In the late 1700s, college-attending men would be assigned or encouraged to frequent a literary society, a place where they would debate different issues, gather information from their peers and build friendships. The first fraternities were modeled after these societies, but in a more private setting where current members could choose whom to initiate into their realm.
The first Greek letter fraternity was Kappa Alpha Society, founded in 1825 at Union College. However, the following year there was a controversy involving the Free Masons which led to negative sentiments about organizations regarded as secret societies.
On many campuses, fraternities were banned as administrators and parents became wary about what occurred in the secret meetings.
Over time, Greek societies proved to be beneficial to several facets of the community and student body. Though each fraternity or sorority has different ideals, practices and traditions, many focus on scholarship, leadership and service.
Despite controversy about the functionality of a secretive society on campus, Tech allowed Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) to create a chapter in 1888 on its belief that the organization would serve a worthy purpose.
By 1900, four other fraternities had established chapters at the Institute. Women were not permitted to study on campus until 1952, but just two years later, Alpha Xi Delta established a chapter. Currently there are eight sororities, but as women continue to push against the ratio the potential for chapter establishment and expansion is very high.
The competition between chapters helps them push each other to achieve more and have a wider impact on the community.