Greek life rarely has an opinion that’s “in the middle.” People either LOVE Greeks or DESPISE them. Generalization? Perhaps, but far more often than not, this generalization rings true. To give an explanation of misconceptions about Greek life at CNU, this post will explore my own personal journey as both an academic and a social Greek.
I feel that I have a unique perspective due to my involvement with the academic fraternities Alpha Psi Omega (theater) and Sigma Tau Delta (English), and the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. With recruitment just ending, I have had dozens of conversations with both potential new members and sisters (both in my sorority and others) in which I’ve heard everything from “I volunteer all the time!” to “I am best friends with everyone.” To this, I do understand some negative opinions from non-Greeks, but then I also ask you, how often do you say things like this? Perhaps on a resume?
So why do I say being Greek at CNU can bring you happiness? Because it’s true.
These are the main arguments against misunderstandings on Greek life:
1. Desire for friends
2. Getting “involved”
3. Promise of a job
4. Conforming/paying for friends
First, the stigma against Greeks being fake is quite unfair as we all adapt ourselves according to the specific situation. Additionally Greek letters do not define college, rather they merely add to the experience, just as a club or sports team adds to one’s time at CNU. Yes, in college you make friends your first week because everyone is trying to desperately find their new home, but after a time, you realize that maybe you rushed into a friendship and are ready to really figure your social life out. Two people can be interested in the same exact thing but that does not mean they’ll be friends. Two people with the same values, who want to honor those values? Even if you’re on the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of interests, you can still can be friends.
Second, in fraternities and sororities, I can honestly say that philanthropy plays a huge role in our chapters. By simply stating that service fraternities are the only ones involved in our community is a horrible discredit to the entirety of Greek life. Alpha Sigma Alpha works greatly with Special Olympics, Zeta Tau Alpha dedicates their time to raise breast cancer awareness, Kappa Sigma works for the Wounded Warrior Project to help those who have served. In GPhi we have multiple events throughout the year for both Girls on the Run and Girls Inc. You cannot be a Greek without serving. Thus, Greek life’s main focus isn’t only about making friends, but overly making an impact both on campus and in the community. To lessen Greeks to only a social club honestly does not make sense. We all are trying to find our place, and yes, strong friendships come from that.
Third, to the questions regarding networking – no, you aren’t guaranteed a job. But being non-Greek doesn’t guarantee you a job, either. No one is saying that wearing your letters will get you into med school or law school, but they most certainly help give you the tools to make the overall process easier. For example, I am part of the Gamma Phi Beta group on LinkedIn and I get emails multiple times throughout the week about sisters across the country looking for job openings and moving to new towns to which they then receive replies from sisters they’ve never even met who are giving openings and pieces of advice. If that’s not great networking, then I don’t know what is.
Fourth, oh the brands. Lilly Pulitzer. Vineyard Vines. Southern Proper. Greeks and their “labels.” Some have questioned whether or not you have to own Lilly to be in a sorority or have a Vineyard Vines bow tie to be in a fraternity – to be frank, no. You do not. I don’t have a Marley Lilly vest and I’ve been a sister for four years. If some argue that you have to have these things then that’s merely because that’s simply the trend. Girls who aren’t Greek wear Lilly? This is a silly argument against Greeks, because throughout college you realize that you know what you like and you know what you don’t. If you don’t want to wear a bow tie, then don’t. Simple as that.
During my four years at CNU I have made friends outside of my sisterhood who are extremely meaningful to me and I have sisters who have completely been the greatest foundation and family that I could’ve ever dreamed of. At the end of this semester, I’ll be graduating with a double major and a high GPA (I don’t believe in posting grades, as that’s a private matter) and moving to Chicago to get my master’s in English (still have to make a decision on which of the grad schools I’ll be attending). And you know what? Being Greek has challenged me and molded me into the woman I am today and I am proud of what I’ve accomplished.
Greeks pay for their friends. WRONG. Our dues go to a multitude of places to further strengthen the organization that we care about and value, as well as supporting our philanthropy. Also, no we are not loaded, spoiled, rich kids. I know plenty of men and women working two jobs on top of school to pay their dues WILLINGLY because of their love for their chapter. Additionally, there are scholarships available and assistance for those in need – that’s not paying for friends, that’s helping friends.