7 Great Reasons to Join the Greek Life
There are two main things that fraternities and sororities are infamous for: parties and hazing.
In every college film that you watch, you’ll see pledges doing the craziest things. And in real life, you’ll hear about frats getting banned because of scandalous things, and sororities getting sued for controversial hazings.
It’s almost as if the Greek life can do no right. But the truth is, there are a lot of good reasons colleges are open to fraternities and sororities.
Greek Life History
As a matter of fact, these groups have been around since before the Declaration of Independence.
The first fraternity was Phi Beta Kappa, established in 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Virginia (where former US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe had studied).
The college is one of the earliest colleges in the entire country, second only to Harvard University.
It was a secret organization, but not the first of its kind.
There was another one called Flat Hat Club, but it wasn’t “Greek”. The fraternity was only opened in secret because it served not just as a social circle, but as a place where philosophers, artists, writers, and revolutionaries could discuss controversial and radical ideas, and eventually plan to overthrow the British government.
Years after the frat’s opening, chapters were started at Yale and Harvard, during the height of the revolution. After the war, Phi Beta Kappa ceased being a secret organization.
The second fraternity was founded at Union College, New York. The Kappa Alpha Society is more like the Greek houses in today’s time. It was more for social purposes than literary or revolutionary ones.
In 1851, the first “fraternity for women”, Alpha Delta Pi, was founded in Wesleyan College (the first women’s college in the entire world to confer bachelor’s degrees). It also started as a secret organization.
They were quite different from the first fraternities. Alpha Delta Pi was focused more on providing leadership and mentorship to its members, and service to the community.
It was only with the founding of Gamma Phi Beta in 1882, though, that the term “sorority” was used for “fraternities for women”, although sororities can still be officially called fraternities.
Now, there are more than 120 fraternities (for men and women) around the entire United States, with more than 9 million members all in all.
Here’s 7 good reasons you may want to Join the Greek life
Greek Life Benefits
Brotherhood/Sisterhood & Friendships
The main reason fraternities were called as such was because the brotherhood provided to its members, but while the first frats were more for literary and philosophical discussions, the earliest sororities embodied the “sisterhood” much more.
Now, every Greek chapter offers this kind of support to its members.
Like an exclusive club, a fraternity can help members win sports competitions, lend facilities and equipment, and help raise funds for projects.
Also, who won’t benefit from mandatory study hours?
People join fraternities to meet new people and form friendships. It can be daunting to begin the college experience without a single, familiar face, so joining a Greek house could help ease the transition.
Community Service and Outreach Activities
Frats aren’t all about parties (although that might constitute some parts of the Greek life). Greek houses give back to the community and you will soon find yourself joining fundraisers, clean-up drives, and charity events every few months.
Lehigh University’s Greek chapters helped raise funds for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, and the University of Memphis sororities held fundraisers for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Those who love to volunteer and do some social work can find opportunities at their Greek chapters. Not only that, but members are usually more than willing to lend a helping hand!
Dorm Room Alternatives
More often than not, Greek chapters have their own residential houses for members.
They are usually cheaper than living in a dorm. Although fees can vary greatly, depending on the university or the area, some Greek houses cost $7,000 compared to dorm living, which can cost $12,000 a year.
Meal plans are usually included in the Greek housing payment. And if not, you can always make use of the communal kitchen.
Consequently, Greek chapters are housed in large houses that often come with other amenities like game room, a large living room, and basements or attics.
Many frats only allow students under a specific academic program or major, so this could be particularly helpful to someone who wants to mingle and spend more time with students taking the same major.
Its a great way to meet new friends and to foster future relationships. Its always nice to have those connections for future business networking or for friendships.
When sorority or frat members graduate, they don’t directly get cut off from their Greek house. In the film “Pitch Perfect 2”, the a capella group Barden Bellas has its own house, with alumni prepared to help the current Bellas during the international competition.
The Greek life works like that, and many current Greek members can expect help from their graduated frat members.
Colorado State University, for one, has an official Greek Alumni Network, which allows more opportunities for Greek alumni to help and organize events with the current Greek members.
Contrary to popular media portrayal, the Greek life actually places a priority on academics. In fact, in a sorority or fraternity, you might have a director or vice president of academic affairs.
This person is in charge of scheduling study time (which is mandatory in most universities), and making sure that members retain the require GPA or other academic requirements.
The University of the District of Columbia requires that all Greek members have at least 2.5 GPA, and a Greek house advisor, who is a current employee of the college.
Also, having “sisters” or “brothers” to guide you helps in choosing which classes to take (and which professors to avoid), which clubs to join, and which skills and smarts to learn to survive college.
College requires you to spend money! There’s no going around that one, but when you’re pocket’s hurting, you can get state and university grants, scholarships, and student loans.
Many fraternities offer scholarships for their members.
The Alpha Omega Epsilon is a sorority that gives scholarships to members and women non-members who study engineering or technical science.
Alpha Xi Delta also offers various scholarships, not limited to its members.
In the Greek life, it’s not all about throwing money, but also about helping students complete their college education.
You’re book’s not going to run away if you attend a Greek party. And it’s actually not all about wearing togas and chugging booze like “Animal House”. Many Greek parties are also soirées and formals.
It can be easy to either spend all your time studying, or partying like a stereotypical “frat boy”.
You can also make the most of your college experience by joining formal parties to network, connect with people, and maybe even redeem yourself from that horrifying outfit you wore in Prom. Also, free food and drinks are hard to resist.
When you become an adult, other things start to take priority, so while you have the time and the chance, make the most of your college years and, if you can, join the Greek life!