Environmental fraternity comes to campus
Earlier this spring, the university welcomed Epsilon Eta, the first co-ed environmental fraternity on campus.
Epsilon Eta is a nationally recognized professional fraternity for college students who have a passion for environmentalism. The organization is designed to provide a path toward success for young adults pursuing careers in environmental fields. This semester, Epsilon Eta became the 12th chapter of its kind in the nation — an accomplishment that has allowed its founders to develop its own unique set of goals.
“Our goal is to spread awareness,” Rachel Cohen, co-president of Epsilon Eta, said. “And for people who are already aware and ready to take on this fight, the goal is to help them find resources.”
Cohen, a junior studying energy and environmental policy, originally heard about Epsilon Eta through a friend involved at the University of Michigan’s chapter. Cohen was inspired by the success at Michigan, and she knew she wanted to bring that success to Delaware’s campus. After gathering a small group of interested individuals, the planning for Epsilon Eta Mu chapter began.
“This fall, we all met up in the beginning of the semester and rented a room in the library and kind of nerded out about the environment for an hour,” Cohen said. “We were all so excited.”
Since the fraternity is part of professional Greek life, its focus is rooted in teaching members valuable skills, like job interviewing techniques and resume writing. Cohen and executive member Varujan Belekdanian also hope to create an internship database where brothers can search job openings and seek advice from other members. A main goal of the fraternity is creating a close-knit circle for networking in the environmental field.
“You have all the other professional frats on campus like the agricultural one and the business one, but there hasn’t been one in regard to the environment,” Belekdanian, a junior pre-veterinary medicine and animal biosciences major and a member of the executive board of the fraternity, said. “[We want] to take care of the environment and to give back. This is definitely unique to UD.”
Epsilon Eta is unique in its strong focus on the environment, but the specifics of the fraternity ends there. Students from all majors are encouraged to join, so long as they plan on implementing environmentalism into their career. While many prospective members are from science backgrounds, every organization benefits from diversity in interests and studies.
“Everyone who is applying and will eventually be in it has the common goal of devoting their lives and their careers to environmentalism,” Cohen said. “We’re a place where all those people who have that goal in mind can come together, and I’m so excited to see what it ends up being like.”
The time commitment will be kept to a minimum in order to fit the lives of busy college students, according to Belekdanian. Members can expect weekly chapter meetings that will include guest speakers and professional workshops. Service hours will be required each semester but can be completed at the leisure of each student. According to their constitution, brothers are expected to keep a GPA of 2.25.
Cohen and Belekdanian are enthusiastic that their fraternity has had no difficulty spreading to potential members.
While rush has ended for this semester, interested students can plan to rush next school year and join Epsilon Eta’s close-knit group of environmental professionals.
“It’s really exciting to see the response,” said Cohen. “People have been responsive since we started doing outreach and they get really excited. People have even thanked us for starting this on campus which is really cool.”