Community service projects, local charity fundraising and leadership, these are just a few of the positive ways sororities and fraternities (greeks) contribute to local society. How is it that only the negative stereotypes are more widely known throughout most college campuses? Although the preconceived notions about greeks are that hey all lie, cheat, drink, party all night, get into trouble, don’t offer anything positive to society and most of all pay money to buy their friends. Yes, some greeks may fit some of these descriptions, but not all.
In a questionnaire given to Ho Le of the Central Florida Chapter of the Delta Upsilon International Fraternity explains how organizations can portray themselves positively to local society.
Our Community service must be presented better to the public, so that everyone is aware of our projects, and that we do help the community in our own ways. Greek organizations must also stop completely the actions that the public associates with us, and sometimes holds true, including (and not limited to) hazing, binge drinking and the use of drugs at parties.
A philanthropic event also known as community service is a vital part of greek life. For example Alpha Xi Delta Sorority’s national philanthropy is “Choose Children,” which is a way for various chapters to raise money for local children organizations in their community. They also hold an annual Xi-Man competition for the fraternities on campus in order to raise money for local children’s charities.
As well as being involved with one’s fraternity or sorority, greek life helps one become involved on their campus. Leadership opportunities are made more available to the greek system. Through social interaction with your greek organization you are educated with vast opportunities of leadership on campus and even within your local chapter. Running for office within student government is not your only option for leadership. Within each greek organization there are many positions that offer great leadership advancements.
Not just in college life, but with experience in greek life it can help you progress in the “real world.” For example, when one goes to an interview, it is much like going through the rush and pledging periods. When one is rushed and pledged it can be evenly compared with the interview and hiring stages of getting a job. Therefore, experiencing it earlier in life will better prepare you for future occupations.
While alcohol abuse, other drug use, and underage drinking among college students are by no means limited to greek organizations, it is important to target fraternity and sorority members with prevention efforts. A 1993 survey of over 17,000 students at 140 four-year colleges in 40 states found that 86 percent of students who lived in fraternities were binge drinkersthat is, had consumed at lest five drinks at one sitting during the previous two weekscompared with 50 percent of male students overall.
Although greeks may represent a small percentage of the total student population at most schools, fraternity and sorority members generally have considerable influence on the social scene and the social norms on campus. Greeks Advocating Mature Management of Alcohol, or GAMMA, the greek arm of this network, was started in 1987 as a way to involve fraternity and sorority members in alcohol education on campus. This organization (GAMMA) works in conjunction with the greek organizations to help control alcohol consumption at socials and registered parties.
Being in a greek organization does not go without dues. Yes, most people may think that being in a sorority or fraternity means that you have bought your friendships. Everything that one can gain by experiencing greek life is much more valuable than the amount of money spent for dues. Almost every club on campus requires some type of dues to be paid, so greeks are not the only ones paying. The life experience one gains through the sorority or fraternity can greatly help one become an active citizen in society. Trying to search for a job that suits the needs of one’s life and to provide what the employer wants, is much like going through the rush process. Rush is a way for the current fraternity or sorority members to meet and interview potential new members (pledges). The male or female going through rush is trying to show what they can offer the greek organization and the organization is trying to find out who can contribute to them.
The main problem is that greeks are perceived of being an elite, selective group of people. How can an organization that has been branded with stereotypes turn that away from society. Informing those that are willing to listen is a very effective way greeks can come out from the stereotypes.