Consider the benefits of Greek life

Max Laky, Columnist

When I first came to UT, I made several decisions that would influence the rest of my freshman year. New clubs, classes and opportunities presented themselves every day. I ultimately decided to join a fraternity, a choice that has impacted my entire time at college so far. 

Some of my most positive experiences have come from my involvement in Greek life. I met supportive friends, branched out socially and gave back to the community. However, many students see Greek life in a primarily negative light. 

Instead of being outright dismissed as negative establishments, fraternities and sororities should first be considered for their benefits.

The social sacrifices and commitments demanded from any social organization can be challenging, especially from fraternities and sororities. Understandably, Greek life is not for everyone. 

There’s also an existing reputation that not all students wish to identify themselves with. Not every chapter across the country practices the same values, so students may not want to associate themselves with an organization they don’t personally know. Additionally, being automatically associated with a “toxic culture” can be unattractive for many students. 

“I came to college not wanting to join a fraternity,” Walker Grim, a neuroscience sophomore in Greek life, said. “I kind of had this idea in my head that the people I liked, the guys I like spending time with, weren’t the kind of guys to join fraternities …  I just ended up finding a place where I genuinely liked the guys. I enjoyed spending time with them, and thought they were good people.”

While promoting brotherhood and sisterhood, Greek life gives many people entering a new stage of their lives a home. These organizations also provide unique leadership opportunities, as the houses are almost fully student-run and leadership includes various chair positions for philanthropy, alumni and communication. It’s not easy to manage these responsibilities. 

Judy Zhu, an economics freshman, decided not to join a sorority due to the large time commitment.

“I went to a couple of unofficial rush events at the very beginning of the year, but I kind of realized that with all the other stuff I wanted to do on campus and the workload that it just wasn’t going to be a good commitment for me to have,” Zhu said. 

Students may not want to pursue Greek life for a variety of reasons. However, these organizations provide students the opportunity to meet new people, get out of their comfort zone and serve the community. 

Greek life as a whole doesn’t deserve a bad reputation, but the poor reputation behind certain organizations’ aren’t unwarranted following repeated wrongdoings. The behavior of certain groups’ members tends to define them, and without appropriate action against them, they should not be looked up to. 

We shouldn’t ignore the negatives surrounding Greek life, but immediately disqualifying the positives of fraternities and sororities is not an effective way of confronting these social groups. Students can think of Greek life however they want, but they shouldn’t immediately discount its benefits and contributions to the UT community. 

Laky is an economics sophomore from Chicago, Illinois.