A toast to good grades in Greek community

Eau Claire fraternities, sororities recognize academic achievements with banquet



Story by Alex Zank, OP/Ed Editor

Greek life gives members a reason to achieve academically, according to members like senior Jake Wszelaki, Phi Gamma Delta member.

“Yeah, you want to get good grades for yourself,” he said, “but knowing you’re also contributing to an organization that expects (you) to get good grades, it just gives you another goal to set.”

Thirty members of the UW-Eau Claire Greek community were recognized for outstanding academic performances at the third Greek Scholarship Dinner, held earlier this month.

Fifteen men and 15 women from the six Greek chapters who held the top grade point averages from fall 2013 dined with the chapter presidents and high-ranking Eau Claire administrators.

Sophomore Kayla Kallas, member of Delta Zeta and scholarship and education chair of the Panhellic Council, was one of the people responsible for putting the banquet together.

She said the banquet started as a way to recognize Greek members excelling in the classroom and to show the campus community that academics is important to the sororities and fraternities.

Wszelaki was one of 30 chosen to attend. The dinner serves as a call for members of the Greek community to “step up” in hopes of scoring an invitation to the banquet, he said.

“I like that they’ve been doing (the dinner) the past couple years,” he said. “Any time you get acknowledged for your high standards is always good.”

Senior Katie Brier, member of DZ, also attended the banquet. She said being involved in a sorority has helped her academic work.

DZ, like the other Greek chapters, includes practices to ensure members are keeping up with schoolwork and doing well in their classes.

An academic chair sets out a plan of required study hours based on member GPA, Brier said. Half the hours are monitored by executive board members.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been to the library and haven’t seen another Greek member already studying there,” she said. “There’s a community there and you look forward to going to it.”

There are also rewards given based on GPA. In fact, to be eligible to become a member of DZ, a 2.7 GPA is required. To hold executive office, the requirement is 2.75. DZ members also need to earn academic points each semester, which are earned through actions like studying and visiting professors during office hours.

“We strive to be leaders with our academics, it’s something our sorority was founded on,” she said.

Another incentive for solid school performance is an opportunity to get a scholarship from their fraternity or sorority. For example, Wszelaki said members of Fiji can get a $500 scholarship from the fraternity if they hit a 3.2 GPA their first year.

Another purpose of the dinner, is to spread awareness of the value the Greek community puts on academics, Brier said.

“There is a stereotype of who Greeks are. I think a lot of times there’s this image there isn’t a focus on academics,” she said. “Every single Greek chapter has (an academic policy) that has built up to what they value. It really points out to the true image of what we’re about.”