Look, we all know the standard jokes about going Greek. I could sit here and make fun of business majors named Chad who like to punch drywall and wear boat shoes, but truthfully, fraternity and sorority life has come a long way.
Like all great American traditions, fraternities were founded out of spite. According to Greek Yearbook, John Heath, a student at the college of William & Mary, founded Phi Beta Kappa after being rejected from multiple secret societies in 1776. This was the first brotherhood to don the Greek letters with pride and inspire other college campuses to soon follow suit.
In 1851, Wesleyan College established the first sorority, promoting their ideals of “mental, moral, social and domestic improvement of its members.” Though they weren’t seen as valid members of the Greek-letter society until the 1900’s, this was a monumental step for women seeking sisterhood in higher education.
I advocate for Greek life because of the undeniable community it brings. The transition to college can be extremely stressful and lonely, so having a solid group of people you can lean on is a terrific way to combat the first-year blues.
Fraternity and Sorority Life is a great outlet for emotional and academic support. For some members, their brothers and sisters can serve as a study group. The community is typically filled with different grade levels and majors meaning that a lot of the time, someone has likely taken the same class as you, and can supply a textbook and offer academic assistance. Having a strong community encourages students to stay enrolled until they graduate. According to a report done by USA Today, graduation rates among FSL members is 20% higher than the average student.
The root of the word fraternity is quite literally “frater” which translates to brother in Latin. This network that frat bros and sorority sisters bond over is one that can last a lifetime and can be a great resource to make connections.
You may enter Greek Life with the expectations of using a lot of red Solo cups, but you may leave with internships, interviews and fellowships lined up thanks to some Greek letter love. I do find it important to acknowledge the present scope of Greek Life. Many institutions, like Long Beach State, have integrated special interest sororities and fraternities. At CSULB, we have special interest fraternities and sororities, ranging from Kappa Psi Epsilon, a Pilipina based special interest sorority that promotes female empowerment and uniqueness, to Delta Sigma Chi, a co-ed fraternity for Latinx students.
I emphatically promote the philanthropic contributions of FSL and implore college students to go Greek if they are seeking a community to bring them closer to their college campus.
However, I find myself struggling to promote date parties and rushing for all because of the heteronormative culture, sexism and hazing associated with said activities.
I acknowledge the progress that fraternities and sororities have made in those respects, but I think that it would be ignorant to ignore the problematic aspects that plague the community.
These issues are deeply rooted in the culture of Greek Life and the only way to change it is from within. I praise fraternities at CSULB like Delta Lambda Phi that do not participate in hazing, demoralizing behavior and are comprised of gay, bisexual and progressive men.
I do not think that Fraternity and Sorority Life is a flawless entity, because the truth is that they have a lot of work to do. But would I recommend FSL to a new student looking to make friends and connections? Without a doubt.
Having said that, as college students, I believe that we have the opportunity to incite change from within and call out the problematic behavior. If you’re a new student looking to make connections, friends and memories, I firmly believe that going Greek is the correct path.
Because that guy named Chad who, once upon a time, punched drywall might end up being your future colleague and a lifelong friend.