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If you want to have a rich college experience, I recommend getting involved on campus. What’s great about it is that there are so many groups and activities to choose from. From those choices, there is Greek life. Have you ever considered Greek life?
You may be thinking, ‘Greek life!? Why in the world would I join those plastic Barbies!?’ I totally get it. Unfortunately, college Greeks have been portrayed as drunk, promiscuous, vapid and shallow people who only care about partying. However, being involved in a Greek Organization has more dimensions to it than what Hollywood gives it credit for.
What the movies and television shows leave out is that many Greek members are highly engaged in academic excellence, community service, philanthropy, empowerment, and activism. Did you know that,
Before you completely dismiss the idea, it doesn’t hurt to be informed, right? The following is a general overview of Greek Life.
What are Greeks?
Greek Lettered Organizations (GLO) are simply, according to Wikipedia, “Fraternities and Sororities are social organizations at college and universities.” The first Fraternity was founded in 1827, while the first Sorority, or “fraternity for women” was founded in 1851.
In addition to social events, GLO’S are groups that stand behind a set of established principles and act them out in their community. Being a Member develops leadership skills, establishes another network to build professional connections with, and a lifelong sisterhood/brotherhood.
Types of Greeks
Since the founding of the very first GLO’s, hundreds have been created to meet the needs of the students who established them. You can find the following types of Greeks at college campuses around the country:
These are the organizations you typically see on campus. They are considered the “mainstream” Greeks you see in the movies or on TV. Social Greeks tend to be very large, encompassing 50-80+ active members.
Their recruitment week is known as Rush Week. It is a large-scale event in which hundreds of interested of students mingle and attend events with Members in hopes of receiving a bid (invitation) to start the process to become a member.
Depending on the campus, you will also see Greek Row, a street where each GLO has their own house where some Members live. You will know you are on Greek row because you will see their letters on the house.
As people of color started enrolling in colleges and universities, they were prohibited from joining GLO’s already on campus due to race. Cultural Greeks are social organizations with the added element that celebrate their culture and cultural identity. You can find cultural Greek Organizations for African Americans, Latinos, and Asian student communities.
They are known to stroll (party walk as shown in the video below) and step, among other things. You can also see them putting on coming out/probate shows where they introduce their new members to the Greek and Campus community. Their intake process is more selective compared to intake process is more
These Greek Orgs were created to promote the interest of a particular profession such as business, psychology, medicine or engineering just to name a few.
Each Greek Letter Org has their own lingo for different parts of their org. However, there are terms that you will hear from time to time
Chapter: A local group of the larger (inter)national organization, designated by a special Greek name.
Rush/Pledge: The process a potential new member goes through to become a member.
The University of Nevada Las Vegas has a nice list of other commonly used terms within the Greek community, you can check out here.
There are many benefits to joining Greek Life, here are just a few:
I’m a bit biased because I am part of the Greek community. I am a proud member of the Alpha Beta Chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Incorporated. Before joining, I was completely against it myself my freshman year. I watched movies, television shows and heard things about Greek Life that were outrageous. I also graduated from an all girls Catholic Prep School so I didn’t think I needed more all women groups in my life.
However, after being invited to attend some recruitment events by some girls in my class, I decided to check it out and get more information. I liked the girls and their organization’s colors. After meeting more of the Sisters and learning about Sigma Lambda Gamma and what they stood for I was hooked.
Here are some of the questions I asked myself when I considered joining this group:
Do I like the women in this organization?
Recruitment is usually a week or so and it’s not that much time to get to know everyone, but you can get a sense of the general vibe of the members.
Do I believe in what they stand for?
As I previously mentioned, each GLO has their own set of principles they stand for. Do they promote and stand for similar principles that align with my values and help me strive to be a better person?
What is being a member like?
Recruitment week is the perfect opportunity to the members’ questions like why they joined this organization and how it has helped them individually and as a student?
If there are no recruitment events happening when you read this, feel free to ask anyway, Greeks love to talk about their Orgs.
What makes college a memorable experience is not the papers and tests, but the people you form bonds with. Whether you decide to form those bonds as a member of Greek Letter Organization or not. It’s not for everyone, but isn’t college is all about getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new right? So if it is something you are considering, check it out.
For more information check out this article via NBC News Latino, “Stepping, Strolling and Community: Latino Sororities, Fraternities Grow in Popularity.”
Are any of you in Greek Life or considering Greek life? I’d love to hear your experiences or questions, leave them below in the comment section.