Sororities and Fraternities… should you do them? Well, let me tell you a little about my Greek background – I have none. My college had a small handful of sororities and fraternities, we didn’t have big greek houses off campus, and there was enough to do on campus that students didn’t feel like they had to join greek life. Before I give you my honest opinion I did some research, talked to a number of students and created a pro and con list of greek life so that you can create your own opinion. Then, I’ll ruin all your opinions by aggressively persuading you into what I feel, which is the right answer… i’m kidding, i’ll be gentle. Ok so heeeeere we go!
Let me answer the first questions I received from a student: How does the process actually start? Do you just sign up?
There will be signs around your college loud and clear telling you to ‘rush’ for a sorority or fraternity. Rushing means meeting with the guys and girls of different organizations to learn about what each group is like, what the girls and guys are like and so on. Once you’ve met with the various organizations you indicate which ones you would like to be a member of. You usually pick based on which girls/guys are the friendliest, which ones your friends join, which reputation you like best (i.e. the party frat, the pretty sorority, etc.), there are a number of different reasons why you’ll choose which one you want. Afterwards the organizations will choose which freshman they are interested in and invite you to a party. After the party they will give out invitations to freshman that they want in their sorority/fraternity. If you accept the invitation it doesn’t meant you are officially in. You have to go through the pledging process (this is where all the crazy/scary stuff may happen, not all sororities/frats put their new members through h*ll and back). If you make it through pledging – congratulations, you’re in!
Now for the Pro’s and Con’s
POSITIVES OF JOINING GREEK LIFE
- Strong Friendship – There is a strong brotherhood/sisterhood that greek life fosters. You will always have a group of guys/girls to hang out with and form friendships with.
- Networking – Sororities/Fraternities are part of national organizations. There is a huge network of alumni around the country and the world. Alumni are a great resource for job opportunities when it comes time to graduate. I knew a friend who interviewed for a job and the man that was interviewing him was part of the same Fraternity when he was in college and all they talked about during the interview was college and the frat. Naturally – he got the job.
- Academics – Greek organizations typically have a GPA requirement you need to stay in the sorority/fraternity. There are even sometimes academic leadership positions where a member of the organization is required to check members academic achievements. Also with the large group, there is always a member to study with or help to tutor you.
- Leadership – There are leadership opportunities (prez, VP, treasurer, etc.) within the organization. Great addition to a resume!
- Community Service – All Sororities/Frat’s raise money for a charity. Community service is a huge part of what greek life does.
- Parties – Fraternities sponsor a lot of the big parties on campus. For colleges that have off campus greek housing for their students, there is always a place to party.
- Formals – These are like prom. You get to dress up, get your hair done, get all fancy, take pictures and have an amazing night just like prom… but better.
NEGATIVE SIDE TO GREEK LIFE
- Expensive – there are due’s for being in Greek life. It can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars each year. Sororities/fraternities with their own housing (not all of them have houses) are generally more expensive than living in a dorm or apartment because they have to pay for the upkeep on the house.
- Time Commitment – There are a lot of required events that you have to attend. This starts from when you rush and pledge. A lot of students struggling during this time because of the time commitment. Once you become a member there are meetings, community service events, and social events. Greek life is many cases becomes your life, not just a fun thing to be a part of.
- Reputation – a lot of sororities/fraternities have certain image on campus. Really ask yourself if you want that image, even if the reputation isn’t how you see yourself, just by wearing your letters, people will assume that reputation on you.
- Fights/Tension – yes there is a brotherhood/sisterhood but so many girls and guys in one place, especially if you’re living in the same house is a recipe for tensions to flare and fights to happen.
- Tunnel Vision – there are so many different types of people, events, and organizations on campus. Greek like takes up a lot of your time so it’s easy to get tunnel vision and lose sight of other opportunities on campus.
My opinion (and no this isn’t the right answer, just my opinion) – I wasn’t in a sorority. I didn’t want to pay the money. I didn’t want to be forced to go to events. Too many girls in the same place, recipe for disaster. And pledging – if a girl poured honey on me and then blew flour and feathers all over me and made me carry a brick in my backpack for weeks and made me call her princess every time I saw her – yah, not happening.