The New Face of Greek Life
When many students think of joining a sorority or fraternity, they imagine it will be like the movie ‘Old School’ or ‘Accepted’ - endless days of practical jokes, panty raids and hazing rituals. The students are portrayed as stupid, naïve, or completely self-absorbed. While today’s Greek students still enjoy a little fun now and then, most organizations have made dramatic changes to their public images.
The majority of Greek organizations are involved with philanthropy. In fact, most designate a cause as their priority and schedule fundraisers, events and community service around it. For example, the Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) sorority has chosen breast cancer as its main initiative. For over twenty years, ZTA has partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure®and helped manage the survivor area at nearly every Race for the Cure®in the United States. The women involved with the local ZTA chapters devote hundreds of hours through volunteer work, fundraising activities and educational outreach. It is estimated that Greek organizations raise a combined $7 million annually for local and national charities.
While philanthropy is a primary focus for many Greek organizations, many fraternities and sororities also seek to create leaders. According to George Washington University’s Greek website, 85 percent of all Fortune 500 executives are Greek, 40 of the 47 U.S. Supreme Court justices have been Greek and all Apollo 11 astronauts were Greek. Additionally, 76 percent of Congress belongs to some type of Greek organization. Those are some pretty impressive figures. The sororities and fraternities provide multiple opportunities for college students to step up into leadership roles and positions, not only within their organizations, but on campus and in the community as well. Many Greek students hold positions in student government, intern for politicians and sit on planning committees for community events. Many of the leaders of tomorrow are being groomed through Greek life today.
Most Greek organizations have minimum grade point averages required for acceptance into chapters and to maintain membership. Many Greek chapters schedule study sessions for members, and some have reserved areas in campus libraries for members only. Activities may even be coordinated to help with certain subject areas, as well. According to a U.S. government study, students who join Greek organizations are more likely to graduate than students who are not affiliated with one. Less than 50 percent of non-Greek students finished degree programs, while 70 percent of those involved with Greek life graduated. It looks like you no longer have to choose Geek over Greek.
There are many benefits to joining a sorority or fraternity, including the opportunity to make a change in the community, taking on leadership roles and building a solid academic foundation. In addition, Greek life provides a way to make life-long friends, build networks for future employment and have a sense of family that may be lost when students move away from home. Today’s Greek students will still enjoy the fun atmosphere of Greek life, including rush week and parties, but they will also leave college with much more. When heading to college, don’t rule out Greek life. You may be pleasantly surprised if you choose to participate.