College Greek life is becoming more and more prevalent on Illinois State University’s campus. We are nowhere near as Greek affiliated as other major universities around the country, but we are slowly heading down that path to becoming a major Greek life “power.”
With that being said, students would be better off dissociating themselves with Greek life. It should be noted that I am not a part of Greek life, and my opinion is based off of observation, research and the numerous conversations I have had with people who are involved in fraternities and sororities.
I’m not writing this article to spread false rhetoric that Greek life is evil and should be banned all across the country. I am simply writing this to make sure students are aware of the consequences of joining such an organization.
First of all, Greek life contributes to society in a variety of beneficial ways. Joining Greek life ensures networking for students after they graduate. It is an excellent element to put on one’s résumé and, according to William Hageman of the Chicago Tribune, joining Greek life can connect you with “the network of former fraternity or sorority members in the business world.” Fraternities and sororities also raise millions of dollars for a variety of different charities all across the country.
On the other hand, joining Greek life can have disastrous effects on a student’s confidence; sense of self-worth; individualistic morals and beliefs; and bank account.
Most people have heard at least one horror story of Greek life hazing. Hazing can include verbal and physical abuse, forcing hopeful members to use mass amounts of drugs or alcohol or participate in unwanted sexual acts and many other disturbing punishments in order to gain “trust.”
According to www.greeklife.uconn.edu, 44 out of the 50 States currently have anti-hazing laws established. However, horrifying hazing incidents still occur behind the closed doors of fraternity and sorority houses. Just because laws prohibit such a thing from happening, they do not 100 percent guarantee that it will not happen. According to the same website mentioned above, since 1970 there has been at least one hazing death on college campuses every year.
Students who join a fraternity or sorority also have the risk of becoming a part of “groupthink.” Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon where groups of people begin to think as a single entity, instead of individually. This happens because people are afraid to express their own beliefs or opinions, because they want to fit in with the others.
Participation in groupthink meshes everyone into an amoebic blob, where everyone looks and acts the same. Individuals that join Greek life run the risk of not standing out anymore, and essentially becoming another sheep in the flock.
On top of all this, Greek life is a huge financial commitment. Most of us college students do not have two pennies to rub together, and a financial burden such as frat or sorority life would devastate our bank accounts. Events, dances, housing and gear all costs money most of us do not have at this point in our lives, making Greek life a very poor investment at this point in time.
Greek life definitely has its benefits. It’s not just pure chance that it is becoming the norm on college campuses. There are many students out there that see the potential in joining Greek life, but I just cannot find enough positives to outweigh the negatives.
Greek life is not for everybody, and it is definitely not for me. If you have any doubts whatsoever in regards to Greek life, it is probably in your best interest to acknowledge those doubts and stay away from it. Do not get caught up in the moment; think before you rush.
Chris Chipman is a junior english major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.