It seems lately everything we have been hearing about fraternities is negative; the hazing incidents or the racist parties. Because of this, we tend to forget the positive aspects of joining one such as being part of a brotherhood, the philanthropy events and fundraising.
In Philadelphia, Drexel University’s Sigma Phi Epsilon members are not letting the negative portrayals of Greek life get to them, and are keeping up with a tradition they have been participating in for the past seven years. According to an article in USA Today College, they have partnered with St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which is an organization in support of the Children’s Oncology Group. It became an independent foundation in 2005 and has raised over $100 million in research grant funding.
In 2007, the members of Sigma Phi Epsilon hosted a St. Baldrick’s event at their school to support one of their fraternity brothers who survived childhood cancer. All the SigEp members shaved their heads as part of the event, and then educated students on campus about childhood cancer.
After reading about the fraternity members, I wanted to see what Illinois State University’s Greek life was all about, and what sorts of optimistic vibes they brought to our campus.
ISU junior and Sigma Alpha Epsilon member Brett Lysik explained what he and his fraternity brothers do as an organization.
“This is our first year on campus so we are new to the scene. It’s been a work in progress and we are finally starting to get in the swing of things,” Lysik said. “We have been working hard on showing our support to the Greek life on campus by attending other frat and sorority philanthropy events.”
It is great to see the support ISU Greek members have for each other by trying to attend events for one another as well as hosting events themselves for specific charities. In the fall 2013 semester, according to ISU’s Dean of Students website, fraternity and sorority members raised over $36,000 for charities. They also completed over 7,400 hours of community service.
Some of the service projects they are involved with are March of Dimes, Relay for Life, Make-a-Wish, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the McLean County Humane Society, Food Bank and mentoring programs.
To be honest, I have never been the biggest fan of Greek life. I could not see myself in one when I came to ISU, and I am satisfied with my decision of not joining one. Even though I have always put down the choice of joining a Greek-affiliated organization myself, I understand why people do it.
It offers excellent opportunities to participate in community service events such as the ones I mentioned above. It also is a good way to create a strong bond with other ISU students in the group.
It can be tough making friends or finding ways to be active on campus when first starting college. However, fraternities and sororities offer those advantages right when joining which can make a college experience much less stressful.
Of course, Greek life is not for everyone, as I just said I know it is not something I can see myself being a part of. All of us have different ways of making friends or ourselves known on campus. But, we should not just focus on the negatives of fraternities and sororities just because we hear one or two bad stories on them. It is important to do research and find the good in these groups and any sort of organization you plan on joining on campus.
Christina Danno is a senior philosophy and English studies major as well as a columnist and copy editor for The Vidette. Questions or comments regarding her column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.