Does Greek life benefit schools?

07/10/18

Joining a fraternity or sorority is a decision many college students make. In the face of a variety of factors, what are the pros and cons of choosing to go Greek?

 


POINT: Yes, Greek life benefits schools.
By Nikki Martinez, Unigo Editor

Joining the Greek system is an extremely personal decision. It shouldn’t be taken lightly and many factors must be considered: can you afford the dues? Do you have time to fulfill your chapter duties? Can you be a good representative for your house? You can spend your entire four years weighing the bad. But until you actually join a house and reap the benefits of being part of a lifelong sisterhood or brotherhood, you can’t truly understand why millions of college students across the country make the decision. Elitist? Maybe. But before you subscribe to this clichéd belief, consider the many ways joining the Greek system may be right for you.

The stereotypical (and, frankly, tired) depiction of Greeks as only out-of-control partiers is often grossly inaccurate. A robust social life is part of a successfully run chapter. But philanthropy, education and sisterhood or brotherhood are not only more valued within a house but take up far more time than getting wasted. For instance, every Greek organization sponsors a cause. Alpha Phi National Fraternity, for example, is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for cardiac care. Chapters nationwide plan and host fundraising events that take months of preparation and hard work. However, since this is all done mostly within specific chapters, all most non-Greeks see are sorority and fraternity members out partying.

There’s no going around the dues. But look at it as an investment. The men and women who join fraternities and sororities tend to be more ambitious and motivated than the average student. They are likely to hold leadership positions during college and pursue successful careers upon graduating. When you join a house you’re immediately part of a network of hundreds and thousands of these kinds of young people. And unfair as it may be, to some prospective employers, seeing a Greek affiliation on a resume may be enough to put it at the top of the pile.

For freshmen living away from home for the first time, there’s no better-structured environment than a sorority or a fraternity. There are weekly meetings, mandatory community service events and required study hours. Chapter officers take their roles as moderators seriously. They set high expectations for new members to maintain good house reputations. As a result, new students not only find supportive networks of friends but gain confidence and pride in knowing they are part of something bigger than them.

But what Greeks most love and value about being a part of their organization is intangible. It’s not for everyone. But if you think it’s for you, it probably is. Your college experience will be enriched and, yeah, a hell of a lot more fun.

 


COUNTERPOINT: No, Greek life does not benefit schools.
By Lucas Kavner, Unigo Editor

Now it’s impossible for me to say that the Greek system should be completely abolished — that would be foolish, and I would be stoned. Rightfully. But there are some serious problems with Greek life that should be addressed at colleges and universities across the country. One problem I’ll address right off the bat is that there is no abbreviation for sororities. For the purposes of this article, I am hereby calling sororities “sorors.”

First, Greek life represents the epitome of exclusivity: some people “get in” and others don’t.  Many frats and sorors at prestigious colleges and universities still segregate themselves by race and/or class, which only encourages already segregated student bodies to continue a self-perpetuated cycle — black students hanging out only with black students, white students with only whites, etc. You can still see it happening at large state universities, especially those in the south. Abolishing the Greek system, or at least majorly altering it at these large universities, might encourage groups that don’t normally mingle to find more common ground.

Some students also choose to attend schools solely because they have a certain chapter of a frat or soror. What are these students willing to do to get in, and how will they feel about their choice of school if they are rejected? A lot of smaller schools have created alternative “interest houses” — like arts houses, political houses, and language houses — because they’re more inclusive and take up less of students’ busy schedules. With interest houses, you can still spend time and plan events with your tight circle of friends, and you don’t have the notion of hazing hovering ominously over your head.

Many students claim that joining a Greek organization is an investment for the future because of all the glorious networking that is to be done. True, many Greek systems have extensive networking opportunities, but let’s not forget that going Greek can be extremely expensive. Not only do you pay hefty dues, but you also pay for the constant barrage of parties and events. With steep tuitions, why should students feel pressured into paying more exorbitant fees during their four years of school?

Partying and drinking are already commonplace at college campuses across the globe; Greek life only encourages students to do more of it. Granted, many Greek orgs are taking up admirable philanthropic causes, yet most (frats, especially) exist solely as a place to prey on freshmen (girls, mostly) and get wasted with a bunch of dudes. Joining a frat or soror can be a great way to meet people, but often, those that go Greek don’t want to have any friends outside of their frat or soror. This limits their extra-curricular involvement in other campus groups because they have to dedicate so much time to Greek life. Imagine if environmental, arts, or community service groups got the same alumni support and funding that certain Greek organizations do! These groups might be able to get a lot more done if they didn’t have to contend with the Greek system. It might also encourage students to explore outside of their social comfort zones more often.

I certainly acknowledge the steps that Greek orgs have made in the past few decades to erase the age-old images of giant dudes in letter jackets doing whiskey funnels and having unprotected sex, but these are just a few lingering reasons that Greek life should still be taken to task. 

 

 


The opinions in these pieces do not represent those of Unigo.

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