MTV Cameras Focusing on Members, Pledges in UB Sorority and Fraternity

By Arthur Page

Release Date: September 11, 2002 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo and several dozen of its undergraduate students will have a "starring" role on two MTV series for 13 weeks beginning in February.

Members of Delta Xi Omega sorority, students who have "rushed" the sorority this semester and members of the sorority's fall pledge class will be the subjects of the second season of "Sorority Life."

Similarly, members of Sigma Chi Omega fraternity, students who have "rushed" the fraternity this semester and members of the group's fall pledge class will be the subjects of the first season of a new companion show, "Fraternity Life."

Students who do not belong to either Greek organization, but agree to be filmed by the nine MTV crews working on both shows, also may catch a glimpse of themselves on the small screen.

The shows will run back-to-back and plans call for a crossover of story lines on occasion. Being reality TV, the shows have started with no script and the complete cast of characters will be determined as the story develops.

The primary story lines of each show will focus on six pledges in each organization who will live in "pledge houses" in the City of Buffalo where MTV crews will record into November most of their waking moments. The houses have been selected; interiors have been painted and modified for filming. Furnishing of both, with a major assist from IKEA, is almost complete.

MTV representatives interviewed members of Delta Xi Omega earlier this summer when the network decided that the first installment of "Sorority Life" -- featuring a sorority at the University of California at Davis and drawing 2 million viewers per episode -- was a success.

The UB sorority members were the first interviewed in MTV's tour of a handful of East Coast universities, and left such an indelible impression that the network signed a contract with the group.

Network executives were looking to boost ratings further by developing a fraternal twin for "Sorority Life" and while members of fraternities at other campuses were interviewed, Sigma Chi Omega signed on the dotted line with MTV.

This is an MTV-student organization project, not a UB project. UB is not affiliated with the project and cannot exercise control over the content of the program or off-campus filming.

MTV crews began arriving in Buffalo at the end of August and filming of the fraternity and sorority activities began in earnest the first week of the fall semester. Film crews-- whose members have worked on MTV productions including "Real World" and "Road Rules" and non-MTV projects like "Survivor" -- have followed members of Delta Xi Omega and Sigma Chi Omega and prospective members during the "rush" period.

They have captured hours of tape of these students in off-campus activities and -- with permission from the university and only when accompanied by staff from the Office of News Services or Office of Student Affairs -- have filmed them in activities on campus. The latter have included the Delta Xi Omega sisters and potential members taking on a group of male students in a friendly softball game on the South Campus last Saturday and a potential member of the sorority -- along with her instructor and 30 classmates -- involved in a ballet class in the Center for the Arts last Friday.

MTV crews also have spent a good deal of time -- with UB permission -- gathering shots of campus buildings, scenes and signage that will be interspersed in both shows. More than one time-lapse sequence of a gorgeous sunset over the North Campus has been recorded. And with most of them not being from Buffalo or even the Northeast, crew members have asked on more than one occasion when they will be able to film snow.

Who knows, maybe an early lake-effect snowfall will play a major role in both shows. Stay tuned!