By Leslie Shirk
Several misconceptions and stereotypes have been made about Greek Life over the years, and still remain an issue on our campus. In clearing up these misconceptions, however, one can get a glimpse into what can be gained from being a part of this community. This particularly applies to what long-time Greek seniors have gained looking back on their experiences.
There are benefits that often go unrecognized, from leadership skills to members learning more about themselves and bettering themselves through active participation in their organization.
“I am confident in my own abilities and have become a much better leader,” says senior, Richard Mann of Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
A group of men and women form a close-knit bond as members of such an organization, that many students who are not part of this don’t quite understand.
“[Greek life has] given me a social and emotional outlet, as I have a network of friends with whom I have great bonds. There has always been someone there for me whenever I needed anything,” comments senior Dan Coons of Alpha Gamma Tau Fraternity.
Unlike the stereotype that Greeks buy their friends, it is essentially groups of men and women who love and care about one another unconditionally, like a family.
“We are friends and confidants beyond being just sisters, and Phi Mu is just the wonderful thing we all believe in that brought us together,” says senior Emica Boutilier of Phi Mu Sorority.
As noted by a majority of the Greek Life seniors, some of the best friends they made in college were from their own organizations or even from others that pledged at the same time. This doesn’t mean that one has to pledge a Greek organization to make lifelong friends, but it is definitely a common trend among the Greek community as a whole.
“I found myself having closer ties with the brothers than with the other guys, but coincidentally my best friends from soccer and ROTC are also in my fraternity,” said senior Christian Maisel of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity.
Many students are unaware at just how much the members of the Greek community are involved in and a part of, blending in with everyone else on campus. Greeks are involved in multiple organizations besides their own social fraternities and sororities, ranging from honor societies within their majors to varsity sports.
The seniors who are involved in Greek Life have expressed a consensus, which is what Greek Life as a whole strives to accomplish, and that is a sense of leadership.
This sense of leadership carries into the real world as well, helping to mold whom these men and women will someday become, bringing their skills into play.
“I will be more adept at working in groups and taking charge of organizing projects and events,” says senior Jarrett Smith of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.
Put quite simply, a Greek organization is very similar to a small company. It takes the whole organization to get things accomplished.
“Everyone has specific jobs and is expected to perform certain activities in order for everything to run smoothly,” says senior Angela Brudis, of Alpha Nu Omega sorority.
These responsibilities and duties upheld within a given organization foster a better relationship with peers and more importantly working with others.
“[By] taking new positions and dealing with people?so many difficult situations I’ve been thrown into?[I feel like I can be] thrown into any position and step up as a leader,” adds Maisel.
However, the goal of the Greeks is not to say that Greek Life is for everyone, or that it’s the only way to enjoy your college experience, but as Mann phrases it, “People often don’t give it a chance. It is a very fulfilling commitment and will give you back three times what you put in it.”
Perhaps the best parting advice to take from this look into what can be gained from Greek Life experience is to come out and see what the organizations are about and get to know them before passing judgment.
While the Greek campus may not appear unified all the time, they unite under the common ground that they have become better individuals as a result of joining their organizations, form close bonds as well as have immeasurable leadership opportunities available to them.
“I feel like you make your experience at college with what you put into it,” said senior Phi Sigma Sigma member Samantha Greller. “I feel this goes hand in hand with Greek Life.”
Shirk is a member of Phi Mu Sorority.