The Sports Zone was home to a unique event on Wednesday night: the first ever “Out in Greek” student panel. As part of LGBTQ history month, several Student Life staff members created this opportunity for members of Greek life to come together and share their experiences with their organizations.
The panel was comprised of four students. First was junior emergency health services major Jonathan Everett, a member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. He talked a little bit about what brought him to Greek Life in general and what made him want to rush.
“As an out-of-state student, I really wanted to get involved at school and Greek Life seemed to be a great opportunity,” said Everett.
An openly gay student, Everett did not experience any hesitation from the fraternity while joining.
Next was junior graphic design and media and communication studies major, Jada Cobb. While joining Zeta Sigma Chi, a multicultural sorority, she said that she was given a space where she felt accepted.
“When I was coming out [as bisexual] to my chapter, I definitely felt more confident with my identity and that was due to the fact that I was so accepted,” said Cobb.
Bentley Corbett, another member of Pi Kappa Phi and a senior music education major, was not originally out when he joined.
“I was not out when I first joined, but I definitely felt more comfortable after coming out and I knew that my brothers accepted me no matter what,” said Corbett.
The final member of this panel was senior history major Jacque Clark, a member of Phi Sigma Sigma sorority.
As another member who hadn’t yet announced her sexuality when she joined, Clark discussed how she came out to her sisters.
“I was not out when I joined, so I actually came out at our retreat and I was a little to scared to see how they would respond, but I just remember them saying ‘thank you for telling us’ and hugging me,” said Clark.
She also added some advice for students who are considering going Greek, but are worried about how they will be perceived.
“If an organization cared about how you identify then you should not be joining them,” said Clark.
The event, put together by Student Life’s Greek Life Coordinator Cory Bosco and Graduate Coordinator for LGBTQ Programs Joe Levin-Manning, was regarded as a great starting point by the panel members.
After so many negative headlines surrounding Greek organizations throughout the country, the general consensus of the panel was that this was a great start to reducing the stigma around Greek Life.