Greek life rewards members for good grades, Panhellenic Council president hopes to increase GPAs


Justeeny Marszalek chose to live in the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority house during her junior year on campus. The house is located at 904 S. 3rd St. in Champaign.

By Karen Liu, Staff Writer

While some might associate Greek life with an extremely active social life, members say they also have a high standard for academics.

“Overall our Greek students are held to a high standard when it comes to grades,” said Emily Jacobs, Vice President of Scholarship in the Panhellenic Council.

Each chapter has a minimum grade point average that the students inovlved must maintain, or else they will be put on academic probation. The required grade point average differs and possible consequences are dependent upon each chapter.

The Interfraternity Council, IFC, and Panhellenic Council both play active parts in inspiring the houses to thrive for better grades.

“My expectation is for each PHC chapter to continue improving their GPA even if it’s by .001,” said Marissa Sulek,  president of the Panhellenic Executive Board. Elected a month ago, Sulek ran on a platform to increase sorority grade point averagess.

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    “It’s important each chapter implements a strong scholarship program to see this happen, and I’m eager to help chapters achieve that,” Sulek said.

    The Panhellenic Council has hosted events such as Books over Bars and Dessert with the Deans, which awarded sorority students for their stellar grades and academic achievements.

    Aside from the pride of high ranking, a chapter’s GPA comes with perks. The Panhellenic Council utilizes the selection of recruitment t-shirt colors as an incentive.

    “Panhellenic attempted to change this policy this semester and go to a unified color, (but) this proposal was voted down by the chapters of Panhellenic,” said Andrew Hohn, associate director of the fraternity and sorority affairs office.

    Alpha Epsilon Phi was ranked No. 1 among the 38 sororities on campus in terms of average GPA. Their chapter president, Ariel Shilitz, talked about the house’s effort in maintaining their academic standing.

    Alpha Epsilon Phi hosts study hours both in their house and in the library three times a week. They also form study groups at the beginning of each semester so that students from the same major and minors can help each other.

    “Alpha Epsilon Phi also has an online program called ‘Greek Study’ where chapter members can log on and log their study hours,” Shilitz said in an email. “At the end of the semester, the top 10 students get a prize.”

    But the prize is not the only thing students are aiming for.

    Hohn said many chapters who perform well academically receive recognition from their national organization.

    “There is also a sense of pride in doing well academically, especially at an institution such as Illinois,” Hohn said.

    This also encourages students to work harder for individual academic success.

    For Emily Jacobs, for Greek members to be involved in the numerous philanthropic, social and academic events forces students to prioritize their time and form a more comprehensive understanding of their daily schedules.

    “Having a friend to sit with in class and to study with makes class a lot more fun too,” Shilitz said.

    Such policies motivate students to put effort into maintaining a satisfying academic standing.

    “Each of the councils establish methods to recognize and reward chapters who do well academically,” Hohn said. “They also all use methods to hold chapters accountable if they are not meeting the council expectations.”

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