Greek Life Is Not as Bad as You Think

Alexis Gaskin, Staff Writer

Here at St. John’s, you can’t go too far without seeing someone wearing Greek letters. Greek life is very prominent on campus, and with over 29 sororities and fraternities, it leaves a lasting impression on the University.
Greek organizations have always been a topic of discussion in the form of scandal and hate. In the media and movies, fraternities are usually connected with hazing and date raping at college parties, while sororities are connected with stereotypes of skinny blonde girls with low IQs.
I think this analysis of Greek life is a gross misconception of what it truly is: A brotherhood and sisterhood of like-minded people who want to be a part of something bigger. Greek life has been around for a very long time and the traditions and lessons that these members learn offer them an arsenal of networking opportunities with pasty members of the organization.
I am not a member of any Greek life organization, but having several friends here at St. John’s and at other universities that are, I can see that Greek life is changing into something more than the stereotypes that they used to hold.
Here on campus, we have the Greek life organizations that you typically think of in the form of Panhellenic (sorority) and Interfraternal (fraternity), but there is also the MultiCultural Greek Alliance, which are Greek organizations that focus on the empowerment of different ethnicities. Such sororities and fraternities include the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha and the fraternity Lambda Upsilon Lambda.
The diversity on campus is reflected in these Greek organizations. In the past, organizations have had an issue with inclusivity by following the standards of all white members — but in the recent years diversity has increased greatly.
Greek life isn’t for everyone, though, and when discussing with some of my friends about it — some who are members and some who are not — they have a lot to say. The overstanding agreement is that it’s a lot of work.
In the majority of the rushing and pledging processes, it can take up to six weeks. In that long and rigorous process, they have to learn secrets, practice for their tests and unite with fellow future sisters or brothers.
I honestly think that this is a respectful process, as it is put in place to weed out the weak and those who aren’t truly committed. All Greek organizations do it, no matter the type. While it’s a lot of hard work, it has an amazing payoff. One of which is lasting friendships with people you may not have gotten a chance to know.
Before I came to St. John’s, I used to think joining a sorority was stupid and that it was just paying for your friends, since you have to pay dues every semester for membership in the Greek organization.
After coming here and meeting many members that are a part of Greek life, I realized I was wrong.
The reason you go through a long process of rushing and pledging is to make sure that the people you’re surrounded by are people you respect and want to be around. Greek life has a bad reputation, but the organizations in St. John’s break those stereotypes.
From the attention they pay to philanthropy to the inclusion of different people of all races, sizes and sexual orientations, they are creating a new image and positive appearance on campus and their members.