Pledging personal decision

By Michelle Landrum

To pledge or not to pledge…many new freshmen face uncertainty about college life and debate joining a fraternity or sorority.

Freshman Alpha Phi sorority member Katie Keigher said she decided to join a sorority because she “didn’t know a lot of people and I thought it was a great way to meet friends.”

“You don’t have to be greek at NIU, but it adds to the fun of it,” Keigher said. As a non-drinker, Keigher said she enjoys many aspects of greek life beyond “partying. You don’t have to be a drinker to fit in.”

Senior economics major Todd McKinley is an Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity member. Alpha Phi Alpha is one of eight national “predominantly black” greek organizations, McKinley said. All eight chapters are represented at NIU, but “some are active and some aren’t,” he said.

McKinley was a member of the Kappa League at his Hyde Park high school. “My intention when I came here (to NIU) was to join one (a fraternity),” McKinley said.

McKinley has been an active fraternity member since March 1987, after he completed a six-week pledging process. McKinley said pledging was “a time for learning and getting to know the brothers.”

Keigher described the week-long narrowing process of Rush, where sorority candidates visit all nine of the NIU sorority houses to become members. Most women eventually find a compatible house, she said.

The process is “usually really mutual,” Keigher said. Potential members should pick a house where they feel comfortable, she said. Also, candidates can often tell which houses will ask them back just by sensing “mutual friendliness,” Keigher said.

During pledging, McKinley said he attended different organizational meetings, learned how to reserve rooms in the Holmes Student Center and helped with service projects.

Minority fraternities have a different emphasis than other fraternities, McKinley said. “On this campus, we (blacks) are a smaller group,” he said, adding minority organizations serve different needs.

As a pledge candidate, Keigher is in “the process between Rush and being (an) active (member).” Keigher is a theater major and said she finds her time split between rehearsals and sorority meetings.

Keigher said although sorority activities “are so time-consuming” her sorority sisters understand time limitations. She usually spends between three and eight hours at greek functions, depending upon her schedule, she said. “It’s a lot of time, but it’s also a lot of fun.”