Indiana Daily Student

Conference combines greek life and faith

Growing up in Oklahoma , IU junior Lexi Allman said two of the biggest cultures she identified with were Christianity and greek life.

As she struggled to reconcile these parts of her identity, she learned about IU’s chapter of the greek Intervarsity Council, a national greek organization where members from fraternities and sororities join to practice and spread their faith. In 2014, Allman attended her first Greek IV conference in Indianapolis.

More than 30 universities and about 600 greek members attended the 2016 Greek IV conference last weekend.

The Greek IV conference is a nationally split event with conferences also held in Los Angeles and Charlotte, North Carolina.

The conference is an event in which both Christians and non-Christians come together to interpret, practice or celebrate faith in Christianity.

It was set up in multiple different “tracks” or concentrations, Allman said.

The Leadership track taught individuals the importance of leadership ideals and how to become better leaders.

For non-Christians who have questions about faith they would like to discuss, there is the Encounter track. Allman said they are typically interested in possibly converting to Christianity, but not all of them do.

“If you’re not a Christian by the end of it, that’s totally fine,” she said.

Christians attempt to understand their personal relationship with God in the Connect track.

During the Thrive track, attendees learned how to deal with the controversies of greek life, as well as how to balance sisterhood or brotherhood with faith.

Finally, the Influence track taught students how to continue their faith post-graduation upon entering the workforce.

Along with these concentrations were a series of activities for attendees, as well as a dance party. While the conference was a social event, Allman said it was essentially where greek students learned how to be better Christians and vice versa.

“I think the biggest benefit of the conference for me was to be able to see the greek students who are trying to do the same countercultural thing we’re doing,” she said.

The Greek IV council is an umbrella organization in the greek community connected to the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students.

Greek IV is also heavily focused on ministry, each member attempting to convert members of their fraternities and sororities and beyond, Allman said.

Because it’s a national organization, Greek IV offers a multitude of opportunities for members to do ministry abroad in other regions of the country and world, she said.

While respectful of others’ choice of faith, Allman said she still enjoys discussing her religion with non-Christians.

“We want to give them the opportunity to expand their minds a little bit more and grow,” she said.

Along with these additions to membership, Greek IV board member Jeannie Hsu said greek members can learn how to lead a happy life, without the “earthly pleasures” of sex and drugs, through an accepting community.

“It creates a space where greeks from different houses can grow in their faith together,” Hsu said.

Hughes said he was astonished by the amount of greek members who “met Christ” while in college. However, Allman said she believes religion and greek life coincide because, while both can be subject to negative press, they understand each other.

“I think the people in both can often be striving for the same things,” she said. “Same sense of belonging and same sense of community.”

Through Greek IV, greeks can be united for a positive purpose through a community that accepts anyone willing to join, she said.

“I think it’s an opportunity to have a place to feel welcomed. No matter where you came from, no matter what you are, no matter which mistakes you’ve made,” Allman said.

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