More Than the Letters: Greek Life

Brittany Kubicko ’15
EE Co-Editor-in-Chief

“Loving the Kappa Delta life!”

“Alpha Delta Phi is where it’s at!”

“Party tonight at Delta Theta Sigma!”

With the help of all media types, participating in Greek life at colleges and universities has become more popular over the years. There are many positive benefits with joining Greek life, as they provide a strong connection of brothers or sisters that will remain with you for the rest of your life. However, many fraternities and sororities have been pushed into negative light over the years, showing that joining one means more than just the letters.

Fraternities and sororities are social organizations that some undergraduates decide to join at their corresponding college or university to make friends and benefit the community. The letters that come with Greek life are not the only meaning to the fraternity or sorority; they come with not only a brotherhood or sisterhood for life but with a social responsibility of helping out the community and keeping it brighter for generations to come.

The first known Greek life society was formed at the College of William and Mary on December 5, 1776, and it slowly spread to other universities across the country. From there, more fraternities and sororities were during the 1800s, and then two national councils were created to manage these fraternities and sororities. The National Panhellenic Council was created in 1902 to manage all the sororities, and the North American Interfraternity Conference was created in 1910 to manage the fraternities in the United States. The goal of these councils was to manage Greek life and make sure that they do no harm. However, over the years, Greek life has garnered a ruined reputation across campuses.

At the University of Oklahoma, 25 members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity were punished for reciting a “racist chant” ( learned from a chapter leadership event four years ago. The chant, going against African American citizens and students at the university, was immediately banned. All of the students, current and future, are now required to receive “diversity training” in order to understand the diverse community at the university.

Close to home, a list of 12 fraternities and sororities at the University of Connecticut are now considered unrecognized groups due to notions of hazing, drug and alcohol abuse, risk management violations, and failure to recognize school policies. According to the National Panhellenic Council, hazing “is not tolerated by the National Panhellenic Conference or its 26 member groups. NPC expects all Panhellenic women to abide by the law.”

Hazing is when members of the fraternity or sorority embarrass, harass or abuse incoming members. Hazing could cause psychological damage to the incoming member, causing them not to join the fraternity or sorority at all. Hazing is not tolerated at all at colleges and universities, and members of Greek life are expected to follow their school’s hazing policies as well as the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council’s policies.

Additionally, with movies such as Going Greek, Sorority Wars, and Legally Blonde, Greek life is shown as an activity in which members only drink, do drugs, and go to parties.

All of the negatives surrounding Greek life prevents people from seeing the inclusive positive aspects. Fraternities and sororities helps students develop better social and leadership skills by helping the community and their school, which can be very helpful when they are trying to make business or social connections after college. This can be very beneficial to a person, giving them confidence to go out in the world knowing that they have brothers or sisters that can help them along the way.

Many Trumbull High seniors are considering joining Greek life in college, one of them being Kelli McCabe. Next year, she will be attending the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, and will be rushing in the fall.

“I am going to be really far from home so I really want to make friends that I can go to when I’m feeling homesick,” states McCabe. “I also have heard so many stories from my older friends and cousins that Greek life is the best choice they made at college. I am really nervous to rush but it also makes me excited that I will have so many girls to look to for advice and good times.”

Additionally, McCabe states that “Not only do sororities have a purpose and benefit the community but they provide a tight-knit group that serves as your family when you are away from home.”

Even with the negatives of Greek life, McCabe looks forward to experiencing all the positive things that Greek life has to offer her.

“It is important for me to make the most of my college experience and for me that includes pledging to a sorority,” she says.

Even though there have been some negatives about it, Greek life is an excellent way to make friends in college and in life. The positives of it show that it is more than just the letters written on the chest: it is a brotherhood or sisterhood that you will remember your college years by, and will remain with you for the rest of your life.

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