Greek Life saves local organizations at Iona College


Students gathered on the steps of the Spellman Portico and were led by Dean of Students Joel Quintong as they chanted “Save local orgs.” Photo Credit – Nicholle Parsons

Stacey Franciamore, Editor-in-Chief

Council for Greek Governance President Siena Clarke and Service Management Chair Nicholle Parsons organized a demonstration in protest of the expansion of national Greek organizations at Iona College in combined leadership with the leaders of local Greek organizations on campus on Oct. 28.  


The protest was held in response to the Office of Student Development’s vision for the nationalization of Greek Life, which would have dissolved all local Greek organizations that exist only at Iona College into national Greek organizations. One hour after the protest, the Office of Student Development announced that they would not be moving forward with the decision.  


This vision was created on the belief that nationalization would have provided great benefits to students, such as access to vast professional networks, leadership training and increased resources,” Director of the Office of Student Development Melissa Aponte said.  


Upon hearing the news, the Council of Greek Governance immediately took action to defend local organizations. Clarke and Parsons reached out to the local organizations on campus and within an hour they organized a time and place to protest.  


“If you want to have something be said and have it be heard, you need to say it loudly and you need to say it in a place where you will be listened to,” Parsons said.  


Around 60 students gathered on the steps of the Spellman Portico and chanted “Save local orgs!” while many others chanted from their dorm rooms. Leaders of the local organizations were present and expressed their concerns.  


“A local organization brought Greek Life to Iona. Gamma Lambda Rho founded in 1973 is the oldest organization on campus and is in huge part responsible for why Greek Life even exists here,” senior and sister of Gamma Lambda Rho Olivia Cruz said.  


According to Parsons, getting rid of these local organizations would get rid of all of the effort they put forth to build and strengthen the community through their community service.  


“I think when we look at Greek Life there’s often this negative stigma, but I can see from a very concrete perspective that the reason Greek Life exists is our service aspects,” Parsons said.  


Parsons also created a petition, “Don’t Erase Our History: Local Organizations at Iona College” on that quickly reached its goal of 1,500 signatures. The petition garnered so much attention that contacted Parsons and asked if they could feature it on their website.  


“I truly believe that had things not changed and turned around so quickly we would have reached numbers beyond our comprehension,” Parsons said. “The Iona alumni that got involved is absolutely amazing…This proves that it’s not just a club that wears fancy t-shirts, it’s a lifetime commitment and friendship that you build in college.” 


Clarke shared that being a part of a local Greek organization has positively impacted her college career and has encouraged her to become more engaged and actively involved on campus.  


“On a personal level, if it wasn’t for my local org I wouldn’t be in the position I am today,” Clarke said.  


According to Aponte, the goal was to have all Greek organizations at the national level by Fall 2022. Due to the student response to the proposal, the Office of Student Development decided not to move forward with the decision.  


We want our organizations to know that we value their history and traditions and appreciate all they have contributed to the college,” Aponte said. “We always have our students’ best interest at heart and look forward to working together in a collaborative spirit to make Greek Life the best it can be.” 


The Office of Student Development is working with each organization and the Council for Greek Governance to build on the success of local organizations and enrich the Greek Life experience at Iona, according to Aponte.