Greeks- the truth

<p>I know little about fraternal organizations.
I have seen Animal House & Ive read the Group ( which after rereading a review- I think I will put on my list for summer books)
I also have my mothers sorority pin someplace- Im not even sure what it was even though they have tracked her down and still send her newsletters-
kappa delta?
I didn't attend a 4 year school & there were zero Greeks ( well except for the dead ones) at #1Ds school, but several of the schools that we are starting to look at for #2D, have Greeks and some even state that they are a large presence on campus.</p>

<h1>2D doesn't drink- doesn't usually join group activities except for sports ( she likes to play more than watch) but she does like organized things-</h1>

<p>she loves working at a residential campfire camp & is in a Mountaineers club.</p>

<p>However- Ive known young people (more than a few) who have attended schools not intending to join a Greek, & been so bothered by their influence that they ultimately transferred out.</p>

<p>So it is something I want to check out before hand-</p>

<p>Ive read thread about students being rushed- but Id like to hear more about their kids experience afterwards- and from parents/student whose children are attending schools without joining a frat or sorority.</p>

<p>My son attends a state university with a significant (though not huge) Greek presence. He is not in a fraternity. He thinks frats are a wonderful idea -- they keep some of the most obnoxious drunks on campus isolated in a single area -- Frat Row -- where they don't bother anybody else.</p>

<p>Self-segregation: a wonderful concept.</p>

<p>My daughter, who is equally anti-Greek and is about to enroll in a university with a large Greek presence, specifically requested a room in the one all-female freshman dorm specifically to avoid having to live with the "frat boy element." She has no objection to co-ed housing in general, but the problem with freshman year is that the future fraternity members aren't in their fraternities yet -- if you're in a co-ed dorm, they're living on your hall. She has less objection to sororities but does not plan to join one.</p>

<p>My D attends a large top 20 state school and she is sporty, not the "legally blonde) stereotype of a sorority girl, but she rushed in order to make her own "bubble" of friends in a large place. Some sororities were not appealing to her, hers was appealing and it has worked out very well.</p>

<p>She did not live in the house this year, but a group of 20 of her "sisters" rented a house together. I stayed there with her for almost 2 weeks as she recovered from surgery and got to see them in all their modes- a delightful group of girls who are "real" people.</p>

<p>Her school has a smaller Greek presence. She has a friend at a big Greek school where things sound much more as you would think from movies, esp with the snobbery, etc. I think a lot of it depends upon your school's own Greek culture</p>

<p>I agree with somemom that the Greek culture varies from school to school. The same national frat or sorority has a different culture and presence on different campuses</p>

<p>Em, each school that has a greek chapter must be examined on it own merits and faults... Each is different, with different kids. I would hold the anti frat/soro until you've given them a fair look.</p>

<p>My s just finished up and this was his good bye posting for his school. They paid him to blog for four years about his experiences. I mark all the frat related activities... </p>

<p>Learned to play two new sports- Lacrosse and Water Polo (frat lax)</p>

<p>Traveled to Victoria B.C., Hawaii, San Francisco,
Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Salt Lake City, and all over Idaho, Washington, and Oregon </p>

<p>Learned to sing vocal music </p>

<p>Hosted a radio show </p>

<p>Broke an ankle (frat Lax. a big guy fell on him when he pulled him down)</p>

<p>Took an MCAT </p>

<p>Gave blood (frat)</p>

<p>Built houses with Habitat for Humanity (frat)</p>

<p>Volunteered at the Special Olympics (frat)</p>

<p>Written skits for Homecoming/performed them in front of the school (frat)</p>

<p>Given many tours to find those people came to Linfield the following year </p>

<p>Tried to set up a guerrilla theater moment on my last tour ever- was thwarted when no one showed up </p>

<p>Tried not to laugh as my supervisor at admissions saran-wrapped Aaron's room in response to a prank involving her stapler and a bowl of jello (frat)</p>

<p>Finished up almost, but not quite, cum laude (.001)</p>

<p>Bought 132 king-size Snickers bars from the campus grocery store when I had a lot of points left on my mealplan freshman year

<p>Several positives by belonging to a frat (Kappa Sig...hey Bob Dole and Jimmy Buffet are brothers) </p>

<p>The biggest negatives? sink always had dirty dishes in it and you stuck to the floors. His mom hated going inside. Kept explaining girls like clean houses. Attempted to introduce cleaning supplies and rinsing a mop out more than once when cleaning 4,000 sq ft. Freshmen pledges did the cleaning... </p>

<p>Yes, they had parties, they enjoyed beer and spirits, but they also had sober bothers (rotates) at each party to make sure nothing got out of hand. The only time they got in trouble was someone got really drunk BEFORE (in the dorms) they came to the party and passed out almost immediately when there. </p>

<p>What I found (and I was dead set against, his money paid for it) was a group of guys for the most part whom looked out for each other. Encouraged each other, kept each other on track for grades (higher than school average) and had fun and did kid things... I call them dumb but not stupid. There's a difference. I was against until I interacted with the kids...nice guys. </p>

