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Is it Bad to Hate Greek Life?

PlainsmanPlainsman Posts: 1,503Registered User Senior Member
I'm a parent. When I was in college, I despised the Greek thing. No, I wasn't a 98 lb nerd who got sand kicked in his face by the frat boys. I actually played college baseball (centerfield) and dreamed of making it to The Show. It wasn't in the cards. Anyway, now I have a 12th grader considering colleges. We've made several visits. I've discovered I still hate the Greek thing. It's too exclusive. Too us against them. Too...Republican! Sorry, I couldn't help it.

Am I justified in hating the Greek life? I've steered my daughter toward colleges like Oberlin and Swarthmore that have 0% to 1% (maybe) Greek presence. Am I right to do that? Am I unfairly influencing her to hate the Greek thing? I see myself protecting her from snobs, "good ol' boys," and future Stepford Wives. I love her and don't want her hurt.

Okay, fire away, but I'd appreciate some decent advice.
Post edited by Plainsman on
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Replies to: Is it Bad to Hate Greek Life?

  • VeryHappyVeryHappy Posts: 10,659Registered User Senior Member
    I agree with you, Plainsman; I hate Greek life too.

    That said, I told my S1 to talk to his cousin, who loved his fraternity and in fact worked for it for two years post-grad as an "alumni advisor." S1 went to a school with no Greek life at all. S2 is at a school with, and will probably pledge. But it's his decision (and his nickel, too).
  • BayBay Posts: 9,758Registered User Senior Member
    I think its fine for you to hate Greek life, but I don't think you should foist that opinion on your child. I was very skeptical about Greek life, pledged as a sophomore, and am glad I did. 30 years later, my best friends are my sorority sisters. Yes, there is potential for a lot of hurt and exclusivity, but Greek life offers friendships that I think are difficult to find elsewhere. Let your kids decide and learn the lessons themselves.
  • WeskidWeskid Posts: 1,288Registered User Senior Member
    I'd agree with Bay: I see nothing wrong with you hating Greek life. It's good for you to caution your D about the possible downsides (and there are a lot), and if she’s not REALLY into the idea of it, it’s probably not bad to steer her away from the kinds of colleges where Greek life is the whole and soul of campus social life. But you shouldn't force your views upon her--and be sure to support her if she decides she does want to participate in Greek life, whether that means she wants to go to a school with a large Greek system, or if it means she wants to join a Greek at a school with a tiny Greek population (where, in my experience, the problems are normally reversed—you can be judged very harshly for being in a Greek).

    Also, remember, not all Greeks are the same. There are plenty of Greek systems and Greek orginizations that I absolutely hate, and I went to a college with a small Greek population on purpose because I had no interest in it...and then joined a Greek! We’re co-ed and probably not much like the Greeks you’re imagining, but we’re a Greek nonetheless. I guess my point is that even if your D does end up someplace with little Greek life and no interest in it, you still never know what will happen, so keep an open mind.
  • kelseygkelseyg Posts: 786Registered User Member
    It's not bad, but it's narrow minded. "Hating" is perhaps too strong of an emotion, and an unjustified one - it'd be better to caution against certain kinds of greek life, since putting all people in the same box based on a label is something you shouldn't be teaching your kids.
  • lilygraceslilygraces Posts: 1,195Registered User Senior Member
    I don't think it's really bad, but I think you should leave it open ended because it may be the environment that your children want.

    However, I tend to get turned off from a college that has any sort of Greek life, BUT if I loved the school and its courses, I'm willing to overlook the fact that they have that there.
  • LilyMoonLilyMoon Posts: 1,715Registered User Senior Member
    I am not a fan of Greek life either. However, when my son expressed interest in a Fraternity I told him to do what he felt was going to be right for him. I do feel that some of the Fraternities today are not quite what they were years ago. Today they have strict no hazing policies at most schools and the idea behind the Fraternity is more about meeting new people, having a close group of friends, doing volunteer work and socializing with the sororities/ having mixers and parties. My son did end up rushing and then pledging a Fraternity. He has since had many mixed feelings about his decision, but I felt it was up to him to come to his own conclusions. He may end up dropping the Frat and even transferring, but joining the Frat helped him figure out more of who he is and what he does and doesn't want in his life. So, therefore, not a wasted experience.
  • siliconvalleymomsiliconvalleymom Posts: 3,550Registered User Senior Member
    My parents were Berkeley 60s liberals who were shocked that I wanted to rush. They told me they wouldn't pay for it and they would be really digusted if I joined a sorority.
    I ignored them, rushed and joined a house I really loved. The rush experience can be harsh, but the experience of bonding is really different than in any other campus activity.
    I think the downside is that some people get carried away and focus only on their Greek life.
  • Sam LeeSam Lee Posts: 9,449Registered User Senior Member
  • MotherdearMotherdear Posts: 1,289Registered User Senior Member
    My parents weren't Greek but my sibs and I all pledged. My sister and I are both alumnae members of the same NPC woman's fraternity (the word "sorority" wasn't coined yet) but at different chapters/schools. My brother is a alumnus member of a national fraternity. My college daughter is am active member of a different NPC women's fraternity. All 4 of us have very unique experiences as every chapter of every organization is different at each campus.

