It happened again! I was walking onto the University of Birmingham campus wearing my letters when this American girl stopped me, asking me whether I’m actually a brother of AEπ. When I replied that I am, she looked even further confused by my English accent, so I’d like to take this opportunity to clear the air. Ladies and gentleman, Greek life has officially invaded the United Kingdom!
Roughly two years ago, a Jewish student at the University of St. Andrews was intrigued by the mention of ‘The Jewish Fraternity’ in 2010’s ‘The Social Network’. Looking into it, late one night, led him to the official fraternity website where he ended up filling the ‘Start a Chapter’ form. Two days later he received a call from the Indianapolis headquarters and within a week, he was sitting with the only guy willing to wear shorts in Scotland in December, an American.
Two years down the road and the UK is now blessed with over a hundred brothers in AEπ colonies at eight different cities around the country, two of which are in fact about to be chartered in the coming spring. In fact, just a month ago I had the fortune of visiting our brothers in Leeds, who have officially got together to create the first AEπ house in the UK, hanging the letters outside with pride.
Being the only fraternity on campus is no easy task. The majority of British students don’t entirely understand Greek life and it’s not as if we can just pop in the ‘Animal House’ Blu-ray! However, it does permit us to blitz the UK scene with things that students here would have never thought of! For instance, this coming spring term, we are launching the first ever Nearly Naked Mile on campus in support of the British Skin Foundation, we have even been promised national TV coverage!
We’re hosting mixers with AEX, the local sorority that has started here in Birmingham, ranging from a zip-tie bar-crawl to a massive Mardi Gras party at a local nightclub. As a defensive-back for the Birmingham Lions, the university’s American football team and current national champions, I am in the process of planning a huge tailgating event for xpLosION 2014, our homecoming game. As the only fraternity in town, it is almost our responsibility to celebrate these events in true Greek fashion.
We’ve had to deal with some serious obstacles, not owning a house and considering the universities are very wary of some of the bad reputation that Greek life has in the media, but I can assure you that the future of fraternities and sororities in the UK looks extraordinarily bright! Every pledge class is getting bigger and every organization we approach is more eager to work with us than any before. I can only hope to welcome many more Greek organizations onto our campuses in the near future!
Proud to be AEπ! Proud to be Greek!
– This answer was written by Sam Rabinovitz, Social Chairman, Upsilon Kappa Gamma Colony (Birmingham, UK) and new contributor for the thefraternityadvisor.com. If you are interested in writing for thefraternityadvisor.com – let us know (CLICK HERE)!