.