Sororities vote to grant Mu Sigma Upsilon associate status

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DePauw’s six Panhellenic chapters voted on Thursday to grant Mu Sigma Upsilon (MSU) associate status, a title that no MSU chapter in the midwest currently holds.

MSU is nationally associated with the National Multicultural Greek Council, but the group interested in establishing an MSU chapter at DePauw hopes to be associated with Panhellenic Council. Associate status allows MSU to pay dues, the option to participate in the first round of recruitment, and serve on the Panhellenic executive board, though it does not permit the group to join the 26 organizations currently in the National Panhellenic Council.

Nationally, MSU interest groups are called Togetherness Independence Academics Respect and Achievement (TIARA). DePauw’s TIARA representatives presented their hope to establish a Panhellenic association on Feb. 8. TIARA introduced MSU to Panhellenic, explaining the sorority’s national goals and their vision for a chapter on DePauw’s campus. Panhellenic sororities then had two weeks to vote within their chapters before the official vote.

“Under Panhellenic, we would operate the way any other sorority under Panhellenic would operate,” said senior and TIARA president Malina Tang. “We would not take part in rush, although in some schools outside of DePauw, Mu Sigma Upsilon has taken part in that, but instead of doing bids they give an invitation to interview.”

TIARA has been the official interest group for MSU for nearly a year, but Tang and junior Staisy Cardenas, the secretary for TIARA, have wanted to start a chapter for more than three years. Both Tang and Cardenas have worked closely with an MSU nationals liaison to find the best way to establish a chapter on DePauw’s campus. The liaison led the DePauw TIARAs to push for Panhellenic status.

“Panhellenic has been very welcoming, very willing to work with us,” Cardenas said. “I think that was the best option for us.”

Tang appreciates the positive relationship between TIARA and Panhellenic so far.

“I think I’m most excited also to work with Panhellenic. It’s always been this big thing that no one’s really known about,” said Tang. “So I think it’s really exciting to finally be able to be like ‘hey, I’m working with them.’”

MSU has over fifty chapters nationally. Its goals, according to the official MSU website, are academic excellence, unity amongst all women, and to be active in the university & community.

MSU changes its philanthropy every five years to explore different causes. Currently, its philanthropy is “To Write Love on Her Arms,” a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for suicide prevention and providing support for depression sufferers.

“To my understanding, MSU has been trying to establish themselves on DePauw’s campus for three to four years, but until . . .  last semester, they didn’t come to Panhellenic for associate membership status,” said Panhellenic President, junior Makena Barickman.

Until MSU gets its charter from nationals, however, the current TIARA members are not constituents of DePauw’s Panhellenic community.

“They’re a member of the Panhellenic community once they get their charter,” Campus Living and Community Development Coordinator Nick Stepaniak said. “Once they get their charter, they will be able to have a vote--there will be seven votes--and be able to serve on the executive board, except for president and vice president for recruitment, so those are the only two positions that they could not run for.”

To finalize the process, Stepaniak said, the TIARAs will meet with University officials to make sure they have DePauw’s support. The meeting will cover expectations and guidelines. Stepaniak said that TIARAs and the University will “work closely with the national organization to make sure that they’re going to be successful in their process, because it’s a lot of work.”

Once the process is completed, MSU nationals and volunteers will travel to DePauw to initiate the new chapter. During the orientation, potential sisters will learn about the history of MSU and develop relationships with sisters of MSU.

“I’m really excited about working with Panhellenic,” Cardenas said, [and] changing up how Greek life is at DePauw because it’s a new type of sorority for Panhellenic, so just change, it add a little bit, not diversity per se, but add a little bit of variety in the type of organization you can be in.”