Greek life gets a bad rep; there is no doubt about that. You’ve seen the TV shows, the movies, heard the news, read the paper, maybe even experienced it yourself. There’s a lot of bad stuff out there that is associated with Greek life. Let me repeat that word for you, ASSOCIATED. All day every day I hear people talk down about Greek Life, make fun of it, proclaim it is a cliquey society of rich-bitches and dumb bros, and all around just talk negatively about it. But those people are wrong. All of them. Just because you’re one time experience involving the Greek community wasn’t to your liking doesn’t mean you can hate on the entire Greek system. There is definitely a stereotype out there attached to Greek Life, and while yes there are many people who fall under that stereotype, that doesn’t mean that every Greek you meet is the same. That would be like saying that every Asian is a straight-A student who plays a musical instrument and can use chopsticks. Umm, how racist is that? A lot.
What the people who belittle Greek Life don’t know is that students involved in the Greek system are also some of the most involved students on the entire campus. Not only are we required to be involved in an activity that isn’t just our sorority or fraternity so that we become well rounded, we are also required to meet a certain number of volunteer hours each semester. Meaning we’re expected to be giving back to our communities. And not only that – each chapter also hosts their own philanthropy event, raising thousands – even 10s and 100s of thousands – of dollars for a single cause, charity, or organization. My chapter raised $46,000 alone in 2013, and nationally we raised $15 million in only 3.5 years.
Let me throw some more knowledge on you. You think that we’re dumb? On University campuses Greeks are usually the students with the highest GPAs out of any other group of students. This is not only because we learn how to manage our social and academic lives, it’s because we set a standard for our community. Fraternities and Sororities are required to maintain a chapter GPA above a certain level (at our school it is a 3.1 GPA). This does not include the GPA level that the chapter sets for itself. For example, my chapter requires you to have X amount of study hours a week once your GPA falls below a 3.0, and once you fall below a 2.7 you’re put on academic probation. Once that begins we find you all the help you need – tutors, teachers, study guides, etc – to help you raise your GPA back up.
For your information: 85% of the executives of Fortune 500 companies were greek; All but 2 of our presidents since 1825 have been Greek; The overall Greek GPA is higher than the overall collegiate GPA; 20% more Greeks graduate from college than do non-Greek students; As undergraduates, Greeks raise over $7 million per year for charity.
I could go on with this list, but I won’t. Instead I’ll give you the short version of my story. I joined a sorority my sophomore year of college because my father died at the beginning of my freshman year and I didn’t make any friends. Before I joined I had many of the same suspicions as others – that you pay for your friends, they’re superficial, girls are stupid, etc – but I wanted to join a community and make my very large campus a smaller one. I joined and I don’t think I’ve ever made a better choice. People ask why you joined a sorority, but they should really ask why you stayed. I could have walked out that door a long time ago, but the friendships I made, the purpose my sorority gave me, and the happiness it brought was worth it. I didn’t pay for my friends (everyone has to pay some kind of dues to any other organization they join) I found them.
So the next time you’re hating on the Greek system stop generalizing and realize that your experience is your own. Greek life isn’t for everyone, and not everyone is going to understand it. Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean you have a right to hate it.