Opinion: 16 poor representations of Greek life

Ryan Sampson

Ryan Sampson

Ryan Sampson is a senior architecture major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

First, let me say that I have nothing against Greek life. The friends I have within the Greek community are wonderful, talented, caring and intelligent people, and as a member of a professional fraternity, I wear my letters with pride, but recently a picture surfaced on Facebook that I was surprised to see so many people excited about. It’s called “16 Reasons Fraternities and Sororities are Relevant,” and as a whole, I think it is a poor representation of the system.

Relevance is defined as “bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand; pertinent,” and this image isn’t off to a good start. If this is something you’re truly passionate about, why not say here are 16 reasons why fraternities and sororities are important, or necessary? But here, it’s just relevant — to what?

The image lists reason No. 6 as “alcohol consumption among fraternity and sorority members has decreased.” How does this make them relevant? This could be considered a positive aspect of a current fraternity or sorority, but it’s not a reason why the Greek community is important to a university.

Other numbers, such as nine, should be reconsidered as well. It says, “to prevent rape, more and more fraternity men are participating in male-focused programs such as The Men’s Program.” This statement makes it sound like you have to train Greek men to not rape. I think rape education and being able to respect another’s wishes is incredibly important, but this is not a reason to get excited about going Greek.

No. 13 is incredibly frustrating to me. It says that “members of fraternities and sororities report making greater gains in personal development during college.” Who is to say that this self-reported statistic is anything close to relevant? No one can judge whether his or her time in college was more fulfilling than someone else’s. I could say the same thing about studying abroad or many of the experiences that I have had, including teaching or working on campus.

Finally, No. 15 is complete crap. I’m sorry if this offends you, but fraternities and sororities do not necessarily create a home on campus for students who wouldn’t otherwise be accepted. Yes, you might meet people and have different experiences than you would have otherwise, but Greek life is exclusive. We give bids, and there is judgment and rejection. It cannot be said that everyone interested is welcomed with open arms. They do create homes for some, but surely not for everyone who is looking for acceptance.

About half of the reasons listed are great reasons why going Greek can be a positive experience for those who join. The focus on philanthropy, service and brotherhood or sisterhood is echoed throughout the community as being the pillars of the system. But if you’re going to be proud of being Greek, as so many members are, speak with passion and strive to be considered as so much more than relevant.