Greek Life at Baylor prominent in ’90s

Kappa Alpha Theta is one of the many sororities that was on campus during the '90s. Lariat File Photo

By Morgan Harlan | Staff Writer

Greek Life is a prominent part of Baylor’s campus, with 25% of its student body involved in a sorority or fraternity. However, the abundance of students involved in the greek system isn’t new. In fact, in the 90s, Greek Life was very much apart of Baylor’s culture. While social media had yet to exist, the Stacy Riddle Panhellenic building was a parking lot, and date event photos were taken on polaroid cameras students still wore their letters with pride. Looking back on Greek Life two decades ago, many things have changed on Baylor’s campus but, many traditions have sustained to today’s Greek culture and organizations.

Melanie Briscoe, joined Chi Omega on Baylor’s campus in the spring of 1990. Briscoe was an active member until her graduation in 1994. Briscoe was a member of Chi O’s winning All-University Sing act and served as the historian and house manager. She currently serves as a faculty advisor for Baylor Chi Omega, runs the Tutoring Center in Sid Richardson and grew up in Waco because both of her parents were on Baylor faculty.

Briscoe’s member class was 54 women, which is quite smaller than the 100 plus sized pledge classes that are currently taken by Panhellenic chapters. She said that certain traditions such as Sing have practically remained the same, with crazy hair, makeup and dancing.

“Being a part of Greek life at Baylor allowed me to find identity in an organization that was working towards a greater good and a common goal,” Briscoe said. “I always wanted to represent Chi Omega in the highest form possible.”

Briscoe said that she has noticed chapters fluctuate in terms of Sing and intramural performance throughout the years. In addition, Chi Omega’s room was in Alexander Hall. Briscoe said that recruitment would take a lot of manpower and time because everything was done by paper and girls had to walk to and from every sorority room, which were spread across campus.

Amy Hougen, a 1991 pledge member of Alpha Chi Omega had a pledge class of 50 women.

“We did Sing and homecoming floats and it was just as much work then as it is now,” said Hougen.

Hougen said that women received their bids by slipping them under their door rooms which is the biggest difference she sees in Greek life today at Baylor. Towards the end of her time at Baylor part of her Alpha Chi Omega dues went towards a Panhellenic building, which ended up paying off because Hougen’s daughter is now active in Greek life at Baylor.

“We did not have cameras or cellphones so instead of taking our own pictures a business called Flash would come to all the events and take pictures,” Hougen said. “You would then go look at all the different pictures and decide what you wanted.”

Hougen said sorority women were referred to as “Baylor bow heads” because of the giant bows many women wore in their pony tails. Her roommates at Baylor were also involved in Greek life, one of them was a Zeta Tau Alpha and the other a Chi Omega.

Two of the chapters that were on campus in the ’90s were Kappa Delta and Sigma Kappa but are no longer apart of Greek Life on Baylor’s campus. While technology has advanced and recruitment has changed, Greek Life at Baylor still plays a large role in many students’ lives.