Greek Life: More Than Just a Party

Greek Life: More Than Just a Party

There is a bad stigma around Greek life and it needs to change.

Across the country there is a bad stigma surrounding Greek life on college campuses. Members of sororities and fraternities are often seen as loud, drunk party animals who are only a nuisance to the town they reside in. Locals who permanently reside in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, often referred to as “Townies” by Bloomsburg University students, testify that Greeks cause more harm than good in any college town. Many even go as far as persuading the town to take away Greek houses all together.

There is no hiding that members of the Greek community at any college partake in partying and drinking. This behavior often gets out of control which creates a bad reputation for Greeks. For example, every year Bloomsburg University students plan and organize an annual block party that brings in students from all over Pennsylvania. The students fill the streets with alcohol in hand causing the town to have to triple police enforcement on that specific weekend. In 2013, a party being hosted by a Greek organization, got extremely out of hand and police were required to utilize tear gas to break it up. Because the incident occurred at a Greek residence, all members of Bloomsburg University’s Greek community were represented in a negative light.

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Video retrieved from YouTube "Dr. Jacob Eber Wright/BloomuToday"

The Side of Greeks You Don’t See

To many Non-Greek members of the community, it is easy to only see this side of Greeks. They do play loud music on the weekends, drink excessively, host parties that get out of control, and have beer cans and bottles littered across their lawns every weekend. However, what people don’t see is the hours of community service spend towards helping their community, the hours spent studying at the library, or the hours spent at leadership conferences to improve their chapter.

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“People outside of Greek life never take the opportunity to recognize that we do have events that don't involve drinking because then that would break the stereotype. I have participated in tons of community service, fundraising and philanthropy events since I've joined Greek life and couldn't be happier to give back to others. Greeks do give back and it's something that people need to recognize,” says Gabrielle Guarrera, Bloomsburg University student and Greek life member.

At Bloomsburg University, every single Greek life member is required to participate in ten community service hours every semester, attend community cleanups after events such as Homecoming and Block Party, maintain a minimum GPA of a 2.5, have mandatory study hours for new members, and attend risk management seminars to educate themselves about alcohol awareness, drugs, sexual assault, hazing, etc. Also, individual chapters have unique programs in place for members of their organization who are struggling in school. Last year alone, the Bloomsburg University Greek community recorded over 10,000 hours of community service done by Greek life and almost 25,000 hours annually with many members averaging 30-35 hours completed each semester; 15-20 hours more than they are required to do.

Why Do Students Choose to Go Greek?

Students decide to join a Greek organizations for several reasons and that will differ from person to person. For some, it is just for the party. However, what they will come to realize is that with the partying comes fulfilling responsibilities to their chapter, campus, and community. For others, it may be a home away from home. Making bonds with the brothers and sisters surrounding them fills a void that may exist from being far from their families. For others, it can simply be a way to meet new people and make friends. And then there are those few who really do join Greek life to give back to their chapter, campus, and community.

It is not until someone joins a sorority or fraternity, that they will realize how much more Greek life is than just drinking and partying. They realize that memories are not made at the parties; they are made at the community service events, sober lock-ins, movie nights, haunted house trips, awareness events, and family dinners.

"We are more than just three letters across our chest and a solo cup in our hand. We're a family and a community that cares for one another and about the people around us. We give back to those who need it and genuinely care about others. We're each other’s support system and being a part of Greek life puts a smile on my face whenever I see a sister around campus," says Kate Dillon, Bloomsburg University student and Greek life member.

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Sorry, not sorry.


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There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

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Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

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Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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Before You Rush Into Rush Week, Think About If You're Ready To Join A Sorority

Physically, it asks a lot of you. Almost every day of the weekend for two weeks, you're scheduled for 12 hours to go to various houses and events... social "parties," as they call it.


Three weeks ago, if someone had warned me just how emotionally distressing a rush for a sorority would be, I would have laughed in their faces. I mean, I've seen all of the sorority movies or TV shows featuring different mock chapters. It's conceptually so simple: talk to some girls, go to some houses, and then become a sister.

If you are, eventually, going to decide to rush, heed the warning I should have paid attention to: Rushing is a super demanding process.

Physically, it asks a lot of you. Almost every day of the weekend for two weeks, you're scheduled for 12 hours to go to various houses and events... social "parties," as they call it. Ranging in duration from 25 minutes to an hour, these meetings are pretty much interviews disguised as mingling (though anyone could figure that out). The girls were always super nice, but after walking around from winter's dusk to dawn in high heels, things get to be redundant and tiring. Most of your time is dedicated to, during these weeks, prepping for rush, actually rushing, and catching up on sleep (literally, one day I fell asleep at 8 p.m. and didn't wake up until 1 p.m. the next day.)

But these are all minor inconveniences. What isn't, however, is what rushing demands emotionally.

People don't like to advertise this part, perhaps because it brings to question if it is too demanding, or just any form of relative 'slander' against the Greek life community is never wanted. It is, however, something that needs to be talked about, mainly for people like myself.

When you're struggling with mental health problems, a lot of things that may seem simple to others could be detrimental to you.

Here is the secret that no one seems to want to tell you: You need to be in a good mental mindset to be able to rush.

It's something I wish, more than anything, that someone told me. Sure, I got into a sorority that I love. But I was one of the lucky ones. And even then, it was still a hard process for me.

The thing is, it isn't easy to be constantly rejected by numerous organizations of girls like you. It never is. Even if you don't get rejected from any sororities, it's still a daunting task that could be entirely overwhelming.

I don't know how many mental breakdowns I have witnessed during this rush process. And sure, it's easy to write off as "emotional sorority girls" (if sexism is the way you're choosing to go today), but the entire process epitomizes the societal pressure to belong and fit in. If you don't look like the rest of the girls, you're basically being stranded for dead as soon as that house's front door opens and the chanting begins. Constantly, I found myself reevaluating my looks, or the way I talk or dress, merely in the question of, "Why didn't they like me back?"

Here's another truth that people probably tell you but is hard to believe: you're OK.

It's a hard thing to constantly remind yourself, let alone believe, but these kinds of things do not judge your value or worth. Only you can do that. If you don't get into your favorite sorority or any sorority, you are not any less than. Sometimes, things may not work out the way you want them to. But you are still you, and that you is beautiful and powerful.

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