Newcomers and old favorites topped the chart of The Houstonian’s third annual Best of Huntsville poll.
A slew of new categories included in the voting-based competition brought campus organizations and locations into the list of winners, such as the Lowman Student Center Mall winning “Best Place to Watch People” and Cheer winning “Best Recreational Student Organization.”
Best Fraternity – Alpha Tau Omega:
The Zeta Mu chapter of Alpha Tau Omega topped the “Best Fraternity” category.
President, Cambron Askew, believes that this is a great honor and sees this as an opportunity to help influence other Greek life organizations.
“It is a great step, I think it’s definitely a building block,” Askew said. “Our goal isn’t necessarily for our chapter being the best, but we want to influence the rest of the chapters. In a time where the Greek world is not doing so hot, it’s definitely a chance for us to influence other fraternities and even sororities.”
Aside from influencing other organizations, Askew hopes that this will show the community that despite the negativity in the news, there are fraternities that are working for a good cause.
“At the same time it’s really important for us,” Askew said. “We are making the right leap ahead as all the other fraternities are taking a dip we want to show everybody that there are still fraternities that are making strive to become better leaders, to become better leaders in the community.”
Askew sees the achievement as a possible way to help the fraternity when it comes time to recruit new members, but also as a way to have a head start at future community events.
“It will be a great help for us,” Askew said. “Also if there is any community events or activities that would need help then obviously we would be a front runner due to the recognition we have gotten.”
Best Sorority – Zeta Tau Alpha:
The Delta Zeta chapter of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority has been named “Best Sorority” in the Best of Huntsville competition.
Chapter President Victoria Carruth said this was a great honor for her and the rest of the sorority and believes it was a tough contest to win.
“Being chosen as best sorority is an honor that my sisters and I strive to represent,” Carruth said. “The competition was intense, as every chapter at SHSU is filled with upstanding women. Zeta Tau Alpha will use this award as incentive to continue representing the chapter and the university with the nobility they both deserve.”
Carruth believes receiving this award help them recruit more people and also to be seen positively in the community.
“This award will serve as a shining beacon for potential new members and will help us maintain focus as we ‘Seek the Noblest,’” Carruth said. “It will also serve as a foundation for our chapter to remember that we are constantly being viewed by members of the community and must consistently uphold the standards of Zeta Tau Alpha.”
Carruth knows the competition was tough since it was against other sororities. She believes that since the sorority leadership in campus philanthropy events is what set them apart from other nominees.
“I have been truly blessed with a wonderful group of women who all, each day, amaze me with their dedication and their love of Zeta Tau Alpha,” Carruth said. “It is because of them that we have maintained one of the most successful philanthropies on campus.”
Best Programming Student Organization – Panhellenic Association
Panhellenic Assosiation is an organization on campus that looks over the five sororities at SHSU that are included. Those sororities are Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Omicron Pi, Sigma Sigma Sigma and Zeta Tau alpha.
Recruitment Director Katelyn Mattingly said the council establishes rules for the sororities and plans certain events.
“We basically run all the rules and regulations, Mattingly said. “We create sisterhood events for all the sororities to be one and get to know each other. We are in charge of all social media accounts regarding Panhellenic. We put on recruitment in the fall, which has over 200 girls. Basically, we just look over everything and make sure everyone is getting done what they need to do.”
Mattingly said winning this category came at the right time because of the negativity Greek life has been receiving in the media. She also would like to see that people on campus can get past those views and still see Greeks as good people.
“Lately Greek Life has been getting a lot of slack (sic) with other campus like a lot of bad things have been happening,” Mattingly said. “It is nice to know here people can recognize the good things that we do and the good things that we bring to campus.”
Mattingly hopes this award will help the association with recruitment next fall.
“Even though our Greek Life is really small we are at least pretty prominent I think,” Mattingly said. “With this. I think it will help us a lot with numbers next year and getting people involved and getting people to recruit for next fall.”
According to Mattingly, what sets the Panhellenic Association apart from other organizations is that they all work together on many different projects with a wide variety of views.
“What makes us different is that yes, we are a social organization, but we do a lot of other work including philanthropy work, service work and lots of sisterhood work,” Mattingly said. “As opposed to other groups we don’t just focus on one thing, we focus on many things and we exceed at all of them.”
Best Patio, Best Happy Hour Drink – Humphrey’s
Humphrey’s Bar and Grill is a three-time Best of Huntsville winner for “Best Patio” and “Best Happy Hour Drink.”
Humphrey’s manager Jason Rodgers attributed their popularity to consistency that has been maintained over the past decade.
“We’ve been serving the community throughout the past 15 years,” Rodgers said. “The food is the same, the drinks are the same [and] the menu is the same. Guys that came in 10 years ago and got the chicken pasta salad can come in today and get the same chicken pasta salad. I think that plays a big part in our popularity.”
Rodgers said part of its success to the lasting relationships Humphrey’s has made within the collegiate community.
“We have a strong alumni base within the community,” Rodgers said. “We have had people from the sports teams, the soccer team, the baseball team, the football team…that have worked here. “
Rodgers said all guests are welcomed and treated like family when dining.
“When you walk in, everyone knows everyone,” Rodgers said. “We have a friendly atmosphere.”