Sororities! Fraternities! For some, the idea of college is defined by the random combinations of Greek letters you might get to wear once you get there. Universities usually have columns, so does the Parthenon! Greek! Professors are smart, so was Socrates! Greek! You like feta cheese and olives in your salad! Greek! All jokes aside, there are plenty of reasons why certain people decide to join a sorority or a fraternity, but don’t think that joining Greek life is necessary to make friends, have fun or be successful at CNU.
There are a couple different types of fraternities and sororities on campus. There are social fraternities and sororities, academic fraternities, service fraternities. Service fraternities focus on (go figure) service to the community, these fraternities are particularly attractive to students looking to either fulfill community service obligations, or have a love of giving back. Academic fraternities generally bring together students with similar academic and career goals and promote networking for future careers. Social fraternities and sororities are the Greek life groups that are most commonly embodied in pop culture.
I am a member of the academic fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, the pre-law fraternity. In Law school, Phi Alpha Delta is the world’s largest international law fraternity. Our fraternity has 20-30 active members from all majors who have a goal of going to law school. A number of members of our fraternity volunteer at a legal aid firm in Hampton, an opportunity extended to our CNU chapter only.
So why do I say you don’t need to “go Greek” to be happy at CNU? Because it’s true.
The main reasons I hear why people want to join fraternities or sororities are as follows:
1. I want to make friends.
2. I want to get involved.
3. I want to be successful.
4. I want to feel part of a brotherhood/sisterhood.
Firstly, it is actually possible to make friends outside of joining a fraternity. One of the first things you’ll notice freshman year is how tight your hall community is and how it is easy to get chatting with people and form friendships. This isn’t high school anymore, popularity isn’t defined by what clique you are in. Whether you join a fraternity or sorority or not, making friends is your prerogative; you’ve got to do the introducing and handshaking and such. Fortunately, with more than 5,000 students, it’s hard not to find people who share some of your interests and want to hang out with you.
Second, if you think being in a fraternity or sorority is the only way to get involved, just take a quick walk around club fair at the beginning of any semester. There are so many clubs and groups that you can get involved in on this campus that I would dare you to find a group that doesn’t focus on even your most obscure interests. You really like playing Pokemon Red Version on your old Gameboy? We legitimately have a group for that. Also, a vast majority of the groups on campus don’t have dues that total hundreds of dollars a year.
Third, being a brother or a sister does not mean you will get a job anywhere there is an employer who was in the same Greek organization. Professional fraternities like Phi Alpha Delta, or Alpha Kappa Psi (business fraternity) offer excellent networking opportunities that materialize later on when one of your brothers puts out word that an employer is hiring in your field, but this doesn’t guarantee you a job. If you are a brother with a 2.8 GPA and you are competing for a job against a similar non-brother candidate with a 3.8 GPA you’re probably not going to get that job. Also, if you hear that Greek life has a higher average GPA than the rest of campus you should know that, while it is true, Greek life has a higher GPA requirement than what is required to remain a CNU student. Thus the Greek life average is higher because they cut off the lowest GPAs.
Fourth, feeling part of a brotherhood or sisterhood once you join a Greek organization is not a guarantee. There are plenty of guys and girls who leave their fraternity or sorority because they don’t feel the way they thought they would when joining. There are also negative consequences to feeling like you are part of this kind of group. One friend told me that he felt he needed to buy a pair of $70 shoes that he didn’t really want because most everyone else in the fraternity had them. The positive feeling of being part of a kind of family can be found outside of Greek organizations. The a cappella community in particular is well-known as having very tight-knit and social groups.
During my four years at CNU I have made many friends that I still enjoy getting together with. I feel I have built some strong relationships with many people here that will last beyond graduation. At the end of this semester I’ll be graduating with about a 3.5 GPA, and leaving behind multiple leadership positions in a number of organizations. What’s more, I have already been accepted to five different law schools and two of them have offered me scholarships that will cover most of the tuition. None of these things can be attributed to being in a Greek organization.
Don’t get me wrong, there are great experiences one can get from going Greek. My best friend is a Kappa Sigma brother here at CNU and I have heard countless stories of good times he has had and experiences that he feels has made him grow as a person. I know sorority sisters who are entirely devoted to their sororities and couldn’t imagine life without it. I simply caution incoming freshman that Greek life can be a very expensive and time-consuming way of accomplishing the same things at CNU that you can do without it.