Kayleigh Schmidt is a student at South Dakota State University. She is a journalism major with an emphasis in broadcast and a sociology minor. She’s involved in Alpha Xi Delta Women’s Fraternity. She hopes to become an anchor on Fox Sports North or CNN. Kayleigh has been figure skating for over 18 years and loves the sport of hockey.
It’s your first year in college and you’re completely overwhelmed with all the activities on campus. There are so many clubs involved with your major plus other ones that peak your interest. As you’re walking through the main union of your campus, you see all these different groups with Greek letters on their posters and shirts. Maybe one of the members comes up to you and asks you to rush their fraternity or sorority, but what will you get out of it?
There are many reasons to join Greek life and I hope I can give you insight on this friendly community.
1. Who doesn’t love raising money for charity?
Each fraternity and sorority has different causes they raise money for which is called their philanthropy. Some examples are Autism Speaks, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and Make-A-Wish Foundation. Having the opportunity to work with big charity organizations and make a difference is an indescribable feeling.
2. It’s a home away from home.
For some students, they can’t go home every weekend. The ability to have 50+ brothers or sisters to lean on when there is a personal struggle or victory is incredibly helpful. I came to my school without knowing anyone besides my cousin, but I’ll leave knowing well over 100 people.
3. Greek life is popular with many well-known leaders and celebrities.
Harrison Ford and Bob Barker were in Sigma Nu. Matthew McConaughey was in Delta Tau Delta. George W. Bush was in Delta Kappa Epsilon. Jennifer Garner was in Pi Beta Phi. Carrie Underwood was in Sigma Sigma Sigma. Betsey Johnson was in Alpha Xi Delta. As you can tell, I could make this list 10x longer! Being involved in Greek life can get you amazing connections and even a one-up when interviewing for a job!
But, there are also some issues that chapters have seen throughout the years.
1. There is a huge time commitment.
With any other club, Greek life demands a lot of time. Usually, there are meetings every week, philanthropy events, brother/sisterhoods, socials with other chapters on campus, and other events to attend to support the Greek life at your school. A planner is KEY to keeping priorities straight with school and extracurricular activities and makes anything possible. Don’t let the amount of events become overwhelming.
2. Financial responsibility
Joining Greek life definitely involves more money than most clubs. The dues for each chapter vary from campus to campus, but talking to your financial chair can help you figure out a payment plan. What about the many t-shirts that are available to buy? You don’t need them all so make sure you keep track of those and don’t get ones you don’t really think you’ll wear.
When someone mentions a sorority or fraternity, there is always the typical stereotype that everyone associates with it: they’re those people who party 24/7 and haze the new members. Wrong. In college, anyone can throw a party – not just a fraternity. All sorts of people can attend these parties and not all members of Greek life participate. There are statistics that show that members in fraternities and sororities have higher GPAs. Hazing is also illegal and is frowned upon everywhere. Don’t base your opinion off of movies and TV shows.
Greek life may not be the ideal club for you to do, but brushing it off at first glance isn’t how you find out. You can go through rush without committing to a certain chapter. No one is going to judge you if you go through the first few days and decide it’s not for you. All I recommend is to look through what your college has to offer and find a club (or two!) that fits you.