Greek Life

<p>Can someone please explain to me what Greek Life is? I'm just a senior in high school, but am trying to make sense of it all. What is the purpose of joining a fraternity/sorority? What are they trying to promote? How do they choose their members? What are the benefits of being in one? What are the downsides?</p>

<p>"Greek Life" is a collective term referring to the fraternities and sororities on college campuses, their members, and the events they hold on campus. At most schools, Greek Life is oversought by a staff of school administrators whose rules, regulations, and procedures must be followed by all fraternities and sororities if each group wants to remain on campus.</p>

<p>The main purpose of joining a fraternity or sorority is to form lifelong connections with a group of people with similar interests, ideals, beliefs, values, and goals as you.</p>

<p>Most organizations worth their salt promote brotherhood and/or sisterhood amongst their members. Depending on the organization, socializing, community service, a specific culture or diversity within many cultures, a specific academic field, or any combination of the above may also be promoted. </p>

<p>The membership selection process varies from organization to organization. Most groups will hold rush, where they actively recruit new members. Rush usually consists of an informational meeting where members of the particular group will inform interests about their chapter (name of their group, where/when they were founded, a mission or values statement for the group, and other interesting facts of the organization), fun activities where interests get to "hang out" with active members, and other activities. </p>

<p>If, during rush the rushee feels the desire to join the group, he/she will start the application process for the organization, which normally includes a paper application and/or an interview by an active or alumni member of the organization. If the group feels that you meet their criteria you will be extended a bid, which is an invitation to join the group. If you accept your bid, you will then start the pledging process. While pledging, you'll learn more about the organization you're joining, get to know the active members of the organization on a more personal level while they learn more about you as a person, and get to know your pledge siblings on a personal level as well. After the actives of the organization feel that you and your pledge siblings are ready to formally join the organization, you and your pledge siblings will be crossed over or initiated into full membership of the organization. You'll then be a Brother or Sister(if you're female) of the fraternity or sorority.</p>

<p>The benefits of being in a fraternity or sorority, are many. Members are often given the skills to be leaders on campus. Academic achievement is also a benefit, as many organizations require satisfactory G.P.As for membership. The opportunity to do community service is also a benefit since most organizations have a specific philantropy written into their values statement. The opportunity to socialize with one another and members of other organizations is another benefit of membership. Time management skills is another benefit as members must learn to balance their studies, work, and their organization. And last, but not least, membership in the organization lasts a lifetime. The connection of brotherhood or sisterhood transcends race, background, individual beliefs, and other minor differences between members.</p>

<p>The detriments, though few, do exist. One has to do primarily with pledging. Hazing. Hazing is any activity used to mentally, physically, verbally, or emotionally degrade pledges. This can also be any activity used to "pull rank" or show superiority of actives over pledges. Nowadays, most organizations have banned hazing as a part of the pledge process. Also, members can experience difficulty in balancing the work involved in being "greek" with academics and other activities. Disputes may also occur between members that may temporarily cause rifts within the chapter. But these detriments are minor compared to the benefits of joining a fraternity or sorority.</p>

<p>For more information on Greek Life while you're in High school visit this website:</p>

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<p>A couple of things to add to Illusion's very good explanation:</p>

<p>First and foremost - and I can't stress this enough - please realize that a lot of the culture and expectations of greek life is dependent on the school/campus you are at. What is commonplace or tradition at one school may be completely out of the ordinary at another.</p>

<p>Second: The type of rush that Illusion described, I would tend to say is more common amongst the historically African American Organizations (the so-called Divine Nine). Many other multi-cultural organizations also tend to follow this model as compared to those used by the National Panhellenic (for lack of a better term the historically white sororities - emphasis on historically as they are accepting of all women) or North American Interfraternity Conference Fraternities (again historically white, and while there are historically black and multicultural orgs apart of NIC, we'll focus on the historically white orgs for the time being).</p>

<p>Common elements remain the same in all processes - potential new members (sorority recruitment) or rushees (fraternity rush), the equivalent of interests in the Historically Black intake process, are given time to meet with various chapters, meet the members and explore what the organization has to offer. There is rarely any sort of interview process or paper application (other than initial paperwork your university may require to register you for recruitment/rush) in NPC or NIC recruitment processes. NPC (again sororities) recruitment is often called "formal" recruitment and is a rather extended process with multiple rounds, formal invites back for subsequent rounds and a specific day called preference day at the end of which potential members submit a rank order list of the three houses they visited on pref day. Potential member preferences are combined with chapter preferences to extend a single bid to each potential member aiming for matching her first choice with the chapter's first choice...</p>

