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MIT's Greek Life, Chair from MIT’s Oldest Fraternity, Sigma Chi, 1882; Banner from MIT's Oldest Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, 1977


Sigma Chi, MIT’s Oldest Fraternity

Founded in 1882


Alpha Kappa Alpha, MIT’s Oldest Sorority

Founded in 1977

When MIT was founded in 1861, most students lived locally and commuted from home. As the Institute’s reputation and enrollment increased, however, more students from outside Massachusetts matriculated, thus heightening the demand for housing. Sigma Chi, the Institute’s first fraternity, was founded in 1882, and many more fraternities followed in the coming decade. The role played by fraternities and later sororities and other independent living groups would prove critical in the 20th century. Not only do the FSILGs (Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups) house a significant percentage of all students, but they also demonstrate the value of small, cohesive, and supportive living groups to the MIT undergraduate experience. Not all of MIT’s Greeks provide housing. Alpha Kappa Alpha, MIT’s first sorority chartered in 1977, for example, was inspired by MIT Dean Mary Hope. She believed that black women on campus would benefit from the strong support network provided by this national service and learning sorority.

Chair on loan from the Alpha Theta Chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity at MIT, 532 Beacon Street, Boston; banner on loan from the Lambda Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

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