Whitney Martin is a junior at Radford University studying music business with a focus on vocal performance and a minor in marketing. She hopes to one day work in marketing for record labels, as well as do event coordinating for music festivals. This past summer she was a volunteer coordinating extern at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennesee. Her interests include cooking, hiking, camping and spending time with friends.
At most universities, there is some amount of Greek life present on campus. When I started my undergraduate degree at Radford University, at first I was overwhelmed by just how big of a presence Greek Life. Growing up I had always thought of fraternities and sororities in the stereotypical way they are portrayed in movies and on television, which is usually how most people who have never met someone who was in a Greek organization tend to feel. Naturally I felt as though, if I didn’t look a certain way or act a certain way that there was no organization I would fit in to, and I was wrong.
Going into college, having a perceived way of thinking about Greek Life deterred me from looking into organizations at all. What I didn’t realize was that there are different forms of Greek organizations than just the types that are stereotyped on television.
The sororities and fraternities that are often wrongly portrayed in media are called social organizations. Social fraternities and sororities are typically organizations in which the people in these organizations bond on a social level; through things like mixers with other organizations and activities or service with their own members.
There are ethnic and cultural organizations that focus on bringing people with similar backgrounds together in order to socialize and benefit the community surrounding them. There can also be religious organizations to bring people with similar beliefs together.
Honors organizations exist in order to bring students with high academic achievements and goals together; these can also be specific to a certain major or discipline. There are also professional organizations in which students who are on similar paths come together in order to work on projects and bond over the things they are experiencing in their field of study.
These broad varieties of Greek organizations were not something I was familiar with coming into college. Being a music business major, I am required to go to a set amount of concerts per semester, so one evening I went to a concert for the co-ed professional music fraternity, Mu Phi Epsilon. It had never occurred to me that people that shared a love for music could share that bond in a fraternity setting. Over the next semester, I started to find myself considering pledging Mu Phi Epsilon. I began to create friendships with the members and eventually pledged the following fall.
Since becoming a member, I have grown as a student and as a person. I’ve learned how to be a more professional person in music and just in life in general. Mu Phi Epsilon has also shown me that fraternities and sororities really do give you a group of people to call family.
Greek life may not be for everyone but I would encourage every college student to at least look into the organizations at their school. College can be scary and lonely at times, finding any kind of organization that you feel comfortable in, whether it be a Greek organization or just a club you find interesting, can ease those feelings.
The prospect of Greek life can seem daunting, if you look at it based off of the stereotypes in various types of media. Whether you realize it or not, if Greek life is something you are interested in or even curious about, there is a fraternity or sorority out there for you.