I've always struggled with wanting to be more involved in college, but coming in as a freshman, when my dad said, "Hey, maybe you should check out Greek life," I answered him with a loud, resounding "N-O." But come sophomore year, the feeling had faded; only now I was too nervous to go out for sorority rush. Brokenhearted (and extremely jealous of my roommate, who had both rushed and gotten a bid), I thought my search for Greek life was over. Then I stumbled upon Alpha Phi Omega.
For those of you who don't know, Alpha Phi Omega is a nationally recognized, co-ed community service fraternity. And before I saw the flyer hanging up in my dorm, I had no idea they existed. I had only heard of the social sororities and fraternities. Why do we put so much focus on social Greeks? Yes, they form life-long bonds, and yes, they can help you get connected in the working world. But so can non-social Greeks. In APhiO we have many of the same events as most social Greeks--we do Big/Little night, we send out bids, we have a pledging process, we do paddle reveals and we wear jerseys sporting nicknames.
Alpha Phi Omega in particular is strictly a community service fraternity, so we do approximately 30 hours of community service a semester--but some members go above and beyond! The hours can be anything from working at a soup kitchen, to cleaning up a beach, to making cards for soldiers. We have fellowship nights where we just hang out while watching Friends and eating Swedish Fish (I'm a Monica, if you were wondering). So why are we sometimes frowned upon and hidden from the spotlight? I'm just as proud to wear my letters around campus as anyone else. Non-social Greeks are also considerably less time-consuming than social Greek organizations, especially since many organizations either can't, or don't, have a house to live in. And, as an added bonus, if you still want to join a social sorority or fraternity, you can! In many non-social Greeks you can live in a fraternity or sorority house and still join, if you so please.
APhiO isn't the only non-social Greek around, either. There's countless honor societies (in every major under the sun), performing art fraternities, business fraternities, and even Alpha Phi Omega's sister sorority, Omega Phi Alpha, just to name a few. These Greeks don't get nearly as much media coverage or attention at schools as the other, bigger, social Greeks do. I know that I've discovered some of my very best friends in Alpha Phi Omega, and if you ask any sister or brother, they'll probably tell you they also found their life-long friends in their respective fraternity/sorority.
So ask around your campus if you have the urge to go Greek, but can't afford it, or are afraid to take the full plunge in a social Greek. Who knows, maybe it'll change your life! I know it has changed mine.