Truth Is, You Don't Get What You Pay For In A Sorority

Truth Is, You Don't Get What You Pay For In A Sorority

You can't buy friendship even if you wanted to.

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Here in Blacksburg, we are getting ready for primary recruitment for all the National Panhellenic Sororities. It is no secret that our nation has seen a decline in the participation of recruitment for Greek Life. More recently than ever, media has been covering some of the not so good aspects of Greek Life. In turn, this has negatively impacted the amazing things these organizations do accomplish and throw on brutal stereotypes that are never true in all cases, although some choose to take them that way.

So why should you fork over hundreds of dollars every semester to be in a sorority?

Well, I can promise you one thing, the money means nothing once you are in a chapter that is home. People love to say that you pay for your friends in greek life, but what you are actually paying for is the house in which you get to meet friends, the philanthropic events you plan so that you can help get the community involved with your organization and the other social events that you get to share with people from outside of your organization.

A sorority gives you people that will stand behind you through the good and the bad of college, not because they have to but because they genuinely want to. What brings that support together is the understanding that every girl in your sorority has agreed to stand behind the same core values and to grow together for the betterment of women in society.

There is no price anyone could put on the endless opportunities you receive through greek life grow in leadership skills. People might bash the endless positions and committees sororities have, but when you get the chance to make a difference, to lead people, and to accomplish things right alongside people who care for you, that is priceless.

If you think sororities are about buying friends, I have news for you. No quality friendship can be bought with anything other than trust and respect and love.

If you think sororities are about paying for more social events, I have even more news for you. Virginia Tech is one huge social school from countless on-campus events to a jam-packed downtown all the time.

Everything else you get out of joining a sorority is priceless.

The money girls pay each semester to me members of a sorority is simply about keeping the lights on and providing spaces for its members to grow and find joy in spending time with each other. You don't keep those things. Developing lifelong friendships is just the side effect of being present in such spectacular organizations, and that isn't what you are paying for, but that is what you are holding onto for the rest of your life.

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Just Because You Can Throw A Ball Does Not Mean Your Rape Is Admissible

Why are university athletes more likely to commit sexual assault?

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I wish rape didn't seep into every sphere of my life. But, like ink, it has.

Interpersonally, my childhood friend was gang-raped by members of the University of North Texas basketball team. As uncovered in an investigation, her circumstances were not isolated, unlike what it says in UNT's initial statement. I am proud to know my friend. I am proud to stand with her. However, I am ashamed at the situation and the commonness of her suffering among students just like me, on college campuses.

Politically, Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, promotes new fortifications for students accused of sexual assault. Basically, the rules would reduce the legal classification of harassment while offering protections for those accused of wrongdoing. In my emotions, I firmly believe in the American ideal of being "innocent until proven guilty". However, even in a crime so entrenched in emotions, I must look at facts. Facts say that the falsification rate of rape is the same as most other crimes, somewhere around 5%. Therefore, I believe that DeVos' proposal would tilt investigations in favor of the committer and significantly lessen the number of victims who would have the assurance to come forward and tell his/her story. In a campus-setting, where 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted, her "solution" adds gasoline to a country-wide fire.

Educationally, Brock Turner, a swimmer at Stanford University received just six months in county jail after being found guilty of five felonies, all of which amount to him raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. In defense of the light sentence, the judge said, "the more time (Turner spends) in jail, the more severe impact" on his future, who wanted to go to the Olympics. Never mind the future of the victim.

First off, rape culture, a sociological concept in which sexual assault is pervasive and normalized, exists. And while it exists everywhere, I can only speak with any authority on the campus setting, where hook-up culture is both catalyzed and camouflaged. Here, the area that needs the most treatment is in the locker room, on the court, or on the field.

Student athletes are proportionally the greatest perpetrators of sexual misconduct.

While a tiny 3% of male students are athletes, male student athletes are responsible for almost a fifth of sexual assaults on campus. And that is just the events that are reported, (just so you know, about 3 out of 4 go unreported). However, the NCAA has no policy that lessens a student's athletic eligibility in the face of sexually violent behavioral patterns. If you have allowed these numbers to simmer in your mind, you can see that this is unacceptable.

Why are university athletes more likely to commit sexual assault?

Most experts make cultural and institutional arguments.

Culturally, student athletes are not seen as "normal" students – rather, they provide a service to the college. Where most students get something from the college, student athletes give to the college, and we should be so lucky to have them grace us with their presence. It is a part of the status quo: high-status students on campus are athletes, especially males who play the most popular sports, like football, basketball, or baseball. These students carry social privilege.

Obviously, athletes are not naturally ethically worse than other students. I am simply saying that absolutely no one is immune to the culture that surrounds him/her, and we have a weird culture.

On average, athletes are more likely than other students on campus to buy into the cross-cultural concept of robust masculinity, which, in extreme cases, can lead to increased sexual aggression. Don't just take it from a non-athlete like me. Even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, an NBA champion and a former UCLA basketball player, declared the cultural privilege from which he benefited.

"I'm especially aware of the culture of entitlement that athletes feel... they strut around campus with the belief that they can do no wrong."

I am not going to sugarcoat the point that we all know well: football players are comparable to celebrities on campus, which has dangerous implications for a certain untouchability in mindsets.

Institutionally, colleges are as inclined to protect the perpetrator over non-athletic peers. A Senate report concluded that administrators tend to do three actions to protect their athletes, and therefore, their brand.

1. Higher-ups at the school discourage victims from reporting to police outside of the university. In this method, they let the campus police "handle it" and not report to less-biased city forces.

2. Admins downplay an assault's severity, making it less 'criminal', more unintentional and of an event to "move on from".

3. The athletic department can work with the administration and strategically delay proceedings while athletes finish their season.

If these three things are not enough as far as systemic ethical transgressions go, when athletes are found responsible for sexual assault, they may face small consequences.

Just to pull an infamous example from my home state of Texas, Baylor University continues to wrestle with how to deal with battery; I don't need to go over the sheer amount of claims that they were conscious and compliant to most allegations of assault involving their student-athletes.

So, not only is our mindset messed up, but the administration who is supposed to protect us is similarly bungled.

Obviously, athletes are not bad people, only people that are subject to their environment and protected by their talent. But crime is crime. The unnamed victim of Brock Turner said it well as she argued that being "an athlete at a university should not be an entitlement to leniency, but an opportunity to send a message that sexual assault is against the law" no matter your status.

Throwing a ball does not make someone above the rules.

Yes, I realize that my words have become trite. Scary articles, documentaries, and books about the sheer magnitude of sexual crime in college abound. But I see my seemingly-repetitive diction more as a reflection of our fallen collegiate system, rather than of myself.

With my article, I only ask that you keep fighting for victims like my childhood friend, for the classmate who sits next to you in lecture, for yourself. This institutional and social discrepancy of "athletics above all else" happens at more universities than I had the breath to mention.

Your first step is taking a searing examination at the failure of American universities to grapple successfully with campus rape in the systematic pattern of protecting student athletes more than other students. The next steps follow naturally. Take part in the activism at your school, encourage survivors, and productively confront the problem. Fear not, the policies will change with your effort.

Politics aside, we are in a time for you to continue speaking the truth, even if your voice trembles.

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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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