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USM Fraternity and Sorority Life Community Excels in 2020-21

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 10:18am | By: David Tisdale

The more than 1,400 member Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) community at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) overcame the challenges of a worldwide pandemic that affected all aspects of everyday student life in continuing their pursuit of academic, philanthropic and community service excellence during the 2020-21 academic year.

Highlights from the past year include the following:

*In the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, the All-FSL grade point average (GPA) was higher than the All-Undergraduate (unaffiliated) GPA, most recently with the spring semester All-FSL GPA being 3.36, and the All-Unaffiliated GPA being 2.87.

*During the 2020-21 academic year, FSL chapters raised more than $216,000 for local and national non-profit organizations through dedicated philanthropic efforts that included virtual, hybrid and in-person events in compliance with LSI parameters.

*FSL members tallied nearly 4,000 community service hours recorded through the GetConnected application with the USM Center for Community Engagement.

Emily Holmes, interim director of USM Fraternity and Sorority Life, praised FSL membership for its “resiliency and dedication” in the face of the restrictions and changes brought on by Covid-19 over the last year and a half, as they met academic, philanthropic and service benchmarks.

“While I have just recently stepped into this interim director role, I’ve been blown away by our students’ commitment to the pillars of Fraternity and Sorority Life through their incredible accomplishments in the classroom, as well as outside of the classroom, through service and philanthropy,” Holmes said. “As we all look forward to the fall, I’m confident we will continue to see the soaring achievements of our fraternity and sorority life community as they strive to be model student leaders on campus.”

Reid Morris, a senior from Jackson, Louisiana who serves as president of the USM Interfraternity Council (IFC) said that “as a community, we found new ways to support each other and engage in ways we haven’t before” during the pandemic.

“This (Covid-19) brought a new outlook on and new possibilities with service and leadership, which allowed us to make positive change in a difficult time,” Morris continued. “We were also able to support each other in navigating the adjustment to online learning and provide resources for FSL members. More importantly, we have focused a lot on educating members of our community about issues important to students here and on college campuses across the country, like sexual assault prevention and awareness, implicit bias, and mental health, among others.

“While last year was hard for everyone, I believe our community took an opportunity to grow in different areas and better understand the importance of service, leadership, and academics and prioritize them."

Ciedarius Jacbos, a senior from Bolton, Mississippi, concurred with Morris. “With so much being virtual last year, the FSL community really had to come together as one,” he said. “I’m proud of the connections we made through academic success and philanthropy that enabled us to have such a successful year despite the COVID-19 pandemic.”  

Fraternity and sorority life at USM began with the charter of the first fraternity in 1935; since then, members of the FSL community have made significant contributions through its 26 national and international sorority and fraternity chapters to the university community in the areas of leadership, citizenship, scholarship, community service and philanthropy.

For more information about USM Fraternity and Service Life, visit