The issues in Greek life communities have been a hot topic on college campuses in recent years.
Hazing is a terrible thing and no person should have to experience any sort of humiliation or uncomfort to prove their worth.
The issues of hazing have directly affected the perception of Greek life on college campuses. Just last year the Phi Delta Theta chapter at Belmont University lost its charter on hazing charges. Hazing is one of the most common arguments against going Greek made along with high costs and the alleged stripping of a person’s individuality.
The perception of many Greek organizations is a very negative one and it doesn’t have to be. Greek organizations do so much good for the community both on a local, national and for some, a global scale.
A perfect example of this is Alpha Tau Omega’s Disco is Dead? event last Friday which raised a record breaking $6,000 in one night for its philanthropy Blood: Water Mission. The fraternity provided a night of good, clean, fun to the campus while raising money and awareness for a global cause.
This year, I made the choice to go through Panhellenic recruitment with the intent to find my home in one of Belmont’s four sororities.
Recruitment was an extensive weekend filled with long days, hours of waiting and ultimately new found friendships. At the end of the week, on Bid Day, I was invited to become a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sisterhood and I couldn’t be happier.
While I have only been a sister for about a month now, I am already overwhelmed with the love and support promised to me during recruitment. The friendships I have made so far are ones I feel will last a lifetime.
And while few of my friends prior to my pledging were members of Greek life organizations and many supported me in joining a sorority, some did not.
I heard countless arguments and rehearsed quips against joining Greek life. To name a few:
It’s so expensive, why would you want to do that?
You know a sorority is just buying your friends, right?
You just don’t seem like a sorority girl to me.
The answers to most of these were complex. Yes, Greek life is expensive but, no I didn’t, and still don’t, feel like I am buying my friends. I have plenty of friends who are in and out of Greek life and I don’t mind paying my dues. Much of the money goes toward the National Chapter Office and pays the salaries of women who have devoted their lives to the sisterhood. The rest goes toward fun social activities for myself and my sisters like formals, mixers, philanthropy events and retreats.
To the part about me not appearing like a sorority girl, I have to say, I think that’s preposterous. There is no real sorority girl archetype. Yes, there are the stereotypes we all know; thin, ditzy, mean and blonde, but this is just that, a stereotype.
Greeks come in all shapes, colors, sizes, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. There are no two of us who are exactly the same and that’s what makes us great.
The point of a sorority,and same with fraternities, is to celebrate our differences, to embrace our individuality and to support each other in that quest. It is not to buy friends or to have a party to go to on weekends. It is to find your home. It is to find like-minded people who will not judge you, who will not harm you, who will love you and celebrate you. That is not so say you have to be in a sorority or fraternity to find that.
But for me, the support and friendship of Alpha Gamma Delta is what I was searching for. To quote Belmont’s National Panhellenic Council, Greek life for some, is “not at all what you were expecting, but exactly what you were looking for.”
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