A Semi-Charmed Greek Kind of Life

“All people seek a society of those who think and act somewhat like themselves”. These are the words uttered by William Cobbet as he described the intricate subtlety of the need of each person to belong or be a part of something. For some time now, fraternities and sororities have been inching their way in schools and in society. The existence of these fraternities and sororities has a vast and diverse distinction with one another in relation to their own purposes. The reality is that the so called Greek Life is always put on the spotlight of a trial.

The controversy that encapsulates the whole idea of a fraternity or a sorority always hangs in the balance between charging them guilty or innocent in terms of simply being good or bad to students. The lopsided reality is that fraternities and sororities have always been associated to the very definition of being a bad influence. Thus, although schools and society in general perceive fraternities and sororities as detrimental to the lives of students, the truth is that they actually bring a substantial benefit to individuals not just as a student but more importantly, as a person in a community.

In defining both a fraternity and a sorority, it must first be realized that the most obvious and primal distinction between these two is only in terms of the gender of their members. Simply put it, a fraternity is for males; a brotherhood, and a sorority is for females; a sisterhood. Fraternities are usually named by two or three Greek letters and are also known as Greek-letter societies; women's Greek-letter societies are commonly called sororities (Scott, 1965). But more than this, a fraternity and a sorority is defined by their aims and goals.

Greek organizations are the center of social life at some campuses, but by the early twenty-first century, increasing numbers of colleges and universities have been banning them from schools (Horwitz, 1988). In light of these, the purpose of this short discourse is to first illustrate why the common misconceptions about a fraternity and a sorority are merely hasty generalizations. Then, the focus will center upon the hidden and ignored reality that the Greek Life is actually fostering the betterment of each of its members and society as well.

Society is filled with a number of unhealthy preconceived notions that give a fraternity and a sorority a negative perception. One of the most prevalent issues always being asserted is that fraternities and sororities are the reasons for the low or failing marks a lot of students are getting. This assertion is not corroborated by any factual evidence or proof. There is no actual proven relationship which shows the link between joining and being a member of a fraternity or a sorority to that of failing or having low grades in school.

On the contrary, fraternities and sororities have a strong involvement in the academic performance of their members. An example of this is in Rutgers College. It has been the practice of Greek organizatons in Rutgers College to conduct study hours for their incoming members every pledging period – a tradition which has been observed to result to higher grades for their pledges. Aside from offering scholarships and academic performance awards to qualified students, many Greeks have, as a matter of fact, high marks (Courtland, 2005).

Moreover, there are even colleges or universities which require their members or possible recruits to reach a certain grade (Adrian College, 2005). Another negative assumption with regard to fraternities and sororities is about the bad influence they bring to students. The public always views fraternities and sororities as organizations which teach their members to be wild or unruly. Usually, the most common thing people think when the Greek Life is talked about is all about partying all the time.

Society sees a fraternity and a sorority as hindrances to the development of a student because they waste a student’s time and misguide the student’s goals. Kelly Jo Karnes, Associate Director of the Division of Student Affairs at the Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia, have written a letter addressed to the parents of new students explaining the advantages of their children’s joining fraternities and sororities while at the university. According to her, aside from friendship, academic support, opportunities of involvement in non-academic activities, the Greek community can provide their children a “home away from home.

” As she has urged parents to allow their children to join fraternities and sororities, she has explained that the student leaders of the university, their leading athletes and scholars and the most successful alumni of ODU belong to Greek letter organizations (Karnes, 2006) In reality, aside from the support, guidance and academic involvement fraternities and sororities provide to their members, they are actually engaged and very committed in community service. Having a Greek Life also entails contributing to society.

Fraternities and sororities are doing projects to raise funds in helping the community. They even dedicate their members in joining and volunteering in community services. In some colleges, a fraternity or a sorority is only recognized and given legitimacy by the school only if they are involved in community programs that help society (Courtland, 2005). In essence, contrary to what most people and society think, fraternities and sororities have been contributing a lot to students, whether members or not, and to society. The fraternity and sorority have both evolved through a threshold of emancipation.

As society progressed and developed, so do fraternities and sororities. The common assumptions that have plagued these organizations have caused damaged not to the fraternity or sorority but to the students. Society must understand and realize that the modern day fraternities and sororities are not hazardous but actually advantageous to the students, to the school and to the community. Society must therefore resolve to not devaluate but promote these organizations and eradicate any lies and misunderstandings that burden them.

Society must help and not condemn those that help it. For in doing so will no longer foster a mere semi-charmed Greek Life, but a full one at the least.


Adrian College. (n. d. ). Greek Life at Adrian. Retrieved March 2, 2008 from http://www. adrian. edu/student_life/greek_life/index. php Cortland, A. (2005). Paying for friends. The Daily Targum. Retrieved March 2, 2008 from http://media. www. dailytargum. com/media/storage/paper168/news/2005/02/09/Opinio ns/Paying. For. Friends-856809-page3. shtml Horowitz, Helen Lefkowitz. Campus Life: Undergraduate Cultures from the End of the Eighteenth Century to the Present. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Karnes, K. J. (2006). Information for Parents about Greek Life. Division of Student Affairs, Old Dominion University. Retrieved March 2, 2008 from http://studentaffairs. odu. edu/osal/greeklife/greekparents. shtml Scott, W. A. Values and Organizations: A Study of Fraternities and Sororities (1965) from http://www. answers. com/greek%20life

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