Though Gonzaga does not have traditional Greek life, it does have one academic fraternity and several honor societies, which all use the typical Greek lettering in their titles.
Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi) is the closest thing that GU has to university-sponsored Greek life. It is a co-ed fraternity focused on professional development. Like fraternities at other schools, AKPsi holds a rush week, incorporates the big-little system, and highly values bonding within the group, but the similarities end there.
“We don’t do any of the fraternity stuff,” said Claire Richardson, a member on AKPsi’s recruitment board. “Other than we have a rush process and we have a bid process, but that’s kind of it.”
At GU, AKPsi resembles a club rather than a part of Greek life.
“It’s not just some social thing that we do,” Richardson said.
At the beginning of every semester, the group holds a rush, followed by an eight-week recruitment process for the 20-35 recruits who were given a bid.
During those eight weeks, there is no hazing or cult-like experiences. Instead, members are interviewed, asked to give presentations and build their resumes all while attending required events hosted by specific committees. Just a few of the numerous committees that members can join include service, events, human resources and finance.
Another aspect of the recruitment process involves the big-little reveals. Members are matched with a specific person who becomes their mentor: someone to give them advice on interviews, talk to about their resume and attend the events with. There is no huge revelation with decorated paddles and matching shirts like other schools, but it is a valuable relationship to have as they go through the rest of their time in AKPsi and the rest of their educational career in general.
On a relatively large campus, AKPsi allows members to form a smaller community and bond with people who have the same interests as they do. Though their big is one of the first people they get to really connect with, other relationships emerge out of the planned events that they are required to attend throughout the year. These events involve doing yoga together, going on retreats and painting pottery among many other things. The service events also help them form friendships.
“We’ve helped rake lawns for people and we’ve helped picking up garbage in the Logan [Neighborhood], we’ve helped veterans build their resumes and all those sorts of different things,” Richardson said.
The main benefit of AKPsi — besides giving students another community to be a part of — is the advantage it gives them after graduation. There is a large alumni network in which former AKPsi members help current members find jobs and internships. Many of them now work at companies like Facebook and Amazon and are looking for, not only fellow Zags, but fellow AKPsi members to join them.
The networking primarily leads to jobs in the business field which is beneficial for the majority of members who are business majors, but studying business is not a requirement.
People from any major, any year, any background can join AKPsi and there are no specific criteria for becoming a member. The recruitment board simply wants to see that their members are driven, goal-oriented students who value friendship and are passionate about joining the organization.
“It’s definitely a great thing to be a part of,” Richardson said. “A lot of my best friends have come out of AKPsi. A lot of job opportunities that I’m looking at right now have come out of AKPsi and alumni networks … [and] it helps you grow as a person in so many other ways.”
On the other hand, honor societies at GU do not have the setup of a fraternity. The only reasons they resemble Greek life is because of the lettering in their names and their broader national association.
One of the honor societies that GU has is Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), a professional development group focused on accounting, management information systems and financing. It aids members in finding jobs and internships mainly through its weekly meetings. At these meetings, successful firms visit campus and present on certain topics as well as their organization.
Former Zags and BAP members are occasionally part of those firms, and students can always find connections through them; however, there is not much of an alumni network beyond that. Once members find a job for after graduation, they no longer need to be part of the group. Since they drop it before finishing their senior year, they are not necessarily considered alumni.
The main purpose of this organization is to find job opportunities. Madison Pernaa, the president of BAP now has an internship with Deloitte for this coming summer.
“I definitely can owe that to Beta Alpha Psi,” Pernaa said. “Just being able to network and put myself out there … before Beta Alpha Psi, I was a very introverted, didn’t-want-to-talk-to-anybody type of person.”
This organization involves a much smaller commitment than AKPsi, but it still serves as a great opportunity to meet people who share similar interests. There are a few events that they put on, such as the accounting fair and a trivia night, which are opportunities for members to be more social with each other. Members also participate in community service, which can help them to get to know each other more.
Rather than recruiting members themselves, students are required to approach them. After talking to current members in BAP or even overhearing strangers discussing it in the Hemmingson Center, people can reach out and learn more about it. They apply around the second week of the semester but are required to be at least a sophomore and meet the cumulative GPA requirement of 3.0.
Some of the other hidden gems of honor societies on campus are Kappa Delta Pi, Tau Beta Pi and Iota Rho.
Kappa Delta Pi is an educational honor society comprised of education students. According to Zagtivities, it helps provide school supplies for various groups around the world, including female inmates in Washington and children in Africa.
Similar to Kappa Delta Pi, Tau Beta Pi is an engineering honor society. Zagtivities mentions that members of this organization help tutor other engineering students and volunteer in the broader Spokane community. They also receive unique scholarship opportunities with their membership.
Iota Rho is part of the National Communication Association Honor Society. As stated by Zagtivities, this organization gathers communications majors and other students interested in this area of study in one place to discuss topics on communication. It also puts them in close contact with the communications professors and helps them figure out what to do with their degree after graduation.
These are just a few of the honor societies to become a part of at GU. There are numerous others in which membership relies solely on academic achievement, but they do not require much commitment. The organizations previously mentioned are the main ones that will help not only lead to career opportunities but also foster deeper relationships at GU.