SIU holds annual Greek picnic at new boat pavilion


Jacqueline Zarcone (right), a junior studying psychology and language, and Rebecca Tompkins (left), a senior studying dental hygiene, both of Sigma Kappa, battling one another in the gladiator duel inflatable at the Greek Barbecue, Monday, Aug. 27, 2018. (Allie Tiller | @allietiller_de)

By Farrah Blaydes, Staff Reporter

A large crowd of Greek Life students, community members and potential new members assembled at Ralph E. Becker Pavilion on West Campus Monday night, in celebration of Greek Life at SIU.

The Greek picnic is an annual event held on campus to introduce students to the different sororities and fraternities the university has to offer.

“I think it was held here because West Campus is busier,” Maritza Hernandez, president of Lambda Theta Alpha sorority and a junior studying political science, said.


The event began at 4 p.m. as the Greeks set up their colorful displays in the grass near campus lake, while 17th Street Barbecue served pulled pork sandwiches, in addition to vegetarian options.

The sororities and fraternities set up games of cornhole and a bouncy house near their display tables as students from the nearby dorms flooded the area.

“I wish I knew there was nothing to be nervous about when I went through recruitment,” Emma Thomas, president of Delta Zeta sorority, said.

Thomas, a senior studying marketing, was among the several Greek Life members in attendance.

“The goal of the Greek picnic is to really get prospective students more interested in Greek Life, and to get them to see that we’re all one big community here,” Thomas said.

All of the Greek Life organizations on campus were invited to participate, Thomas said.

Delta Zeta was one of the many sororities represented at the picnic. The sorority members explained the benefits there are for joining their organization and explained their philanthropies to potential new members.


Philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others, generally a charity in which a person can volunteer.

“We have two philanthropies that we support nationally, one is the Starkey Hearing Foundation, they provide hearing aids to those in need in over 100 countries across the nation,” Thomas said.

Joe Locher (left), 21, of Springfield, studying international affairs and German, and Sean Daly (center), 19, of Taylorville, studying political science, introduce Joseph Wallace (right), 18, of Belleville, studying computer engineering, to the Kappa Alpha Order at the Greek Life Barbecue, on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018. (Carson VanBuskirk | @carsonvanbDE)

The second philanthropy is the Delta Zeta Painted Turtle’s camp a free week-long summer camp offered to children who are differently abled or have a chronic illness, Thomas said.

All sororities and fraternities have separate requirements for joining their organizations, all of which can be time-consuming, Hernandez said.

“I think potential pledges should know if you go greek it’s a lot of commitment and work,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez said potential new members of Lambda Theta Alpha must have a 2.75 GPA as a second-semester freshman.

Lambda Theta Alpha has a local philanthropy at St. Jude where they volunteer 10 or more hours a week. St. Jude is a children’s research hospital focused on finding cures for advanced diseases.

Joe Locher, a senior studying international affairs and German, is one of the members of Kappa Alpha Order.

“The picnic is important, it allows any undergraduate student to come out and talk to us, they can compare organizations and see who they really like,” Locher said.

Students interested in joining Greek life can contact the presidents of the Greek organization via email [email protected].

Staff reporter Farrah Blaydes can be reached at or on Twitter at @Farrah_Blaydes.

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