Efforts to establish social Greek organizations began in the early 1950s during the administration of school president John Messick. National organizations and chapters at other North Carolina schools sent letters of support for establishing a Greek community at East Carolina. Messick opposed their establishment and passed a resolution in 1953 discouraging their presence on campus. The student body opposed this resolution. Letters were sent to the editors of the campus newspaper while others used public forums to raise support for the establishment of social fraternities to meet the demands of a growing student body.
The clamor for the establishment of social fraternities grew too much for Messick to ignore and in 1956 the Board of Trustees approved a temporary one year charter for four national fraternities. In 1958, chapters of Theta Chi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Kappa Alpha, and Pi Kappa Alpha were chartered. The Interfraternity Council was established in 1957, signifying the trial period was a success and the fraternities could pursue full integration into campus life. In the years following, other social fraternities were charted.
Following the establishment of the fraternities, campus coeds began their own efforts to introduce sororities to campus. They found an ally in Dean of Women Ruth White, who brought their request to Messick and were told to begin planning for a similar one year trial in 1959. A Panhellenic Council was established simultaneously with the original eight sororities: Alpha Xi Delta, Kappa Delta, Alpha Delta Pi, Sigma Sigma Sigma, Delta Zeta, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, and Alpha Omicron Pi.
During a time when racial segregation and disenfranchisement plagued African Americans, East Carolina welcomed organizations that fell under the National Pan-Hellenic Council. These organizations have added value to ECU’s campus since the first organization arrived in 1971. ECU has benefited from these organizations because of their commitment to civic engagement, leadership, academic achievement, and providing a sense of belonging for students. The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Incorporated (NPHC) is composed of only 9 International Greek letter Sororities and Fraternities below is the list of organizations and the year they were charted at ECU: Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc., Eta Nu Chapter April 3, 1971; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Kappa Sigma Chapter November 10, 1973; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Theta Alpha Chapter November 11, 1973; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Lambda Mu Chapter June 4, 1983; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Xi Nu Chapter January 29, 1983; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Eta Psi Chapter February 23, 1975; Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity, Inc., Upsilon Zeta Chapter, December 11, 1973; Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Eta Mu chapter December 3, 1977; Iota Phi Theta Epsilon Pi Chapter June 30, 2004.
Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) was established in May 2010 at East Carolina University. MGC was established in an effort to promote the diversity represented within the Greek Life community here at East Carolina University. MGC is composed of national organizations that are associated with the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) and the National Multicultural Greek Council (NMGC). The following organizations are a part of ECU’s MGC: Delta Phi Omega South Asian Sorority, April 14, 2012; Sigma Omicron Epsilon Native American Sorority, March 30, 1997; Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, March 14, 2010, Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, November 22, 2015; Epsilon Chi Nu Native American Fraternity, January 1, 1996; Iota Nu Delta South Asian Fraternity, May 7, 2010.