27 Things I wish Someone Told Me About Greek Life at UM

My name is Spencer Lawston and I am a senior and a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon here at the University of Montana. While I also enjoy grilling on the front lawn and drinking PBR, I will be the first to admit I look nothing like Zac Efron.

When I first came to school I never pictured myself as a “frat guy” and to this day I am still amazed that I decided to go through recruitment. Looking back now, joining a fraternity was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, but Ill talk about that a little later. When I first joined I had no idea what to expect, and to this day I am still surprised by some things. This article is all about the 27 things I wish someone would have told me when I decided to join Greek life at the University of Montana.

 

  1. Float building during Homecoming is chaotic- Houses get paired up and have to come up with a creative float idea to match the same homecoming theme every year. It’s always a chaotic rush to finish before Saturday morning at 8 because we don’t start until Friday night typically.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 11.41.54 AM
  2. You can move into your house as a freshman- Instead of living in a cramped dorm room with a random roommate for another semester, you could move in to your immaculate, lavish, and spacious chapter house (for those that have them at least).
  3. Every fraternity and sorority has a “sweetheart” and it takes a lot of time and effort to become one- It usually takes a year of campaigning and a lot of participation from the entire chapter as well in order to win (no wonder SAE hadn’t had a member be a sweetheart in like 15 years).
  4. You can get J-boarded twice, in one year, while you’re already on probation, and stay on campus Somehow SAE got J-boarded for actually following the rules and enforcing a guest list at one of our “Unregistered Functions”. We also somehow managed to meet all the terms of our probation (shout out to Drew Hossle and Flagship) and get off of probation.
  5. Griz Mornings are a thing, and they are awesome- Nobody tailgates earlier, harder, or better than the Greeks do.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 3.55.17 PM
  6. Theta Kickball is the best philanthropic event in the universe- Seriously, who doesn’t like playing kickball all day? And all the money raised goes to charity, its a win win.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.32.56 PM
  7. Elections are the longest meetings of all time- Every semester we have to elect new position, and it always takes upwards of 3 hours. 3 hours of candidates telling you the same thing and asking for your vote.
  8. Greek life advisors change pretty frequently- Maureen gave way to Julie, who gave way to Caitlin (temporarily), luckily Caitlin is officially hired and will hopefully be here for a while.
  9. In 4 years we’d have 3 new chapters on campus- I mean two (R.I.P. Pike).
  10. Moving into the house for the first time is absolutely insane- I had no idea what I needed for my room when I first moved in. Moving is always difficult, but when 25 people are all trying to move into the same house at the same time, things get crazy.
  11. SAE’s Toga Party is the absolute best party of the year- This is pretty self explanatory, TOGA TOGA TOGA!!! 
  12. Senior games are a hilarious tribute to the seniors, at the expense of your underclassmen- Every senior loves getting schmoozed for a week. It’s a great way to celebrate making it through college, kinda.
  13. SAE would eliminate the pledge process all together- It was a huge announcement that completely changed the entire makeup of one of the largest fraternities in the country. It has forced us to completely re-organize our entire member education process and has increased the workload required by every member of the chapter.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.34.40 PM
  14. I would be in charge of recruitment- Somehow I got put in charge of running Fraternity recruitment. I had to scrap the old process and come up with an entirely new process. Everything went well and the new system is still pretty much intact. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my time here.
  15. I would tell a room full of parents that “we pretty much party every weekend”- I went into the presentation saying that I was going to be honest, and when a parent asked what the social scene was like, I responded honestly (I was actually scared for my well being when I looked over and saw Caitlin and Julie).
  16. The above statement would lead to one of the largest recruiting classes we’ve ever gotten- We got 117 new fraternity men that year, up from 30 in the previous year.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.36.42 PM
  17. Being VP of your house makes everyone hate you- Nobody likes you when you tell them that they have to follow the rules.
  18. Cupcake would become IFC President- Cupcake is arguably the most likable person in our Greek system so seeing him, and working with him, on an executive board was quiet the experience.
  19. The Dad bod would become a thing- And I would fully support and embrace it to the dismay of manyScreen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.25.22 PM
  20. I would lose the Mr. Anchorslam competition several times- I have been called the DG troll by some, and my friendship with pretty much all of the Delta Gammas is well known. In my early years I thought that I was a lock for Mr. Anchorman, clearly I was wrong, three times.
  21. Overnight functions are the best functions- It took 3 years but we finally went on an overnight function as a chapter. We rented out a huge house near Flathead Lake and stayed for 2 days. These two days were ridiculous and I cant really write anything else about it.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.27.49 PM
  22. Going to National events is an absolute blast, and you learn some stuff too- I myself have been to Vegas, Miami, and the Bahamas on a cruise ship for national leadership schools. These events are located in highly desirable locations and have hundreds of other members in attendance. It gives you a chance to meet members from around the country and network with them.
  23. The entire Greek system can continuously come up with creative and unique themes for social events- It is a constant struggle for houses to come up with themes for social events but UM doesn’t disappoint. From highlighter and jungle, to the Harlem Shake and construction, UM Greeks show that they can stay creative and innovative.
  24. I would spend $1,000 on a bar tab at formal- We’ve all had nights where we come back from downtown and realize we spent way too much money. In most cases thats like $100. My Junior year at our Violet Ball Formal at the Ranch Club I somehow managed to rack up an $1,117 dollar tab. Apparently I told everyone in attendance I would buy their next round and also told the bartender to only use top shelf alcohol. Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 11.21.47 AM
  25. I would finally achieve my college long goal of becoming Mr. Anchorman- After 4 years of campaigning and probably $500 in spare change, I finally achieved my goal and was awarded the coveted prize, it was the best day of my college career, hands down.
  26. Greeks would be so rowdy during homecoming that all alcohol would be banned in Greek life- Never mind what actually happened and what the actual punishment was, TFM, The Kaimin, The Missoulian, and every other news agency in Montana ran with the headline “Alcohol banned in all Fraternities and Sororities”. #SoberForOctoberScreen Shot 2016-02-29 at 11.23.58 AM
  27. Greek life at UM is a tight knit community- In the end, we’re a pretty small Greek system and we’re all tight knit. We all have friends in different houses and can all come together when we need to.
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