Yesterday, BU Today posted an article about Greek life on campus that upset many members of fraternities and sororities. The article as well as the youspeak video showed a clear bias against Greek life at BU, and honestly it seemed as though the producers of the video and article didn’t even attempt to get an accurate description of Greek Organizations. As a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority here at BU, I feel that I have an obligation to use this outlet in order to clear up all of the confusion about Greek life.
Many people associate Greek life with the movie “Animal House” (which is actually how the youspeak video begins). People tend to assume that members of Greek organizations don’t care about school, but rather they waste their collegiate life drinking and partying. Other critiques of Greek life claim that members simply “pay for their friends.” I didn’t join a sorority because I needed friends. The point of having recruitment in the spring is to give girls the ability to establish themselves on campus, and then take some time to make a decision whether or not to join a sorority. I joined because I didn’t feel connected to BU in any way. I had a lot of trouble finding activities that I genuinely enjoyed on campus because BU doesn’t exactly make it easy for freshmen to settle in and find ways to get involved. Although Splash promotes virtually every group on campus, I wouldn’t exactly call throwing the entire freshman class onto Nickerson and bombarding them with every club on campus a smooth, warm transition into college life. Joining Gamma Phi Beta is what stopped me from transferring out of BU my freshman year. The friends I have met through Gamma Phi Beta and Greek life as a whole are men and women who I respect and have extremely strong connections with. Just because dues are associated with being a member of a Greek organization does not mean that I am paying for these friendships.
The BU Today article focuses on the differences in involvement between fraternities and sororities, claiming that fraternities do almost nothing in order to positively impact campus, and states, “while sororities are ‘bursting at the seams,’ fraternities are having a harder time filling their ranks.” This statement seems a little bit strange to me considering that the brothers of Sigma Chi raised $23,000 last week for the Huntsman Cancer Institute during their annual Derby Days philanthropy event. While the article mainly discusses how fraternities appear to have problems connecting with male students past the level of partying, it also advertises for the new fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon. SigEp is not the only fraternity that promotes something like the Balanced Man Program (promoting a sound mind and a sound body). Each fraternity in their own way promotes a development of character as well as strong personal connections.
In addition to Sigma Chi’s Derby Days, every fraternity and sorority on campus has multiple philanthropy events throughout the academic year. This year alone, Kappa Delta raised $10,000 for Girl Scouts of the USA, Gamma Phi Beta raised $3,500 for Campfire USA, Pi Kappa Alpha raised $8,700 for the Children’s Glaucoma Foundation, and Alpha Phi raised $7,000 for the American Heart Association. Those are just to name a few.
If Greek life can so easily raise thousands of dollars for various organizations, why is BU having so many issues getting 2,011 seniors to donate ONE DOLLAR back to the university? The Class Gift Campaign has clearly become aware of this disconnect because they tweeted about it…
Friends of mine outside of Greek life have also become increasingly aware of Greek involvement on campus. They say that BU isn’t the kind of school for Greek life in comparison to a big state school. At a larger state school, your fraternity or sorority takes over your life. My friend who is in a sorority at the University of Texas has told me that no matter how much she tries to get involved outside of Greek life, her sorority continues to dominate her college experience. Here at BU, joining a sorority or fraternity is anything but limiting and actually provides a number of opportunities. There are countless people in Greek life who also participate in programs with the Community Service Center, Programming Council, Howard Thurman Center, BU Student Government, PRSSA, and club and intramural sports.
And sure, there is a small percentage of people in Greek life that upholds the stereotype of only caring about partying. But I have also met countless students outside of Greek life who are just as careless, if not more. So next time you meet someone in Greek life at BU, don’t judge them. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and see all of the good they have to offer.
BU is a large school with a very diverse community, and to stereotype Greek life in the way that the BU Today article and video have done is extremely offensive to Greeks on campus. Because students and faculty constantly judge Greek life and make incorrect assumptions about it, Fraternities and Sororities have to incessantly vocalize the validity of their organizations. In reality, Greek life does no harm to campus life, but instead it provides a smaller community where students can enhance their college experiences. Greek life allows students to meet people they would have never met otherwise, to find opportunities whether related to work or other school activities, and to give back to the community. Sounds like a pretty well-rounded, valuable organization to me.
About the Author (Author Profile)Alexa is majoring in Art History with a minor in French. Coming from Atlanta, GA, she has developed an affection for peaches, peanuts, and the occasional banjo tune. Alexa also enjoys the color blue, crisp air during the wintertime, French film, celebrity gossip, and blackberry picking.
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