By Chloe Greep
Greek life at the University of Utah has been a prominent part of the university since it began in the fall of 1909. Today 11 fraternities, seven sororities and over 1,600 students are members of Greek life at the university. Many of the articles in The Daily Utah Chronicle from 1941 were events and ongoings within the Greek life community. There are articles written on Greek life from parties, dances and even lists of who was newly engaged or married within the community.
In these articles there are frequent mentions of the sorority Delta Delta Delta, better known as Tri-Delt, and the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon. These two houses no longer exist on the university campus and in some ways the history of these houses has been lost and forgotten.
Delta Delta Delta was established at the University of Utah in 1932 with the address 1431 E. 100 South, which is now home to the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha. The chapter’s purpose was “assisting its members in every possible way,” according to the chapter’s website. The chapter focused on raising money for the St. Jude Children’s Hospital Research.
The University of Utah founded the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, better known as SAE, in 1949 and in 1967 it was the largest fraternity on campus, according to the Utonian, the university’s college yearbook. From the articles in The Daily Utah Chronicle, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter was very involved on campus, hosting many parties and partaking in other campus-wide events.
The downfall of the Delta Delta Delta Chapter began in 2006. From year 2000 to 2006 the amount of students who were becoming involved in the Greek system at the University of Utah declined from 970 to 625, a 36% decrease in involvement, according to an article in 2006 in The Salt Lake Tribune.
The Delta Delta Delta chapter was told in the early spring of 2006, that if it didn’t increase membership by 25 people the organization would pull its charter on April 30 of that year. Unfortunately, the chapter was unable to reach those numbers, according to an article written in the Deseret News, ending the legacy of the Delta Delta Delta sorority on the University of Utah Campus.
There is not much information on the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter’s downfall. There is a lot of information on the fraternity’s reputation nationwide. According to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Wikipedia page, between 2006 and 2013 nine deaths were linked to drinking, drugs and hazing within the fraternity. Along with that the site also says that during the 2010s, 18 chapters were suspended, closed or banned. After doing extensive research it seems like the fraternity just disappeared off the school’s campus in 1996.
It is strange how there were several articles written about the decline of the Delta Delta Delta sorority at the University of Utah, but nothing on the reasoning behind the downfall of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. The downfall of the fraternity remains a mystery to all except those who were members of the fraternity at that time. The fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon nationally has a bad reputation and history of hazing throughout the United States, and I wonder if that is the reasoning behind the chapter’s shut down in 1996.
Chloe Greep is a junior a the University of Utah. She is studying communication with an emphasis in journalism.
“Delta Delta Delta says goodbye to Greek Row,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, May 17, 2006.
Tri Delta, Salt Lake City Alumnae Chapter.
Erin Stewart, “Another U. Greek House May Close,” Deseret News, January 29, 2006.
“Sigma Alpha Epsilon,” Wikipedia, November 28, 2019.
Sykes, Shinika A. “Are U.’s Greeks Past Their Peak?” The Salt Lake Tribune, February 21, 2006.