<p>Fraternity rush is, at least at most places, much more informal, with fewer formal rounds, the potential for rushees to receive bids from more than one chapter, and at any time. </p>

<p>Again, while there are differences, the point remains the same: you as a potential member are trying to find the house that best fits with you and the chapters are trying to find new members that will fit in well with their chapter and be a positive addition.</p>

<p>Organizations are usually trying to promote high ideals and principles, which typically are represented by their Greek letters as sort of an acronym or as initials of a phrase or motto. The ideals of friendship, loyalty, attainment of knowledge or scholarship, mutual aid, love, and the like are commonly used. At a more practical level, chapters are trying to promote the well being of their members - academically, socially, athletically, emotionally, as well as in areas of leadership development, community service and campus involvement. The exact relative importance of each of these areas will be dependent on the organization at large as well as the local campus and finally the members of the chapter. There are some national organizations that put a higher value on scholarship than others. There are some campuses where getting drunk and/or high, skipping class, and judging people by what clothes they wear are the most common activities of greeks. Other campuses, Greeks are attaining GPA's that far exceed the all university averages, are donating thousands of hours and dollars to great causes, and basically "running" the student activities on campus (whether social or on campus organizations). Finally even at the chapter level there is wide variation in what chapters are focused on. My own campus had chapter aiming for best grades, some aiming for intramural titles, and others at throwing the most and biggest parties.</p>

<p>I think the benefits largely depend on school you go to, and being able to find the chapter that is most appropriate for you. My chapter was a great fit for me, and the greeks on my campus were outstanding, and so I'd say that being Greek just enhanced my college experience in every possible way - I had more fun, with better grades, more campus involvement, greater community contributions and closer friendships than I could have gotten by being an independent. But I realize that at another campus, I might not have fit in, or I would have some bad effects in certain areas of college life.</p>

<p>Feel free to PM me if you have more questions or post them here.</p>

<p>The posters above gave pretty good summaries of the aspects of greek life. My advice is to keep an open mind about going greek, because every school is different and you can't make sweeping generalizations about what living in a fraternity is like. Greek life is huge at my school, and the school would simply fall apart with out it (better alumni donations, better retention, better grades, better leadership, better social life). At other schools though, fraternities may just consist of a buch of stereotypical frat boys that do nothing except be thorn in the side of the administration and rest of the student body. </p>

<p>Once again, keep an open mind. You may find something you like.</p>

<p>Thanks a lot everyone. I'm just trying to decide if I would like it. I would love to feel part of a great group of girls who have fun, get good grades, and make a difference. At the same time, all I keep hearing is how superficial sororities are and how their selection process is based on the kind of car you drive. I don't come from a family of money, so I don't want to feel left out/hurt/w.e. I will try to keep an open mind, though.</p>


<p>I'd just like to say that Illusions post is a very good explanation of what "Greek Life" is... </p>

<p>I am currently an Associate Member of Alpha Psi Lambda, and would have to say that I am glad I decided to accept my bid and become Greek... I was pinned in late October and still am not finished with my intake process... but I am loving every part of it! If there is anything you need help with, you could message me!.. </p>


<p>worth, it really will come down to the college you attend. I can promise you that. There are many places where money won't ever be a concern, and there are some places where it may play heavily (though members may claim it doesn't). If you want, PM or post here where you're likely to go, and I can give you some idea of what's likely to be the case. I have met greeks from all over the country at various conventions and leadership conferences, and have a fair idea about many different campuses.</p>

<p>in regards to the money aspect, the reason that most organizations have seemingly high dues is because that price usually figures in meal plan, housing, as well as dues, if you do the math it is pretty much the same you would be paying if you were independent... join a fraternity, there is one for everyone, best decison ive made to date</p>

<p>at my school where the frat houses are just chunks of dorms, it is cheaper to be in a fraternity than in a suite with 3 other friends. Our dues are like $300/semester, and that gives us exclusive access (i.e. only brothers have keys to open them) to 8 common rooms in the dorm, whereas if you're in a 4 person suite with a kitchen and living room, you pay an extra $1000 a year for the common space (which is obviously much smaller than our 8 rooms).</p>