Next time you’re sitting in chapter, bored and half-listening to the officers talk incessantly about things that could be sent via email, I want you to ask yourself one question.
Why are you here?
I mean it. Give me a legitimate answer and not just “because you’ll be fined if you don’t show up.”
Why are you in this sorority?
Your answer may be that you wanted a social life. Maybe you wanted to join a smaller community because your campus is so big, and you wanted somewhere to feel like home. Maybe you’re from out of state and just needed to make some friends. Maybe you wanted the networking opportunities. Maybe you needed to keep the taste of hierarchy and popularity in your mouth after graduating high school. Maybe you wanted to be a part of an organization that participates in service and philanthropy so you can rack up your hours for grad school.
All of those are perfectly legitimate reasons. However, let me ask you another question. Why can’t you get those same benefits from another club or organization? There’s a community service club. There’s clubs for every type of major. There are plenty of parties outside fraternity houses. There are honoraries for every academic class. What makes Greek life different than those? What makes it better? Is it better? Or is it worse?
I’m going to lay down some facts for you:
1. Greek life is expensive—more expensive than most other clubs and campus organizations.
2. Greek life is closely associated with alcohol and drug misuse and abuse. Two out of five college students are binge drinkers. Four out of five Greek students are binge drinkers.
3. There is a stereotype associated with sorority girls. A few words that come to mind after hearing the word sorority: pink, petty, social climbing, unintelligent, superficial, glitter.
4. Greeks haze. Don’t tell me you don’t know at least one organization on your campus that hazes.
5. All Greeks are the same. All Greeks care about is parties, sex, and alcohol. They think they’re better than everyone else. They all dress the same and talk the same. They even look the same. Conformity is key.
I’m sure it pissed you off to read that, and you’re probably denying the validity of all of those statements. But the truth is that there is a large portion of the population who believes those statements are true. So, what makes Greek life relevant? After all of this negative attention in the media, why does it still exist? Fraternities are getting kicked off college campuses left and right for sexual assault, hazing, alcohol misuse, etc. Why not just ban them altogether?
Think for a minute. Try to give me an answer.
Here is mine: We shouldn’t ban Greek life because this isn’t what Greek life is supposed to be. This culture that we’ve created centered on sex and popularity and parties is not Greek life.
If all social events were taken away from your fraternity or sorority, would you stay in it?
If your answer is no, then we have a problem. You have a problem. You are not Greek—you are just paying an absurd amount of money to wear the clothes and go to the parties.
The thing that separates us from all of those other clubs on campus that seem to reap all the benefits without any of the consequences is this: values. You may not know this, but every single Greek organization, including yours, was founded based on values—not looks, not style, and not social preferences. Can you tell me what your organization’s values are? Can you tell me what your values are?
Are you living in a way that reflects your values?
If the people in your sorority aren’t living in a way that embodies the values of your organization, why are you in that organization? Are you really a Theta? An Alpha Phi? A Chi O?
There are so many rules, and fines, and mandatory events. Is it even worth it? People complain all the time, and my response is always the same. If you don’t want to do something, don’t do it. You don’t have to follow the rules. You don’t have to go to chapter every week. You can go to pool parties instead of Founder’s Day.
You can quit.
The bottom line is this: Greek organizations are getting too big to keep members who aren’t contributing to the welfare and development of the chapter. If you aren’t making your chapter better, why are you still around? The purpose of your sorority is much greater than a platform to gain Instagram likes or meet cute boys. The purpose of a sorority is to better each and every member, to strive to live in accordance with the values of your organization, and to belong to something special with longstanding ritual and traditions. If these goals are not congruent with your own, then I advise you to reconsider your membership.
You need your sorority more than it needs you.
So, next time you’re sitting in chapter self-righteously complaining to the girl next to you about how you’d rather be drinking a beer at SAE, get up and go do it. I’ll be happy to sign your letter of resignation. Greek life doesn’t need anymore half-ass members.
Why are you here?.