Greek organizations have been under heavy criticism in light of events that have left some sororities and fraternities appearing exclusive, perverse and even racist. However, Greek life recognizes these deplorable aspects, actively changes in order to fight stigmas and provides an environment where students can comfortably thrive.
Greek life offers many great opportunities for students, especially for those looking for a close-knit group of friends. The fellowship provided by sororities and fraternities can help students transition into college by easing the stress of social interactions. Freshmen often do not arrive at Texas State with their friends from high school. However, joining a Greek organization can jumpstart the process by surrounding students with friendly, likeminded people.
Having an active role in a sorority or fraternity can be a great résumé builder. Students with leadership positions within Greek organizations stand out to employers because the experience shows the individual has dedication and leadership skills.
On top of building a résumé, students gain access to established alumni of their organization. These connections can be an important factor for students looking to graduate and find a decent job in a timely manner. Identifying and contacting alumni in respective career fields could help certain students gain vital information or even a position.
For students worried about the negative aspects of Greek life, there are many sororities and fraternities with strict anti-hazing standards. For example, Christian sororities and fraternities promote fellowship without any risk of humiliation or hazing. These inclusive Christian organizations forgo bids in order to welcome any who wish to join. Many non-Christian Greek organizations have pledged to end hazing in their chapters, and more join this cause every year.
Frankly, Greek organizations do not get as much credit as they deserve. Each of these organizations have a minimum GPA requirement to encourage students to stay on top of their studies. However, Greek honor societies offer membership to any student with a high-ranking GPA and offer benefits without increasing social pressure. These organizations focus more on academics, rather than socializing or philanthropy. Involvement in Greek life can even improve graduation rates of students by 20 percent.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of joining a Greek organization is the experience in philanthropy. Philanthropy is a huge part of Greek life greatly benefitting the students involved as well as the communities they are serving. Fraternities and sororities work with local organizations in order to learn leadership skills and civic responsibility. Other campus organizations may offer social environments similar to that of Greek life, but few can match their efforts in philanthropy.
For Greeks, overcoming negative stereotypes associated with their organizations is an unavoidable hurdle the community must cross. What students need to understand is the negative stigmas do not outweigh the great benefits Greek organizations provide to members and communities alike. Other organizations could learn a thing or two from the Greek organizations on campus.
Follow Madison Teague on Twitter at @maddiebell_bell.