Greek this Week: Omicron Trail | By Braiden Redman

Where and when did Greek life start? When was it established on campus? How does a new fraternity start up? What is a colony? How do I answer question 2 in my homework? What is a question? Is this jeopardy? Today I will answer almost all of your questions, but not like jeopardy.

How did Greeks come to be?

In the late 1700s, colleges across the United States had clubs known as literary societies, with Latin names. These were student-run organizations with their own libraries, literary work, debates and more scholarly activities. These eventually evolved to have Greek names…

Once upon a time after some Greek letter literary societies, in 1825 the Kappa Alpha Society was founded at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Soon after this in 1827, Sigma Phi and Delta Phi were formed at the same university. This group of three fraternities known as the Union Triad are seen to be the birthplace of all Modern Greek letter fraternities and sororities. Much after this first wave of fraternities formed, the first women’s fraternity Alpha Delta Pi or The Adelphean Society was then founded on May 15, 1851.  From here on, more and more societies developed with different focuses and values and they spread across the United States. The end.

(Tl;dr : Some guys didn`t like reading as much as they liked building social skill and good character so they made Greek Letter Organizations.)

CC photograph courtesy of “Topsy@Waygood” on Flickr

Not really “the end” though. The number of fraternities founded from then on can pretty much be represented by an exponential function (Yeah I went there!), But let’s cover the history that is closest to home: History of Greeks at the U of A.

Greek systems are old.  Your great, great, great grandpa or other distant relatives could have been a Greek. So when were fraternities and sororities first established on campus? Actually it’s long after the establishment of the organizations themselves.  They were actually banned from existing on campus until 1930.

It’s time to learn about founding dates of local chapters.

Greek Name

Founding year(Inactive)
Phi Delta Theta 1930
Phi Kappa Pi 1930(1975)
Zeta Psi 1930
Delta Gamma 1931
Kappa Alpha Theta 1931
Pi Beta Phi 1931
Delta Delta Delta 1932(1959)
Delta Kappa Epsilon 1932(2010)
Delta Upsilon 1935
Kappa Sigma 1939
Sigma Alpha Mu 1941(1972)
Lambda Chi Alpha 1945
Alpha Gamma Delta 1964
Theta Chi 1965
Phi Gamma Delta 1970
Farmhouse 1974
Ceres 1986
Kappa Alpha Society 1988(2011)
Delta Chi 1995
Pi Kappa Alpha 2000
Alpha Psi 2004

Note: These numbers should be correct to when a chapter became official according to its governing body and the university (i.e. received its charter and became an official group at the U of A).

How does a New Greek society start up?

To start I’ll talk about local groups. We have one local group on campus: Alpha Psi.  Being local means that some women that attended U of A created this group themselves and it is the only chapter of its kind in the world. These women created the laws, traditions and customs that come with it which set them apart from the other groups on campus as they have no international or national body that they operate under.  People can make Greek groups of their own after a lot of work and possibly expand in time.

Besides making an original group, there are hundreds of different existing Greek letter societies.  Many of such are founded pre-1900s and have expanded throughout the United States and Canada.  So how long have fraternities been in Canada and who was first?

Well, Zeta Psi was the first men’s fraternity in Canada in 1879.  The first women’s fraternity in Canada was Kappa Alpha Theta in 1887. Both of which at the University of Toronto.

So what is with this “colonizing” word many of these fraternities are using? Are they settling in log cabins and trading with the locals?

Not exactly. While many Greek groups acquire a house soon after they arrive it’s not quite a log cabin, nor do they normally have enough capital to afford anything to trade. Typically a lot of groups start a new chapter as a trial or “colony” for a set amount of years, and if they operate successfully, they are allowed to stay. However it can be different and it really depends on tradition and individual operational methods. Expansion typically happens when Greek life on a campus is thriving and the opportunity is there for a well-versed member of a non-existing Greek group to teach and receive interest from students on campus.

(So yes! The U of A could see more Greek organizations in the future!)


Anchor Splash concluded this week with Thursday Spirit Day, Friday Anchor Auction and Saturday Anchor Splash at the pool.

The final standings:

Over 3000$ raised for CNIB!

3rd Pi Kappa Alpha/Kappa Alpha Theta

2nd Delta Upsilon

And finally surprising everyone, and practically sweeping the pool events, FIJI (Phi Gamma Delta) came in first place! Will they keep up a first-place streak at Greek God and Goddess? This is happening Friday November, 30th. Greek God and Goddess is an event put on by the IFC for all Greeks to fight it out in a battle of the bands and dance competition. Well not actually fighting because we all love each other, right?

Pi Beta Phi got some love Monday night for all their scary and creative Halloween costumes.  They had their open house which was well attended!

Maybe your Greek house should be in attendance for the Campus Cup? Registration ends November 15th at 5:00pm!  Let’s hope your team is stacked with Listerites.

Luckily, neither of the teams are going to be too stacked at the FIJI-Pike Hockey Game on Tuesday November 6 at 8:30 pm in Clare Drake Arena.   Non-perishable food donations to the Campus Food Bank will be collected, and maybe some Anchor Splash retribution will occur?

But maybe you want to get back at some Kappa Sigmas? Their HairButch Charity 3: Return of The Mullet is Thursday November 8th 6:00 pm where members will auction off their head of hair for a haircut of the winner’s choice which they’ll have to wear for a week. All funds from this event are going to Valour Place Edmonton.

(I hope you didn’t die of dysentery after reading the title.)

As always, Email me all your Greek news, events etc. at

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