While Greek Life may seem like fun and games, the actual depth behind fraternities and sororities is relatively unknown. Of the few that are familiar with these complexities is third-year Ranjot Brar, who will take over this quarter as the new president of the Interfraternity Council (IFC). Hoping to combat misconceptions about Greek Life and unify the UC Irvine community, Brar (otherwise known as the Brüxie Bro) plans to start his term with a bang.
As president, some of Brar’s main responsibilities will include running two meetings a week, collaborating with administration on a regular basis and checking in with fraternity chapter presidents to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
Although new to the position of president, Brar is not new to working on the council. Aside from being a member of Sigma Chi since his freshman year, Brar served as the Executive Vice President for IFC this past year.
Breaking out of his chapter, Brar has come to embody the best of Greek life — he is enthusiastic, industrious, balanced and compassionate. And with these qualities in mind, Brar has high hopes of bringing the Greek community together (which makes up five percent of UCI), and showing the rest of campus what Greek Life is really about.
“I want to start making it so that everyone feels invited to events, not just us. So it makes the whole campus feel united — just another step forward.” Brar said when speaking of his goals for the upcoming year.
With a three-fold plan in mind, Brar hopes to unite the council, motivate fraternities, and integrate the UCI community. His largest feat, however, will be to unite the IFC fraternities and Greek community — tackling problems that he knows all too well.
“There’s a lot of competition that arises from all fraternities and sororities when it comes to recruitment and parties — everyone’s label and who wants to be the best and all that. One thing I really want to start promoting is that you join Greek Life first, then you join your chapter. You’re trying to join this community, and then you join that specific organization.”
By uniting the Greek community as a whole to push Greek Life rather than individual organizations, Brar seeks to expand into the UCI community and squash rivalries between competitive fraternities and sororities. And through the use of a united front, Brar hopes to alleviate the problem of low enrollment rates that many individual fraternity chapters face, despite the growing number of fraternities on campus.
“When it comes to recruitment, our total numbers in IFC have not gone down, but they have for individual chapters. Incoming members are becoming more spread out with the addition of new chapters,” Brar said.
“As IFC Exec, we realize that we need to recruit more members to retain our individual chapter sizes.”
But solely uniting the Greek community will not be enough. In order to make an effective change on campus, Brar must also combat grave misconceptions about Greek Life being the “anti-school” here on campus.
Brar spoke about why some people may be turned away from Greek Life due to common stereotypes associated with fraternities and sororities. He explained that people are concerned that their grades will plummet when they join a fraternity or sorority, and that they will be detracted from preparing for graduate school or future jobs. However, he emphasized that there are plenty of ways that Greek Life encourages academic excellence, whether it is through chapter study hours or the number of available scholarships.
“You do definitely get a lot of scholarship opportunities when it comes to the fraternity, so it’s on us to promote that,” Brar said. “It’s your decision to do well in school, no matter what organization you’re part of. A fraternity is going to keep you busy, but any organization is going to keep you busy, so it’s your mindset to get the work done.”
Showing people that Greek Life isn’t just what is shown in movies and uniting the campus with pride and spirit are just a few aspects students can expect to see under Brar’s leadership.
Greek Life Director and IFC adviser Brian Clarke is confident in Brar’s ability to take over this prestigious position.
“Ranjot’s leadership style is grounded in collaboration and building relationships. He is also a good communicator and is motivated to consistently work towards improvement and creating a great experience,” Clarke said.
“Ranjot will bring a passion for Greek Life and strong work ethic to the IFC executive board that will set a positive expectation for everyone.”
Brar hopes to bring the campus together by encouraging everyone to attend sporting games or philanthropic events such as Songfest, and by fostering people from diverse groups and backgrounds to come together. He wants to shed the Greek community in a positive light and spread the true philosophies of Greek Life — not just the stereotypes of partying, debauchery and frivolousness.
“Fraternities and sororities are founded on high ideals and strong values, and chapter members are expected to be leaders on campus and in their communities,” Clarke said. “Joining a fraternity or sorority provides some of the best leadership opportunities on campus and all students, staff and faculty should expect Greek student leaders who are motivated, passionate, collaborative, responsible and authentic.”