An Introduction to Greek Life

By Evan Fleischer

   The transition from high school to college is often one of confusion and loneliness, prompting students to look for a new sense of belonging. In which case, the often-infamous concept of American Greek life enters the lives of thousands of college freshmen.

   Greek Life organizations, also known as Fraternities and Sororities, occupy space on over 650 college campuses across the U.S. and Canada. With so many rumors and stories surrounding the process of rushing, many students debate becoming affiliated with a brotherhood/sisterhood in fear of the reputed hazing process. Yet, Greek Life retains competitive numbers of inductees every year.

   Considering the current pandemic, Furman University Pi Kappa Phi member, Mark Calvin, remarks, “Fraternities can be a great option at establishing a social group, especially when a pandemic makes it hard to form those connections organically.” Gaining guidance and friends is one of the most attractive factors of Greek Life and makes adapting to campus and college life a much easier process. Being surrounded by hundreds of other fraternity members gives freshmen insight into events or extracurricular groups that they would have otherwise never heard of.

   Jadelyn Fleischer, a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority at the University of Florida, extends on the positives of Greek Life, “Being in a sorority means that there is such a wide range of diverse beliefs and experiences, and truly I have learned something new every day from one of my sisters.” Many fraternities and sororities outreach to a diverse group of students attempting to find a balanced organization so all members can learn from each other. This concept challenges the common belief that there are specific features or personality standards that must be upheld by association members. In reality, many Greek organizations are very open to a range of personalities and beliefs. Nearly all campuses that contain Greek Life have a multitude of different organizations that students can choose to rush, each holding different aspects that could be appealing to a variety of students.

  “Being in a sorority means that there is such a wide range of diverse beliefs and experiences, and truly I have learned something new every day from one of my sisters.”

Jadelyn Fleischer

      Looking on from the immediate effects of participating in Greek life, fraternities and sororities often provide students with connections that will aid them in their career endeavors. University of Florida Sigma Chi, David Kayes, comments, “Greek life also gives you access to a massive alumni base that are able to help you with things in your major or a job beyond college, which is really helpful as you start to hit the end of your college career.”

   Now to address the obvious elephant in the room: hazing. Hazing has become a subject of mass media as stories and reports have begun to circulate on the numerous injuries and deaths caused from hazing-related incidents. While both sororities and fraternities frequently involve some form of undisclosed ritual in their induction process, fraternities are most notoriously known for having more hazardous and harmful methods.

   Speaking on this subject, Mark Calvin reveals, “I mean every fraternity is gonna be different,” “Hazing is definitely an issue across the country, but the right group of guys should always have your best interests in mind and won’t put you in bad situations.”

   Kayes reflects on his own experience with rushing, “Most stuff that you end up doing is like mandatory meeting older guys and doing stupid stuff like carrying around a watermelon in your backpack or having to wear the khaki pants and polo with your pledge pin…” Depending on what fraternity one decides to rush, the severity of hazing can differ. There are some places that historically have some pretty miserable hazing,” Kayes adds.

   Most modern-day fraternities who continue to perform harsh hazing processes are slowly being exposed and suspended from college campuses. In this, the atmosphere of Greek life is constantly improving, queuing a safe Greek culture in the future.

   Greek life provides support to thousands of college students seeking social guidance through their college years, all while helping them reach their academic and career goals. Yet, it is important to note the history of the fraternity or sorority in interest to ensure a safe and productive experience in Greek life. Kayes closed his sentiments concluding, “Greek life taught me a lot of the lessons on how to be a college kid because everyone was very studious but also still able to have fun, which is an important lesson to learn.”


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