Welcome, or welcome back, to Tech. In the fall, the Institute is a fantastic place to be. Whether this is your first year on campus, or you’ve returned for your sixth, you’re here at the right time to witness the perennial renewal of Tech in the oppressively humid days of late August.
Since last Spring, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) has made concrete efforts to improve Tech, the community that we all belong to. In May, we worked with the Dean of Students’ office, as well as other student organizations, to craft and finalize a new campus-wide policy on hazing, which makes all student organizations accountable to the same strict anti-hazing policies that Greek life has promoted in past years. Along with the SGA, we collaborated with the Athletic Association to increase the number of student tickets allotted to all students and streamlined the ticket registration and actual gameday ticketing process. This past week, the Greek Councils hosted a Peer Education session that helped freshmen recognize their personal values, as well as understand how to combat some of the negative influences of collegiate life, such as binge drinking and peer pressure. Next Saturday, we’ll finalize the roll-out of the Greek Recycling Program, a fully student-funded initiative which will provide convenient access to individual recycling centers for fraternity chapter houses, as well as all students on East Campus.
Yet as the new fall term starts, we’re all offered an opportunity to experience Tech in a different way: by joining a new organization, contributing in a greater way than in the past or strengthening existing relationships with friends, new and old.
The Institute is buzzing with activity, and it represents an opportunity. Fall semester at the Institute is an opportunity to start fresh. I want to share with you the secret to happiness at Tech: get involved and give back.
This past week, around 450 young men and 300 young women joined one of the IFC or Panhellenic chapters on campus. Each one of these students made the decision to get involved at Tech in a big way. If you’re one of the young men or women who took a bid this week—congratulations. Greek Life here at Tech is a fantastic, unique experience and opportunity to grow, learn and become lifelong brothers and sisters with fellow Jackets. You’ve joined one of the most lauded Greek communities in the southeast, winning multiple awards each year from Greek organizations across the U.S. Unlike other universities, Tech’s Greek community is highly cohesive, where members see past their letters and extend beyond their individual organizations.
Greek life has been an integral part of campus since before Tech even began. The first fraternity came on campus in 1888, one month before the school term even started. Institute President Isaac S. Hopkins, the first President of the Institute, recognized the need for an institution for students to both socialize and grow as leaders, in a values-based organization that would help change them into better men. Since that time, fraternities have played that integral role of both leadership incubator and social outlet.
Yet, fraternities and sororities are not the only routes to involvement at Tech. Whether you’re a freshman, sophomore or super senior, it’s never too late to find a student organization that provides opportunities to get out and get involved with fellow Jackets. In my three years at Tech, I’ve been involved in many different facets of student life—and they have all been immensely rewarding in their unique ways.
So as we start a new fall, welcome to the Institute. I urge you to get involved with campus organizations, be they Greek chapters, professional clubs or service organizations. You’ll gain great friends, leadership skills, and experience first-hand the satisfaction of contributing to student life at Tech. Regardless of your affiliation, Greek or independent, there are two letters greater than those of a fraternity or sorority that bind us all together: GT.