Deciding whether or not to go Greek your freshman year of college is a question that many students ask themselves. While joining has so many benefits not only while you’re in school, but even after you graduate, there are also some cons to weigh before making the decision. We’ve all heard the good, the bad and the ugly about what it means to be Greek, and we have all formed our own opinions on the idea of it.
We spoke to Ralph Wunderl, former Treasurer of Alpha Sigma Phi at Bentley University. He weighs the pros and cons about his experience with Greek life.
What did you like most about being in a fraternity?
The fraternity provided me with a lot of great leadership opportunities. As the Treasurer and Philanthropy Chair, I was able to make a direct impact on both the University and the surrounding community. In doing so, I learned many valuable skills that I attribute to landing my first job (and still put to use today).
What did you like least about being in a fraternity?
The social stigma associated with it. Some persons, and particularly the news outlets as of late, like to focus on the one-off negatives that occur within Greek life in order to paint an unfavorable picture of the entire community. Some situations may present themselves where one is initially (negatively) judged because of this.
Here is what you need to think about before going Greek
Expand Your Social Circle and Create New Friendships
Going Greek is a great way to meet new people and create a second family once you arrive on campus. You quickly find like-minded people to connect with and you have someone to show you the ropes and look out for you. If you are someone who doesn’t like to spend too much time alone, joining a Greek organization could be the perfect fit for you. You will always have a friend or “brother/sister” to turn to. You will end up spending the majority of your college life with your Greek group, so joining is a great way to ensure that you will have friendships and memories that last a lifetime.
If Greek Life is a big deal at your university, chances are that you will have the opportunity to live in Greek housing with your sorority/fraternity. These houses are beautiful mansion like houses and you will get to live with a bunch of other people who are just like you! You will get to live with your best friends, which can be a really fun experience.
Leadership and Community Opportunities
Being Greek is not just about the social side of things. Both sororities and fraternities participate heavily in the community doing charitable work and community service. Being involved in something like this can teach you life skills as well as improve experience on your resume. There are also leadership opportunities within your chapter such as a position on the executive council, event coordinators, or committee chairman.
Being in a fraternity or sorority can be a force on your side when you are ready to enter the business world. You are officially part of a long standing nationwide tradition, and many professionals were part of Greek life in college. Having a chapter in common with a potential employer can give you a leg up over anyone else applying, after all, you are brothers/sisters.
While some organizations offer scholarships, joining a sorority or fraternity is usually a very expensive investment. On top of paying your college tuition you are required to pay an up front joining fee, monthly or semester fees, and fines for missing any required meetings or initiations. You also have to purchase different outfits for different events, which are more added costs. If you plan on living in the chapter house, there is another fee for room and board. The cost does vary depending on which university you attend but it does add up.
It’s Time Consuming
Being a part of a Greek organization in college will require most of your free time not spent in class. Not only do you have weekly or monthly meetings, you will also have required events and parties you need attend, and also fill a certain number or community service hours. If you want to join any other clubs or organizations on campus, being in a fraternity/sorority can prevent you from doing so. Before committing to your Greek life, make sure you prioritize what you really want to get out of your college experience.
With Greek life comes rules. This can either be a good or bad thing depending how you look at it. You will be expected to maintain a certain GPA in order to stay in your sorority or fraternity. There are also expectations on how to dress and present yourself to the community. You will also have to follow strict regulations regarding drinking and partying. You have to meet a certain amount of community service hours. If you can’t follow the rules or if you have issues with authority chances are that you won’t last long in the organization.