By: Victoria Sobolev
According to the Office of the Dean of Students, 23 percent of the undergraduate population at the University of Illinois participates in Greek life. It is hardly surprising that Greek influences are found everywhere on campus. Various sororities and fraternities found on campus are the perfect example of a brand, although Greek life may not often be thought of in this light.
Greek life is similar to a brand because each house has a motto, known in the advertising world as a slogan. An example of this is Phi Delta Theta, whose motto, according to their official website is, “become the greatest version of yourself”. Similar to the catchy jingles used by brands in commercials when trying to enhance recognition in consumers, many sororities have chants that serve as a trademark of their house. Brands have symbols, as do sororities. Kappa Alpha Theta is known for its kite symbol, which can easily be made through hand gestures and is understood by many on campus.
In addition to the power of the spoken word, Greek life is seen on campus through the clothing and accessories worn by everyone belonging to a house. Courtney Lawless, a freshman at the University and a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta house, said from first semester alone, she had purchased 23 items that signified her belonging to the house. When walking around campus the Greek brand is clearly visible through the articles of clothing, water bottles and laptop cases of the students. This visibility helps advertise the presence of the houses because their letters permeate nearly every university facility.
Similar to events held by brands to advertise their products, fraternities hold rush parties to advertise their fraternities to prospective pledges. The purpose of the events hosted by brands is to show why the consumer should buy the product. With rush parties, the purpose is to show how enjoyable the fraternity is and why students should join.
Greek life is deeply embedded in the student culture at the University of Illinois. The Greek community’s effective marketing of sororities and fraternities, as brands, has helped them achieve and maintain their collective influence and popularity.
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