Don’t write off Greek life

Mia Ciardi

 

Greek Life is often an afterthought to students looking to get involved on campus. Rushing a fraternity or a sorority comes with an “Animal House” stigma, and Greek members are stereotyped as vapid partiers. But contrary to popular belief, joining an organization such as a fraternity or a sorority contains benefits that improve students’ undergraduate experience.

A 2014 study reported by Pacific Standard Magazine found that membership in a fraternity or sorority is not detrimental in any way to a student’s graduation time. While many assumptions are made that involvement in these organizations hinder a member’s academic life, ability to study, etc., this study showed the opposite. The research indicated that being a member of a sorority had no negative effect on any woman’s GPA, but for a fraternity member, only a negligible effect was found.

Related research gathered at Miami University found that college retention rates in Greek-affiliated students were higher than retention rates in non-Greek students. Being a member of Greek life bestows academic perks that cannot be dismissed.

These studies do not account for correlation between financial background and Greek Life. Financial background is significant in the determination of opportunity a student has been given educationally and the opportunity to join certain organizations. Despite this, statistics drawn from the studies still show significant proof of valuable attributes Greek Life offers.

Aside from academic benefits, this community requires attendance in philanthropic events that shapes and teaches students the importance of giving. Every sorority and fraternity has a unique charity that they primarily donate to throughout the school year. There are charity events held over the course of the fall and spring semesters to raise money and awareness for each organization in need. These events are student run and build character helping students to grow as people in ways other clubs do not require.

The stigma surrounding Greek Life has been around since the social organizations first came about. Many parents and professors belittle its true meaning, saying students join solely to party. Statistics do not lie —the mere fact that retention rates and rates of students graduating on time are higher for Greek-affiliated members proves that Greek Life is more than a one dimensional stereotype.

Although Greek Life contains many positive attributes, the obvious negative aspects of this community should be taken into consideration. New members face potential hazing, peer pressure to drink, and the expensive dues required during each semester. While this list seems daunting and poses a strong argument against rushing, it is crucial to keep in mind that many of these problems occur outside of Greek Life as well.

Of course, all universities, especially UT, offer a lot of extracurricular activities that are great for academics and character building. Greek Life, though, is an effective way for freshman to get involved on campus immediately, while still being encouraged and able to keep their grades exactly where they need to be.

Mia Ciardi is a Journalism junior from Bernardsville, New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter @mia_ciardi.