Stepping to the Rhythm: The Amphitheater and National Pan-Hellenic Council Plots

Stop 4 of 6 of the "A Space of Their Own Color: Black Greek Letter Organizations at UNO" Tour.

The Amphitheater at UNO, along with the stretch of Leon C. Simon Drive along the front of campus, is another site used by Black Greek letter organizations for artistic expressions. The Amphitheater is a concrete stage with a grass-covered stadium style viewing area. The stage is available to all student organizations and often utilized by Black Greek letter organizations.

By the mid-1990s, amid a rise of hazing lawsuits, National Black Greek Organizations discouraged death marching and the practice declined. This era saw the rise of “New Member Presentations,” where new initiates of Black Greek organizations recited history, shared information, and performed synchronized dances called “stepping” for an audience. Each organization has its own signature steps and moves, and organizations use this show to announce their new members to the campus, much like death marching.

Black Greek organizations utilized the Amphitheater for other occasions as well. The Amphitheater was a place of artistic expression, where Black Greek organizations perform step shows, raising awareness of their presence on campus and displaying cultural pride. Displaying this cultural pride is an active form of resistance, displaying their pride in a space that had been hostile to African American students throughout its history.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council plots are located near the Amphitheater The plots are stone fixtures and benches serve as physical representations of Black Greek letter organizations on UNO’s campus. The plots are a communal space for members of Black Greek organizations, where members hang out, eat lunch, and meet. These plots serve as the largest physical representation of Black Greek organizations on campus and are treated as almost sacred by members and only utilized by the members of Black Greek organizations.