UNM Greek life is on the rise, contrary to popular belief stemming from abandoned houses.

The abandoned Greek houses on the northwest side of UNM Campus have gathered a lot of media attention in the last few months, as they have endured vagrants, fire and negative attention. Even the mayor asked city councilors to have the buildings demolished.

Because of this attention, the Daily Lobo decided to investigate whether or not the abandoned fraternity buildings represent an actual decline in Greek life membership.

Joseph Corazzi, chapter president of the Phi Gamma Delta and vice president of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) said many of the vacant Greek life houses have been abandoned for 10 years or more and has nothing to do with membership.

“Although the vacant Greek buildings on the northwest corner of campus seem to depict a decrease in overall membership within Greek life at UNM, this is actually a misconception,” he said. In fact both sororities and fraternities at UNM have experienced significant growth over the last 4 years, and it is possible that membership has doubled.

“I can say with absolute certainty that fraternities at UNM are gaining members overall, not losing them. I believe that this is because the stereotypes of the ‘typical frat boy’ simply do not define what the majority of fraternity men personify here at UNM, and once the young men on this campus understand that fact, the fraternity/Greek system seems much more appealing,” Corazzi said.

Since the beginning of his membership in Phi Gamma Delta in 2012, Corazzi said his fraternity has experienced a 66 percent increase in membership.

Seth Barany, chapter president of Phi Delta Theta, said Phi Delta Theta is actually trying to reduce membership to a more ‘manageable’ size.

“Our fraternity was rechartered on this campus only recently in 2013 after not having a chapter at UNM for 4 to 5 years. In the time since we were refounded, our chapter size ballooned,” he said.

Both Corazzi and Barany acknowledged an anti-fraternity stigma that has arisen because of acts committed by chapters across the country.

Barany said Phi Delta Theta was the first fraternity to adopt an alcohol-free housing policy and that Phi Delta Theta remains a leading organization in “adapting to an anti-Greek climate.”

Along with Barany, Corazzi said Greek life at UNM is flourishing because UNM Greek life has done an effective job at separating UNM organizations from national stigma.

Corazzi said UNM Greeks have higher GPAs, have a better chance of graduating and have a much better chance at holding student office – all of which can affect success after college.

“This is because within any given fraternal organization, one has an abundance of exclusive resources ranging from specialized alumni scholarship advisers, to having a support network of brothers/sisters who’ve either already taken the classes the younger members must take or can help connect them with the proper resource they are in need of,” he said. “Having this guidance is only available through organizations with the same close personal and individualized attention that each member receives in Greek life. Greek organizations invest into each member instead of the member solely investing in it.”

Corazzi and Barany said UNM fraternities are not your stereotypical fraternities, but rather are organizations within which members learn to be students, friends and leaders.

“The Greek system produces high quality and caliber individuals that are motivated and who push themselves to be the best version they can be,” Corazzi said. “This is because the Greek Community at UNM is one that focuses on bettering the lives of all members academically, professionally and socially. We constantly strive to help our members achieve academic and personal excellence and succeed in doing so.”

New member hopefuls are encouraged to participate in the 2016 fall Fraternity Recruitment period to be held during the first two weeks of the upcoming semester.

IFC recruitment representatives will be present and handing out schedules of upcoming events at each New Student Orientation. Any questions, comments and concerns about the recruitment process or fraternity life at UNM can be emailed to UNMIFC@gmail.com. Phi Gamma Delta and Phi Delta Theta chapters can be reached on Facebook.