The proportion of Greek students in ASUU is higher than in the general student body.
Members of fraternities and sororities make up 48 percent of the U’s student government but only nine percent of the student body at large, according to a poll conducted by The Daily Utah Chronicle that included elected positions in the executive and legislative branches of ASUU.
Mitchell Menlove, a junior in economics and political science, is a member of the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon and a former ASUU assembly representative. He said his involvement in student government stemmed from living so close to campus, such as on Greek Row.
“This makes it much more convenient for Greeks to be involved,” he said. “The Greek system also provides its members with a large social network, so it’s easier to meet people in ASUU and learn how to get involved.”
Leo Masic, a junior in urban planning and political science and a member of ASUU’s Freshman Council, is not in a fraternity. Masic feels fraternity and sorority members are more common in student politics, but it’s not for the worse.
“They’re the ones actively seeking to get involved,” he said. “If anything, having an overrepresentation of Greeks tends to ensure that highly motivated people are filling positions, which is definitely a good thing.”
A 2013 study conducted by the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors suggests financial factors and proximity to campus affect who participates in Greek organizations, which leads to more opportunities for leadership. Another study, conducted by The Journal of Leadership Education, said students living in sorority/fraternity housing “were over six times more likely to serve as leaders than students who lived off campus.”
ASUU does not directly track the demographics — race, gender, socioeconomic background, or sorority/fraternity affiliation — of its members. But Masic said students have the ability to change the representation themselves by joining ASUU.
“We definitely still need more representation from all over campus,” he said.
Rachel Wootton, a senior in geophysics and ASUU senate chair, is also not part of Greek life. She said ASUU strives to represent everyone, regardless of its members’ student involvement.
“Many of the students involved in ASUU have affiliations across campus, with many different organizations including departmental student advisory committees, their colleges, Greek life, RHA, different student groups and other venues on and off campus,” she said. “Students involved in ASUU do their best to represent all students, regardless of their affiliations, through events, policies and other areas.”