Missouri State University sorority Xi Omicron Iota now allows Bear POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Work, Education and Resilience) students to join as part of their recent push for more inclusion. It is spring recruitment season and Xi Omicron Iota released a statement saying, “Xi Omicron Iota becomes the first sorority at Missouri State to offer full membership to Bear POWER students.”
“Most FSL requires students to be degree-seeking in order to join,” said Tamara Beason director of student engagement. “So in order to join they would have to lift that requirement.”
It is difficult for other FSL life to do this, as they have national requirements. Xi Omicron Iota is only available at MSU, which allows them to change the sorority’s policies easier.
“We want to be an option for non-traditional students,” Hannah Fuller, president of Xi Omicron Iota, said.
The sorority voted to change the degree-seeking and GPA requirements last year. Instead, members have to be in good standing with their advisors.
The sorority has had this policy in effect since last semester, but they haven’t had much interest until now. They released their press release in hopes that more people would want to join.
“We were founded on the principle to be sorority with different options,” Fuller said.
Last year, the sorority was already allowing students with intellectual disabilities to join if they were not in the Bear POWER program. Not being in the program meant that they had a GPA and were diploma seeking.
“Bear POWER is a new inclusive college program for students at Missouri State with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Bear POWER director Rachel Heinz.
As part of the program, students are working towards earning a certificate for graduation instead of a diploma. This causes issues for Greek life on campus.
Katy Millwood, the vice president of recruiting for Xi Omicron Iota, said she has been in contact with Bear POWER advisors for the last month. She recently held an informational meeting where any potential students interested could ask her questions.
“I have sent a packet that has the descriptions for joining to all Bear POWER women,” Millwood said.
Bear POWER women are excited to have the opportunity to join a sorority says Bear POWER student.
“We get to be independent and go to classes with other students,” Bear POWER student Miranda Terrell said.
But, until now they could not join greek life. She was disappointed when she came to MSU and realized because of how the program was set up FSL was not an option.
Now, it is a different story. Terrell said, “I am excited that we can join a sorority and experience it.” She was unable to attend the first meeting explaining how to join the sorority. However, now she already knows two of her friends are considering joining.
Bear POWER is an organization that is meant for inclusion. Until now, that was not an option. However, with Xi Omicron Iota all women now have the opportunity to join one of the most coveted aspects of college, greek life.