Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only



First Advisor

David Cotter




BIPOC, Greek Life, Fraternity & Sorority, Higher Education, College Social Life


Abstract: While 67% of the student population at Union College is white, 81% of the Greek life population is white, there is a 14% difference in the white population between Greek life members and the student population. This 14% surge in the white population between Greek life members and the student population is unlikely by accident, which begs the question: Why are BIPOC students not part of Greek life at Union? The existing literature on the subject suggests that there are a variety of factors, such as history, class, socioeconomic, race, that influence this dearth, but no studies thus far have explored this question. Furthermore, a qualitative study was conducted and then analyzed thematically to uncover: the general landscape of Greek life at Union College, the reasons students choose to join Greek life, and the reasons BIPOC do not join Greek life. The results demonstrated that Greek life plays a large role in campus social life, and was highly dictated by athletic affiliation, race, and gender. The most prevalent reasons students chose to join were: generational ties, asserting relevance, meeting people, athletic ties to organizations, sense of community, breaking racist cycles, professional opportunities, and pressure to join. Conversely, the reasons BIPOC students did not join were: lack of belonging, lack of connection to network, no robust options of multicultural fraternities, focus on academics, a disinterest in parties, fear of isolation from BIPOC community, and the negative history and culture of historically white organizations. This study can further knowledge, which can help build more racially inclusive higher education institutions.



Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.