By Swapna Vettiyil
From hazing to racism, Greek life is no stranger to headlines. The media often portray an undesirable perception of Greek culture.
For example, through popular movies such as “Neighbors” and “Legally Blonde” and also through news networks, negative scandals about Greek Life are highlighted, thus perpetuating preconceived stereotypes about the Greek community. When you search the Internet for Greek life, stories of hazing and excessive partying will pop up, while stories of high grades, philanthropic work and the opportunities they provide after college do not.
There are many individuals from Greek organizations who have benefited from their community. According to USA Today College, “college graduation rates are 20 percent higher among Greeks.”
Movies depict those involved in Greek life as party animals who neglect their schoolwork and suffer after college because of it. However, according to USA Today, “Eighty-five percent of Fortune 500 executives, the first female astronaut, the first female senator and every president and vice president since 1825 except two in each office have been involved in a Greek organization.”
The media continuously report on problems associated with Greek organizations without recognizing the benefits of joining a Greek organization during college. MSNBC wrote an article about the Sigma Chi Fraternity suspension at the University of Houston after allegations surfaced that the fraternity was involved in a hazing scandal. However, this article neglected to mention that, according to their website, Sigma Chi as a national fraternity raised over $1.1 million in 2015.
As the famous character Elle Woods states in “Legally Blonde,” “first impressions are not always correct.” It is a common misconception that Greeks have low GPAs and do not do well in or after their college career.
The Bloomberg View stated in an editorial that “the anti-intellectualism that dominates so much of fraternity life — the frat-boy culture of spring-break lore and ‘Animal House’ — also takes a toll on its members’ academic performance.”
However, that is not the case. According to Business Insider, which cited a study by Harvard University and Syracuse University, professors found that joining a sorority or fraternity “had a dramatically positive effect on persistence to graduation.” Sororities and fraternities have minimum GPA requirements to ensure students’ academic success. Maintaining his or her GPA ensures student participation in sorority and fraternity events, serving as an incentive program for students to do well. Greek students with shared majors are also available for study groups.
Joining Greek life is not about leaving with skills such as winning a beer pong championship, but instead Greek life leaves individuals with a strong alumni network throughout the world. After joining a Greek organization, a person is immediately connected to thousands of individuals. Many students are able to reach out to their alumni or current members for jobs, internships and other beneficial opportunities. Most companies search for employees they know they can trust and the recommendation from a current employer can go a long way.
Greeks are not only concerned with bettering themselves, but also with giving back to the community. Most sororities and fraternities partner with a philanthropic organization and donate their time to and raise money for that organization. These efforts do not make headlines nor are they incorporated in Greek-themed Hollywood movies.
Greek organizations have gained a bad reputation in the media over the years with no mention of their contributions to society. Not only do members raise incredible amounts of money for philanthropies and charities nationwide, they also groom the next generation of candidates to run the top businesses and positions nationwide. Greek organizations are not the big, bad wolves of college life, but rather a tool for college students to utilize.
Robert Diep / The Poly Post
Greek life and the media
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