It is often said about Greek Life that “from the outside looking in, you could never understand it, and from the inside looking out, we could never explain it.”
Well, here is my effort to explain and counter-argue some of the stereotypes plaguing fraternity and sororities across the nation.
Stereotype: Joining a Greek organization inhibits academic performance
Most fraternities and sororities consistently stay above the average grade point average of their college’s students. Also, at most campuses, notable public speakers are invited to discuss the importance of academic excellence, effective study habits and essentials to achieving scholastic success. Additionally, retreats are often offered for all undergraduate members along with numerous leadership conferences and conventions. Each chapter is also required to have a scholarship and new member education chairperson responsible for ensuring academic success, like study hour logging programs, academic accountability partners, and scholarship programs to aid in academic performance.
Stereotype: Fraternities and sororities are sexist and racist
The Greek community welcomes students of all backgrounds and values their cultural diversity. The recruitment process for men and women is a type of “mutual selection,” the chapters interview prospective members and the prospective members interview the chapters they will potentially join. Therefore, the new members choose an organization they feel most comfortable accepting membership into. The segregation of the sororities and fraternities comes from an exception to the federal law guidelines for Title IX Gender Equality in Education Act, because many chapters are social co-habitational organizations and not required or expected to be co-educational.
Stereotype: Fraternities and sororities do not promote moral growth
Most chapters are actually founded upon the development of moral growth, high values and positive community influence. Most members actively participate in community service projects and have religious foundations that further support wide acts of common decency. National chapters firmly hold their members to high behavioral standards and questionable delinquency or discrepancies are taken very seriously and never tolerated.
Movies like The House Bunny, Animal House and the television show GREEK have contributed to the stereotype that Greek members binge drink, use illegal drugs and engage in questionable behavior. Every organization is required to abide by federal, state, and university policies on drugs and alcohol. Almost every campus also has implemented programs to educate and diminish the role that drugs and excessive alcohol consumption play within the Greek social events, the largest being, Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol (GAMMA).
Risk management policies are heavily enforced within the chapters and members are held on a zero-tolerance basis in most cases.
Actually, a majority of students maintain strong friendships with peers from their hometowns, students within their classes and residence halls, or friends they’ve made at work or at their internships. Greek life also encourages non-Greeks to attend their philanthropy events, homecoming festivities, and social events to further educate the community on the lifestyle of a fraternity or sorority member.
Stereotype: You have to be hazed to be initiated
Hazing comes from the idea of allegedly mistreating or abusing new members or pledges or new members, or any member throughout the organization, individually or as a group. National chapters are making great progress to eliminate hazing from their societies through proactive approaches and strict enforcement of zero-tolerance policies. In a reputable organization, members can be assured they will have a safe and rewarding experience in their fraternity or sorority.
Stereotype: The costs outweigh the advantages of membership
Outside the Greek community one might not understand the wealth of opportunities available through fraternities and sororities. Academic resources, heightened leadership skills, social activities devoted to developing interpersonal skills, community service opportunities, connections to established and influential alumni, and a network of supportive and lifelong friendships all ensure an invaluable experience.
Have you heard additional stereotypes you would like to inquire about? Post a comment below!