Greek life has thrived at W&J over its 241 years of operation, having been a home of over 15 fraternities and 4 sororities. Before the merger of W&J Colleges, two Greek organizations were created: Phi Gamma Delta in 1848 and Phi Kappa Psi in 1852, known as the “Jefferson Duo.” Today, Greek life includes 4 fraternities and 4 sororities, notably the Gamma chapter of Beta Theta Pi, which is the longest continuously running Greek chapter in history.
While Greek Life is a place to find friendship and belonging, issues of religious and racial exclusion have been prominent through its long history.
Predominantly Jewish fraternities faced exclusion from Interfraternity Council events while black students were refused membership from organizations that did not believe that these identities represented their brotherhood.
“The only places black fellas could go were the two Jewish Houses.”David Cohen, Class of 1969
Pi Lambda Phi was founded at Yale University in 1895 and claims the title of the first non-sectarian fraternity, meaning they are open to any member with no bias or prejudice based on factors of identity. Pi Lambda Phi came to W&J College in 1948, maintaining a chapter for less than 40 years, closing in 1981. During their time at W&J, they were notably inclusive and had the largest member population for multiple years.