Greek life refers to an array of sororities and fraternities across college campuses, and its main focus is to provide academic support, nurture social and leadership skills. Fraternities and sororities refer to brotherhood and sisterhood, respectively. Thus Greek Life is built on this principle. National Council regulates Greek life, and they play an essential role in creating rules, governing structures, and ensure membership.
Greek life began in 1775 when Heath and some friends decided to create a Greek letter society known as Phi Beta Kappa due to being rejected by two Latin secret societies on campus. Since then, Greek life has grown to be a significant, influential, and essential organization within higher education institutions that emphasizes intellectual, interpersonal, and social development. Greek organizations have different focuses ranging from culture, pre-professional, and education.
Pros of Greek Life
1. Social Identity and Skills: As a member of a Greek organization, a member gets a social identity and interacts well with other members, and gives leadership positions to serve. Members participate in traditions and activities as a team, and this contributes immensely to building teamwork skills. Members can take charge of different projects and are involved in the decision-making process, which helps shape leadership skills.
2. Friends: Greek life offers members an opportunity to create a close circle of long-lasting friends. Friendships are developed through interactions when performing tasks and social activities. While normal college friendships may last only within academic years, most Greek life friendships end up to lifetime friendships through the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood exercised within the organization.
3. Academic support: In recent years, most Greek organizations formed with an emphasis on academic excellence. Members get assistance to attain academic potential by academic support programs offered to ensure member success. Good grades may lead to a member being offered scholarship opportunities within the Greek organization. Such academic support brings about competitiveness and motivation for Greek organization members to perform and focus academically.
4. Philanthropy: Greek life instills a culture of service and philanthropy within its members. Members can participate in different philanthropic activities such as community service, volunteering, charity, and fundraising. Through these philanthropic activities, members can create a character by the realization of the needs of others. Not only do members get to help the community, but they also allow a chance to develop essential skills such as fundraising. They can be able to access volunteer service scholarships to help them pay for their education.
5. Better Housing options: Greek Life organizations offer their members the option of living in campus dorms or off-campus apartments. The housing options by Greek organizations offer members a more relaxed and comfortable environment and easy support for members. Such housing arrangements may prove advantageous because members have quick access to others and ease to offer help.
6. Networking: Greek organizations provide a platform for social networking among members. Networks are beneficial to students, especially during employment, internships, and recommendations.
7. Support: Members find valuable support systems within organizations. By adhering to brotherhood and sisterhood values, members can immensely assist their peers through their academic and social lives. Greek life brings a sense of community and belonging to members.
8. Alumni Networking: Greek life provides active alumni programs. Alumni programs are effective in terms of career networking and mentoring students. Greek organization members can maintain lifelong friendships through alumni networks. Alumni networks also play essential roles in scholarships and job networks once students finish college life.
9. Fun: Greek life offers infinite fun opportunities to its members through events, activities, and parties. Most events are full of energy and fun since members perform these activities as teamwork.
Cons of Greek Life
1. Price: Greek life can come in costly, especially on membership fees, which may take a big chunk of money off the budget, and this may cost up to $1000.Other associated costs like branded outfits and membership pins may prove costly when joining a Greek organization. Sometimes members have to pay for events or parties, which may lead to financial hardship or inconvenience. However, different Greek organizations have different prices due to the number of dues that go towards the National Organization Insurance bills.
2. Hazing: Hazing is associated with Greek organizations performing risky indoctrinations. Hazing can lead to exposure to physical, emotional, and psychological manipulation in the process of member induction to an organization. New members experience humiliation, ridicule, and demeaning acts that can cause potential harm during this event. Binge drinking is heavily associated with hazing rituals, and this has been one of the leading causes of death during these rituals.
3. Alcohol and Drug abuse: Alcohol and drug abuse are common in Greek organizations, especially during parties and events. Greek life tends to create a culture of drug abuse and excessive alcohol consumption, which is very risky for its members. Such acts may affect a member’s adulthood and also academic performance.
4. Time-consuming: In the process of searching for a suitable Greek organization, subjects students to a rush week which involves touring various Greek houses, attending parties and events, and this could prove tiresome and time-consuming. Moreover, Greek life events entail spending most hours in meetings, completing tasks, and being present in meetings, and this may negatively impact sleeping schedule and impact study life. To cope with the Greek organization’s commitment, members must be disciplined and have excellent time management skills.
5. Sexism and Sexual violence: Research shows that male members in Greek organizations are at higher risk of committing sex offenses because of peer pressure and the urge to fit in. Cultivation of attitudes such as male dominance may lead to rape or sexual violence on their female counterparts. Unlike their other college counterparts, women in sororities are twice more likely to experience rape and sexual violence.
6. Overwhelming Lifestyle: Greek life may be challenging, especially when considering accommodation regarding hygiene. Greek houses may sometimes have dirty housing conditions as a result of population. Also, the party lifestyle may sometimes be overwhelming and, as a result, impact academic performance and affect the mental health of members.
7. New Rules: Joining Greek organizations is responsible for following different rules and policies that may limit a member’s freedom, including specific study time and mandatory attendance of meetings and events.
8. Stigmatization: Members of Greek organizations may have a rough time dealing with stigmatization due to the stereotypes within organizations and subjection to judgment by others, which may consequently affect one’s self-esteem and mental health.