The Sad Truth About Greek Life, From Someone On The Inside

The Sad Truth About Greek Life, From Someone On The Inside

The values and ideas that sororities and fraternities were founded on are becoming more and more obscure, and honestly, it's heartbreaking.

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Recently, I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across an article; this article was written by the Kappa Alpha Theta-Epsilon Zeta chapter alumni, Bradley Tune. She expressed her sadness about the closing of her chapter, but the saddest part of her article was how relatable it was. The title was "As a Kappa Alpha Theta, I encountered my fair share of judgment." Throughout her article, she talks about the tier system and how it affected how people saw her and the organization she was a part of.

After reading the article, I wasn't sad. I was angry. I realized that everything she wrote was something my sorority sisters and I go through all the time, and honestly, I am sick of it.

People judge sororities based on the type of girls they recruit. Theta has a bad reputation because the girls we recruit are all different shapes and sizes. There was this guy I met last year, and he asked me if I was in a sorority. I proudly said "Yes, I'm in Theta," and I kid you not he looked at me and said "Theta? You don't look like a Theta," and I must have looked really confused because his friend said, "You know because you're pretty."

How does that even make sense?

When I was going through recruitment my freshman year, I was alone and nervous. So, when I got a bid from Kappa Alpha Theta, I was so excited that I was actually going to be a part of the Greek community, but that excitement quickly faded. I remember my Gamma Chi making a big deal not because I only got one bid back but because of which house it was. I remember feeling the judgment radiating from the girls that overheard the conversation about me loving Theta. I remember hearing those same girls bash Theta saying "I would rather not take a bid than go Theta."

I was heartbroken and actually considered not taking the bid, but I thank God every day that I took it. Even though the judgment on my sisters and I continue to receive to this day, I have never regretted joining that organization. It makes me sad and angry that Greek life all over the world has strayed so far from the ideals and morals it was founded on. It's funny that they call it the Greek "community" because the definition of community Is "a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals," and none of that is what comes to my mind when I think of the Greek community. I think of those girls from recruitment, and I'm thankful that I don't share "common attitudes, interest, and goals" with them. I'm thankful that instead of conforming to the stereotypes of this "community," I joined a sorority that produces leading women who have their own attitudes, interest, and goals.

Long story short, things have to change across all Greek life PHC, NPHC, and IFC; and not just here at LSU but all over the world. Thanks for coming to my TEDTalk.

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Greek Life Does More Harm Than Good And It's Time We Canceled It

Greek Life is considered an almost essential part of campus culture, but do we really need Greek life?
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If you are a college student in the United States, you will be affected in some way by Greek life.

It doesn't matter whether you want to join or not. When you go to school, you will hear about it all the time. You will hear about which frats throw the best parties, be asked which sorority you are rushing, and see them hosting charity events. And of course, you will hear the criticisms.

It is impossible these days to not hear about the criticisms surrounding Greek life, the most common one being the high rates of sexual assault. There are also the criticisms that it promotes binge-drinking and partying, it fuels nepotism, the hazing, and there have been numerous racist incidents involving fraternities.

If you ask anybody in Greek life though, they will usually tell you these criticisms are overblown. Yes, occasionally there might be some racist jokes. Yes, sometimes a sexual assault might occur, but they will assure you that these are just a few bad apples. Then they will wax poetic about the various benefits of Greek life, how it fosters lifetime friendships, instills good values such as serving the community, and grooms young adults for professional life.

But there is another question you should ask. Who reaps these benefits?

In a study conducted by Princeton University, researchers found that at their school 77% of fraternity members and 73% of sorority members were white, despite making up 47% of the student body. Additionally, 30% and 19% of fraternity and sorority members were legacy admits, meaning they were children of alumni. Obviously, this is only one school and not necessarily reflect the entire United States. Fraternities and sororities do not publish statistics on their demographics, so it is impossible to tell exactly how pervasive this phenomenon is. Nonetheless, it is worrisome and is surprising, considering that the first fraternities were founded by the people that have always been most privileged in our country: white, upper-class men.

You do not need an extensive, university-sponsored study to understand that it is difficult for students of lower incomes to join Greek life. Not only must you maintain a certain GPA, but you must pay monthly dues in order to stay in. These can range in cost from $250 to $775, and that is not counting “new member fees" or “badge fees" that may be added to the overall cost. Additionally, members must attend regular meetings and functions. If somebody comes from a low-income family and has to work in order to make it through college, it will be significantly harder to join Greek life.

Some organizations offer payment plans, but many potential pledges still say this is not enough. This begs the question: is Greek life really creating new leaders, or is it just fostering a culture of nepotism and providing a pathway for those born into privilege to access high-paying jobs more easily? This is not to say it is impossible for someone of lesser means to join, but it is significantly harder.

In recent years, excessive drinking and hazing-related deaths have also caused Greek life to come under fire. It is not uncommon for college students to abuse alcohol, however, members of Greek life are significantly more likely to abuse alcohol. One study by Harvard found that 4 out of 5 fraternity and sorority members are binge-drinkers in comparison to 2 out of 5 overall college students.

Another study at Brown University found that fraternities are often opposed to alcohol education and intervention because they view it as an impediment to their social and sexual goals. Again, this is not to suggest that only Greek life-affiliated students binge-drink. Many college students engage in binge-drinking while they are in school, but they are much more likely to do so if they are involved in Greek life.

These are only some of the problems associated with Greek life. There are many, many more, which I will discuss in next week's article. But for now, I want readers to sit and consider the facts they have been presented with, and ask themselves the kind of mentality that Greek life promotes through its culture of exclusion and binge-drinking.

Cover Image Credit: Stephen F. Austin State University

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I Didn't Join A Panhellenic Sorority

It's okay if you don't join a panhellenic sorority. Sometimes a different organization can turn out to be the best thing.

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Before going to college I was faced with a dilemma, should I rush? I wanted to rush just for the social aspect, I thought it would be my best shot at making a bunch of friends. However, deep down I knew that greek life really wasn't me. I didn't want to do something if I wasn't one hundred percent behind it. There was a part of me that did want to be in a sorority but the other part of me really didn't want to rush. Let me be clear, I don't think Greek life is bad, I just think it wasn't for me. I talked to my brother and sister-in-law about this because they both were in Greek life at the college I attend now; they told me that they didn't think I would like it either.

What my brother and sister-in-law told me that I might like was, a Christian sorority called Sigma Phi Lambda. When they described it to me it seemed like exactly what I was wanting. As soon as I got to college I sought them out; and I went to their recruitment nights. I loved it! It was exactly what I was looking for. I ended up joining. This sorority brought me an amazing group of friends! Most importantly, I have joined the perfect sorority for me! A few things I liked most about Sigma Phi Lambda was the people were so welcoming, it was more low key and laid back, I was still able to have a big and a "Pham", we still did lots of sorority things whilst also having activities that strengthened us on our walks with the Lord, and I gained so many sisters that I now have strong relationships with. Sigma Phi Lambda gave me so many friends and something to be involved in on campus. They gave me somewhere to belong and I am so glad I chose to join them.

Rushing may be exactly what you need when you go to college, but if it's not that is okay. Just join something that makes you happy. Join an organization that helps you grow and surrounds you with people that you want to be around. I promise when you get to college that there is an organization for just about everything, find the one that fits you. No matter what you choose I promise it's good. Just make sure you choose what is right for you.

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