<p>That said, one could go to a Kappa Sig house somewhere else and find a bunch of pigs. It's going to depend on the people at each place. Give each place you visit a fair look and then you'll know. It would be a shame to miss a great opportunity with a preconceived idea.</p>

<p>Somemom, I think you're right in that the presence and significance and party gone wild atmosphere with regard to sororities and fraternities varies from school to school. </p>

<p>A woman I know very casually, has a daughter who will be rushing at our big state U. I can't remember what exactly the costs are to belong to a sorority, but I was absolutely STUNNED!! It seems like it was $2-400 per month while living in the dorms, and significantly more, of course, if you lived in the house.</p>

<p>Without going into details, the Black Greek culture is apparently a different thing. Just so you know - there is more than one truth.</p>

<p>Three of my cousins attended Berkeley, the last graduated one year ago. All three belonged to sororities. Two of them lived in the houses. They loved their experiences, but I know I want nothing to do with it. When we get together, they talk about girls who are too wild and the trouble these girls get into. All three of them are friendly and hold jobs, but they all drink -- a lot - - I'm not into that.</p>

<p>IMHO, your best source of info is from people who were actually in a frat/sor, NOT the cynical/judgmental/envious(?) outsiders who rarely have all the accurate information.</p>

<p>I joined a sorority 30 years ago in a mid-sized (13,000) public U. I have nothing but positive memories of my days in the house, and my best friends today are still 5 of my sisters. It was so much fun, with lots of activities, and taught me alot about the value of loyalty and friendship.</p>

<p>(Now, I wait for the flamers.... :)</p>

<p>As Shrinkrap says, there's more than one Greek culture. In fact, there are four:
1 - Black Greek organizations exist as civic and service associations which are as prominent in the adult world as they are on campus - perhaps moreso. They are closely monitored by adults and have serious standards, though occasionally still have problems shaking od traditions of hazing. Unlike most white Americans, members of Black Greek organizations tend to remain affiliated throughout their lifetimes.
2 - National Panhellenic Conference (national social) sororities are closely advised by adult women. The have values which they genuinely attempt to mirror, and sorority membership typically brings young women closer into the activity of campus life. If there's a problem, women who are national officers and local advisors arrive in a hurry to try to set things rights.
3 - National Interfraternity Council (national social) fraternities provide males genuine opportunities for leadership and networking but tend to have a serious flaw - their espoused principles are generally bogus. They have core values, often religious in nature, which are mostly public spin and generally ignored by the undergraduates, and their adult officers tend to be more focused on revenue from member dues than upholding standards. Regardless of what the recruiting materials say, most guys join them to meet women and have access to alcohol. Also, many men become more segregated from general campus life as a result of their Greek affiliation, unlike their female counterparts. If there's a problem, men who are officers and advisers arrive on campus to try to negotiate an outcome that will lesseb sanctions and get their members off the hook.
4 - Local Greek organizations exist on many campuses, and they're a mixed bag. With no national affiliation, they're likely to cycle through good and poor years according to the quality of and effort invested by their local leaders.</p>

<p>Every school is different and every frat is different within that school. But just for kicks: my son just graduated in four years magna cum laude from the college of engineering at the University of Michigan. He was in a frat and enjoyed the experience. So did I. He made some very good friends, still doesn't drink much and it was cheaper to live in the fraternity house than in an apartment, dorm or house.</p>

<p>I was not interested in joining my first 2 years and never felt out of place at my alma mater which was about 15% Greek. I also did not feel out of place AFTER I joined. I had Greek friends (in many houses) as well as Independent friends both before and after I joined.</p>

<p>I arrived at college with an anti-Greek attitude (kind of a reverse snobbery prevalent in my Boston suburb). I was convinced that going Greek was "buying" friends blah, blah, blah. My parents weren't against it or for it. </p>

<p>As a junior, I decided I would do formal rush if for nothing else than the experience and so I wouldn't have a coulda/woulda/shoulda moment later on. I knew girls in each house and ended up loving my 2 years as an active and my many decades as an alumna. The girls in all the houses were from all the colleges at the university, from the fine arts majors to the engineers.</p>

<p>Although I was the first member of my family to join a GLO, others have followed suit. My sister pledged my org at a New England flagship, my brother was in a fraternity at MIT. H wasn't as he was at a service academy but our daughter just pledged a GLO at her Southern LAC. We all had wonderful experiences despite the very different cultures of our schools.</p>

<p>My experience is similar to that of Bay above in #9. After my sister, virtually all of my best friends are all from my sorority days at college. We are now spread all over the country from LA to Dallas to Chicago to Atlanta to Philadelphia to New York to Boston. We get together about once a year and it is often my favorite weekend of the year. Some of them I still talk with several times a week. While I understand that making and keeping good college friends is not a function of being in a Greek organization, it did create a bond for us that is still very strong. None of us are active in the sorority today, but we all still feel an incredible attachment to it and to each other. Greek life may not be for everyone, but it was great for us and I still enjoy its benefits many years later.</p>

