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The Burning Question

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Q: How did Greek life originate at UIC?

A: When the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle Campus opened in 1965, there were no provisions for fraternities or sororities. Although the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had the nation’s largest Greek system, Chicago planners envisioned UICC as a commuter school. In addition, a local ordinance limited the number of unrelated women that could live in a single residency. As a result, UICC refused to charter any campus residential sororities or fraternities.Under these constraints emerged Pi Alpha Tau, one of the country’s first co-ed “fratorities” and an active force at UICC in the 1960s. Rather than offering a residence, the fratority sponsored social and service-oriented events, such as Freshman Weekend, Orientation and Homecoming, to help build a sense of community on campus. Since the 1960s, Greek life at UIC has grown significantly. In the mid-1990s, the sorority Gamma Gamma Gamma affiliated itself with a national organization and became Alpha Sigma Tau. Ethnic-based fraternities and sororities were also founded. In 1998, Alpha Kappa Delta Phi became the first Asian American sorority in the State of Illinois. Today, 28 Greek organizations are registered at UIC.

-Jason Waak

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