OPINION: Greek Life is not what you think

2.11.18.greekrow.at (1 of 1)
Amorah Tate | The Daily Wildcat The pillars standing in Heritage Park represent the different types of houses, as well as what chapter they belong to. Each sorority or fraternity has the opportunity to buy a pillar and put their name on it.

When people think of the “college experience,” oftentimes the first things that come to mind are beer bongs and shots of cheap vodka on a Saturday night. With that comes people's negative stereotypes of fraternity parties and Greek Life. 

I hear people say all the time that students in sororities or fraternities are more concerned about when the next party is than they are about their seven-page paper due Monday morning. Because of this stigma around party culture, the numerous benefits of the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association are frequently overlooked.

There are many aspects of being part of a sorority or fraternity that are hard to see from the outside. For example, the greek community focuses heavily on community service and philanthropic involvement with the events each house organizes every semester. What many people don’t know is that each fraternity and sorority supports a specific cause and thousands of dollars are raised each year for organizations like Girls on the Run, Alzheimer’s Association, Ronald McDonald House and so many more. 

When I was coming into college, getting involved through Greek Life was something that really appealed to me because I knew I would have the opportunity to give back to my community and be part of something bigger than myself. After only one semester at the University of Arizona, I feel that sense of community more than ever. Every house supports one another by showing up to events and contributing to these philanthropic fundraisers. 

MORE FROM THE DAILY WILDCAT

“Participating in other chapters’ philanthropy events and events around Tucson was one of my favorite things in the entire world,” said Devin Douglas, former president of the sorority Gamma Phi Beta. “It’s so fun being able to do activities that simultaneously benefit philanthropies. You’re having fun while raising money for a great cause; it’s one of those things that really brings everybody together.” 

The organization and turnaround time that the greek chapters achieve with their events is extremely impressive, especially since all the houses are run by a group of full-time students mostly under the age of 22. This leads to the many leadership opportunities that are offered by each chapter, which teach members vital skills that they can carry into their professional life. 

Reflecting on her time as chapter president, Douglas connected the similarities that running a sorority has to running a business. 

“You have to make sure you’re spending wisely and you’re handling your members wisely. You learn how to interact with a very wide range of people and how to handle different situations,” Douglas said. 

This experience is something that will benefit young adults in any career they choose after college. Learning how to work under pressure and making challenging decisions at a young age are skills fraternity and sorority members are lucky to gain. 

The sense of togetherness within all the greek chapters is another thing I noticed right away. People join a sorority or fraternity because they want to find like-minded people to spend their time with. Jackson Byrne, a freshman pre-business student, just joined the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and talked about the time he spends with his brothers. 

“There are times because you’re in the same house people would feel like you have to hang out with them, but every day we choose to hang out with each other outside of the house,” Byrne said. 

This does not just include partying either. Byrne said members of the fraternity spend time studying together in the library, pushing each other in the gym and grabbing a bite to eat on University Boulevard. Because of this, you can build a strong bond with everyone in your chapter, outside of the loud party scene.

Above all else, the most beneficial aspect of joining Greek Life is the plethora of academic support given by not only the individual chapters but the IFC and Panhellenic Association as a whole. Each chapter holds its members to a high academic standard, such as maintaining a high GPA and participating in study hours and there are specific steps that must be taken if that standard is not met. 

Jenna Hartman, a freshman pre-business student in Kappa Kappa Gamma, is part of the academic board for her chapter. Her role is to meet with members who are falling below Kappa’s GPA requirement and create an academic progress plan for each member. The sole purpose of this is to provide extra help to the women of the sorority so they can thrive academically. 

“Greek Life has a lot of extra resources that I would not be aware of if I was not in it,” Hartman said.

This is because when you are connected to so many people with the same goal, you have access to support you would otherwise have to seek out.

After having such a positive experience being part of the greek community, I would encourage anyone who has thought about joining but didn’t, to give it a chance. Once you look past the stereotypes of Greek Life, you can better understand that there is a lot more to being part of a sorority or fraternity than partying. Community involvement, leadership development and academic support are just the beginning.


Follow Isabelle Freguia on Twitter



96EB3606-39EB-416E-8160-D33D3AA869EC.jpeg
Isabelle Freguia

Isabelle Freguia is a freshman at the University of Arizona majoring in journalism with a public relations minor. She is originally from Seattle but moved to La Quinta, California over the summer. She is very passionate about writing and hopes to work for a fashion magazine one day!


Share this article