Rush In The Spring Is The Best Don't @ Me

Rush In The Spring Is The Best And I Wouldn't Have Done It Differently Don't @ Me

One semester without Greek life wasn't a bad thing.

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At Syracuse University all freshman have to wait until their second semester before they can rush. According to SU's website about 30% of the student body is involved in Greek life, so while it's a lot less than the majority, it still has a strong presence on campus. During my freshman year, I decided I wanted to go through the experience of rushing and seeing if Greek life was right for me.

I'm really glad I chose to go through recruitment, especially since I had to wait until my second semester.

Second-semester recruitment in Syracuse has its pros and cons but the worst thing is easily the weather. In between each round you're ripping off nice shoes and throwing on sweatpants and snow boots before running off to the next house. Not to mention half of the recruitment takes place in the dark. Since the sun is pretty much gone by 5 pm every day, any evening rounds of recruitment took place in the dark…aka it was even colder.

First semester freshman year is always a weird time and I honestly felt pretty uninvolved during my first semester. I was overwhelmed by everything and just trying to adjust to my new schedule so I didn't do a lot outside of classes. Yes, I started to meet people and find my place, but I could tell something was missing. Syracuse isn't a huge school, but it's still rather big and you can easily get lost in the crowd.

It wasn't even the fact that I was uninvolved in extracurriculars, but I felt like I still hadn't made campus feel like home yet.

I had a really great first year in general, but I definitely think I found my place more in the second semester. Waiting until the second semester before rushing forced me to have that awkward and scary first semester. I went into college knowing no one and yes while it was hard, scary, and even awkward at times, it forced me to get adjusted to school.

The first semester of freshman year was one of the most nerve-racking things I've ever done, but I ended up meeting some of the most amazing people.

If I hadn't gone through those first months of adjusting to life "on my own", my entire life would be different. For instance, I met my three current roommates, and three of my closest friends, when we were all randomly placed on the same floor freshman year.

I'm forever grateful I had the chance to meet friends outside of my house before rushing.

I didn't know it then but it would help to keep me grounded this year. I have a group outside of my house who are just as important to me and I'm not sure I would have that if I rushed in the fall. Not to say some of my best friends aren't in my sorority, I mean I did consider how far each dorm was from my house when room selection came around.

Having a friend group in and outside of the house has only taught me how to better balance everything in my life. Not to mention it's given me a much fuller experience here at school.

Personally, I believe going through recruitment was right for me.

I also think having to wait, helped me realize I wanted a life outside of Greek life too. It helped me find the right balance in my life. To anyone who isn't sure about rushing this next semester, I would say go through it. No matter your experience first semester, good or bad, at least getting the chance to decide if Greek life is right for you is 100% worth it.

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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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