<p>My school has a small in # but pretty visible Greek population. I go to frat parties, and some of my good friends are in frats. Sororities has less of a presence, and I've never felt the desire to rush. Some of my friends have rushed or are planning to. It's pretty low-pressure, I think, for girls. My sister is at a school with a very large Greek population (the inspiration behind Animal House, in fact). At her school, it seems as if almost everyone socializes within the Greek population. Most people pledge, though some don't. My sister did not go to school with the intention to pledge, but she is now a happy member of a sorority. She finds that it's a good and easy way to keep close, female relationships. She and her girlfriends usually socialized by going to male-centered frat parties, so with a sorority she has a chance to easily connect with a good group of girls. It depends a lot on the school, the particular frat/sorority, and the personality and goals of the student.</p>

<p>It's funny that non-Greeks typtify Greeks while Greeks typtify different Greeks. On my campus we had the "smart girls" (Thetas, Kappas), the "social whirl girls" (DZ's), the "goody two shoes" (Chi O's), the "wild party girls" (Zetas) and a few more. It's kinda like asking "is buying a house a good idea?" -- VERY much depends on which house . . .</p>

<p>"It's kinda like asking "is buying a house a good idea?" -- VERY much depends on which house . . "</p>

<p>Excellent comparison.</p>

<p>The real truth is whether or not your child decides to go greek, you have to have confidence in the child that you raised. </p>

<p>As the parent of a child who part of the greek system as the "Animal House" school, my D's experience is the same as Corranged's sister. She is happy in her house, she has maintained her non-greek friends and still lives a balanced life inside and outside of the greek system. Yes, she is a sister but that is not all that she is and is the first thing that people would say would not be "Oh, Chicky is a alpha beta sigma theta delta nu etc."</p>

<p>IF you feel that a greek system can totally undermind the 16/17/18 years you've spent rearing him/her maybe you need to question the life lessons that you've taught them. Overall greek life will be something that your child is a part of, not who he or she is and definitely not what totally defines them.</p>

<p>Sybbie: respectfully disagree. No matter how great a parent you have been and all the lessons provided plenty of kids still get caught up in things that are not healthy for them. For some, the new independence, peer pressure and lack of another support system at school is enough to start them down the wrong path. Kids mature at different rates and have very different personality traits regardless of how they were raised. Personally I think there is a degree of luck with having your kid come out of college after 4 years unscathed.</p>

<p>I think Greek life is great for some kids and not so great for others. Depends on the kid.</p>

<p>My dad was President of his Big 10 frat, an official BMOC and President of the Inter Frat Council. He loved the formality of his house in the early 50s, the singing, the housemothers. He'd had a very tumultuous, poverty ridden childhood and that frat house gave him a picture of what sort of house he wanted to create. </p>

<p>He did create that house in his adult life and still lives in it. He takes a daily walk past a Top 25 university frat row--and the sloppiness makes him cringe.</p>

<p>A number of his frat brothers credit him with turning their lives around. The unifying characteristic of all of these now 77 year old men? Philanthropy and 50 year marriages. They are all very generous members of their Midwestern communities. A few of them have been wildly successful in their professional lives. Drinking was not a part of their adult lives, FWIW.</p>

<p>My husband was a member of a now defunct fraternity at USC (too wild?). He still keeps up with his frat brothers, most of whom have been unbelievably successful in their professional lives. For all but one, drinking has not been a part of their adult lives. (None of them puts the USC flag or frat flag on their lawns. None of them live in Orange County).</p>

<p>My D participated in 2nd semester recruitment (that's what rush is called these days) at a university listed in CC Top Universities. She did so with the understanding that she was not under a commitment to pledge any sorority. There was a set dress code for recruitment that was published in December for events in January. The dress code was not onerous - in most cases it was casual wear for the first few events, then business/church attire, then formal attire (long dresses not required). She already had clothes that would do in her wardrobe. She said lots of girls went to an extreme - dressing up, wearing designer clothes, perfect makeup, new haircut and foil, etc. </p>

<p>Much to her surprise she found several sororities that she liked as events continued. She pledged a sorority and within weeks her sorority sisters encouraged her to audition for musical/drama groups on campus, join volunteer groups, etc.</p>

<p>Did she like everything about the sorority? No, but she met many girls from different backgrounds - some were in ROTC, some were majoring in physics, many were on sports teams, etc. Her roommate for the fall is a member of her sorority that she would not have met without joining the sorority.</p>

<p>She does not care much for many of the social functions, but enjoys the friendship of her sorority sisters. Keep in mind each and every sorority chapter is different on every campus. My D's sorority was one of the few that did not make their quota for new members the year she joined. On another campus (also CC Top Universities) the same sorority exceeds their membership quota every year and is seen as one of the top sororities to join.</p>

<p>So, your D needs to look at the chapters on her campus and not worry about what the chapter is like anywhere else. If she likes XYZ chapter at HER university and a friend says oh - at ABC University that sorority is the one no one wants to join - don't listen - each sorority is unique on each campus due to the composition of its members.</p>