By Andres Torres
“You are just paying to have friends!”
“They are going to haze you!”
These are some of the things often said to anyone who has expressed interest in joining a fraternity or sorority. Many people are quick to dismiss the idea of joining a Greek organization, but those people are also the ones that are unaware of the dedication, discipline and sacrifice it takes to actually go through the full process of becoming an active member of a fraternity or sorority.
The objective of this piece is not to debunk any previously held notions that Greek organizations engage in drinking or push members to some sort of a limit. Rather, this piece is meant to engage the student body to look at Greek organizations in a different light.
Just as any process in one’s life, one may be forced to pass through obstacles and hardships to get things that he or she really wants. If one wants a fancy job, one must buy a suit, style his or her hair, dazzle his or her potential employers with charisma and figure out if the company fits. Some companies even require tests to determine if one is knowledgeable enough for the position.
Now think about it with regards to Greek life. It’s difficult and almost unfathomable to relate the two examples. But that’s only if you really have no idea what it takes to become an active member of any Greek organization on campus.
A Greek organization is like any other business, but in this business, you are offering community. Personally, as someone who is actively attempting to join a fraternity, I know the sacrifice and commitment that it takes to be in a fraternity. The obstacles my pledge brothers and I go through to have the chance to become an active member is demanding. I must remember the history of my organization, personally get to know all active members, complete tasks in orderly times and generate money for my pledge class. It is a four-unit class in itself.
So when one says, “You are only buying your friends,” it is not true. Knowing what you now know, does it seem as easy as just buying your friends? Yes, you are bearing a financial burden, but that is for the continuation of the organization you are investing your time in. In any organization you join, there is a give and take aspect ” whether it involves finance or just effort.
With regards to the more serious aspects of the typical connotation of Greek life, there is the idea of hazing at its core. Defined as “any intentional action taken to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment or harassment on another person”, one cannot ignore the fact that hazing has happened and continues to happen on various campuses.
But fraternities and sororities are not the only ones that perform this act. Sports teams, military units and other social groups are among a long list of groups that are involved in this type of ritualistic behavior. Yet, fraternities and sororities are the main ones with the spotlight on them.
There are things fraternities and sororities must work on like any other organization. Nothing is perfect, but the teachings they instill and what they stand for are what one must look at before passing judgment on the idea of being in a fraternity.
This does not in any way undo the harm that Greek organizations have caused in the past, and it has certainly made organizations create stricter standards to make sure the dignities of all members are not infringed.
But Greek organizations must not be judged on the bad apples that may get initiated or the bad calls that people make within the organization. Rather, the element of brotherhood and sisterhood that each have in their own organization is what people should strive to obtain. When you strip the organization piece by piece, you begin to see the essence of what brings each and every one of them together.
Personally, I have seen the process to join a fraternity and the way such a group conducts itself. Each member holds each other accountable for his or her actions and is much more different than anyone can describe. What I can tell you is that every ritual and lesson teaches you something different about yourself, those around you and about how you want to conduct yourself as a responsible adult filled with integrity and confidence. I have seen firsthand the changes it has made in my pledge class and the values it has instilled in them.
But at the end of the day, it is just something you must experience for yourself. And even though my opinion cannot singlehandedly change the connotation that tends to stick with Greek life, I urge those of you that are open-minded and curious to see for yourself to make a judgment after you familiarize yourself with some of their standards and expectations, not before.
Monica Lopez / The Poly Post
Greek organizations shouldn’t get bad rap
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