Several years after the University of Maryland was founded as the Maryland Agricultural College in 1856, this department was created to support students in pursuing fraternal bonds and service on campus.
With the loss of the housing barracks in 1912 due to the Great Fire, the seeds of a new kind of community and commitment in College Park were planted at the Maryland Agricultural College.
The men who were displaced from the barracks, including those who belonged to the earliest fraternities, moved in with families in the community. The bonds of fellowship were greatly enriched by the shared living experience, and in 1913, then University President Dr. H.J. Patterson first envisioned the University providing chapter houses so Greeks could live out their values for the whole community to see. Present to take Dr. Patterson's words to heart was a recent graduate and temporary football coach, Harry Clifton "Curley" Byrd, who would propose to build Fraternity Row when he became President of the University in 1935. From these humble origins, a diverse and thriving fraternity and sorority community would emerge – a community that continues to be a vibrant and critical part of the life of the University of Maryland today.
The Frieze was a yearbook published specifically for the University of Maryland Greek community from 1971 to 2000. Publication began in part in reaction to the elimination of composites of each Greek chapter and other individual pages for each group from the university’s yearbook, the Terrapin.
The Greek community in the early 1970s developed the idea of having a "Greek Yearbook" which they named The Frieze. They decided to return to a traditional format, with each fraternity and sorority having its own pages and its own composite picture. They sold the books, with each group committing to buy a certain number, and the coordinating councils, the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association, contributed enough to completely fund the publication; the Student Government Association also provided funding for a time in the 1990s. The Frieze also included candid photographs from all of the Greek-sponsored activities such as intramurals, parties, group philanthropies, "Greek Week," and "Homecoming." The publication was a huge success for nearly 30 years. Publication in hard copy ceased in with the 1999-2000 edition, due to lack of funding.
The Department of Fraternity & Sorority Life recognizes that The Frieze is a snapshot in time, highlighting both the valuable and problematic history of the fraternity/sorority experience. While we are proud of how far we have come as inter/fraternal organizations, we also acknowledge that there is still work to do. The Frieze features some of the ugly history in our fraternity/sorority community, which is not unlike the nationwide history for this geographic region and functional area. Editions of this yearbook include racist symbols, hazing, sexism, and other behaviors we have worked hard, and continue to work hard, to dismantle and eradicate. We believe it is important to not erase this reality, but instead, recognize and name where we come from so we can learn from our past. We hope our community can acknowledge this history and use the information to inform our continual interrogation of inherently discriminatory systems and progression toward inclusion of all identities. We, as a department, emphasize continual learning around social justice and hope that in our education and awareness, we are not replicating our past, and instead, are constantly moving forward.
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