    My sister and I are both involved in our org's alumnae associations. I also advise the active chapter at a nearby university. Greek membership was been my lifeline whenever we had corporate relocations. I ALWAYS contacted the president to get info on schools, nice neighborhoods, physicians, dentists, what have you.
  • NeonzeusNeonzeus Posts: 1,226Registered User Senior Member
    I'm also not a fan of the whole Greek thing (70s grad of a public university which had thrown Greeks off campus after a bon-fire in which they burned up their furniture). I had forgotten the Greek thing until I started doing college visits with my older kids, and saw the beer cans in the yards of the Greek houses on some of the campuses we visited. I tried to be fair...sort of...and found some web sites for Greek chapters at the campuses... which fed into my prejudice (congratulating themselves for having a 3.2 chapter GPA average, pictures from parties, etc.). I couldn't help myself and I relayed my prejudice to my kids. I did point out that even though they are social organizations, they also have service components that could require a lot of free time.

    My kids have all decided that strongly Greek schools are negatives. None of them have pledged, although they admit they've gone to some of the parties. They have joined honor societies, if that counts as Greek orgs.

    My secretary's daughter has joined a sorority at her school, and loves the sisterhood and social connections she is making.

    I just had to bring some stuff to a kid at Penn State, a few days after move-in day. I passed some frat houses that had evidently just had Welcome parties...and yes, the yards were already FULL of cans and debris.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Posts: 24,148Registered User Senior Member
    Also, remember, not all Greeks are the same. There are plenty of Greek systems and Greek orginizations that I absolutely hate, and I went to a college with a small Greek population on purpose because I had no interest in it...and then joined a Greek!

    I completely echo this. I'm glad Sam Lee posted, because I had an extremely positive Greek experience at Northwestern, as did my dh, and it was not at all the exclusive OMG-can't-talk-to-someone-from-another-house and OMG-are-you-wearing-the-right-designer-clothing stereotypes. It was a great means to meet new people and form lifelong friendships and socialize in a structured fashion. I understand not being enthused about it, but you have to take each campus on its own, IMO.
  • DougBetsyDougBetsy Posts: 5,828Registered User Senior Member
    I'm neutral on Greek life and unaffiliated with any political party. But I find the OP's strategy very prejudicial and narrowminded.

    I mean, what if someone came on CC and started making negative, sweeping, and political generalizations about college baseball teams?
  • jec7483jec7483 Posts: 859Registered User Member
    "Too us against them. Too...Republican! Sorry, I couldn't help it.

    Am I justified in hating the Greek life? I've steered my daughter toward colleges like Oberlin and Swarthmore that have 0% to 1% (maybe) Greek presence. Am I right to do that? Am I unfairly influencing her to hate the Greek thing?"

    No, you're not right in steering your daughter away from schools with greek life. Your daughter is not you. She has to do her own thing. You are just as bad as those parents that vicariously live through their kids in pageants. It sucks and is really unfair of what you are deciding for her. It should be her decision.
  • jessiehljessiehl Posts: 3,328Registered User Senior Member
    Am I justified in hating the Greek life? I've steered my daughter toward colleges like Oberlin and Swarthmore that have 0% to 1% (maybe) Greek presence. Am I right to do that? Am I unfairly influencing her to hate the Greek thing? I see myself protecting her from snobs, "good ol' boys," and future Stepford Wives. I love her and don't want her hurt.

    Yes, I think you are unfairly influencing her. And you are also unfairly stereotyping the Greek community. They may have all been that way at your school, but they sure aren't everywhere, and at any given college the individual houses vary a lot.

    The Greeks that I knew in college were not future Stepford wives or good ol' boys, and were no more likely to be snobby than anyone else.

    She is not you and should be picking the living situation that will allow her to thrive, not you. Your hang-ups and prejudice should not be her problem.

    I am not Greek, by the way, and had no interest in being so. I just don't like these sorts of sweeping generalizations, and don't like seeing friends being put down by strangers who truly know nothing about them or their houses.
  • keeferkeefer Posts: 616- Member
    It's not bad as long as your children share your views. I'm surprised more parents don't hate greek life, no matter which school you go to, if you are in a social sorority/fraternity, you'll have to drink and spend money on designer clothes. I agree, that it's a great way to gain a circle of friends and meet a ton of people, but the end doesn't justify the means, i personally think greek life is an outdated concept and 50 years from now, will no longer exist.

    While I know people say greek life isn't exclusive, but pledging(especially for girls) is about having the looks, and just about every frat has some type of hazing ritual, it may not be bad, but it's still required. When you have to do something unhealthy/disgusting to be friends with people, or having good looks (which isn't something you can control), that to me is being exclusive.
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