What do you think about when the word college comes to mind? For many, Greek-life stands out the most for incoming college freshmen. While films have shown various forms of a clichéd college experiences, the reality of Greek-life is far from perfect.
More recently, Greek-life has been a concerning issue for many schools, parents, and students alike. While an organization could be perceived as fun and say all the right things, they may also show a slight flaw in some aspects of what they are truly about.
Recent news media have been circling the negative perceptions and observations all over the country. One organization, in New York City, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter due to a hazing ritual. The entire national organization was recently sentenced to 10 years’ probation and was fined $112.5 K. Prior to the national organization probation sentencing, the young men involved in the hazing incident were separately charged based on their involvement in hazing. For more information on the incident, go to https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/fraternity-fined-sentenced-probation-2013-baruch-college-hazing-death-n835731.
Not only did this occur with one organization, but a California university was forced to suspend a fraternity that was caught hazing because of the death of a student that was hoping to be a part of their brotherhood.
“Hazing, especially at St. John’s, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. If an organization/person is caught harming another student, the organization will be suspended from the campus and will not be able to partake in any Greek events or be recognized,” says Jody Cox, one of SJU’s Greek advisor.
According to the University of Dayton, the 55 percent of students that join any club/organization have experienced hazing in some way or form. Many hazing practices include alcohol consumption, humiliation, sleep deprivation, isolation, and sexual acts. 95 percent of students that have experienced hazing are either too afraid to talk to someone about the experience because of the consequences or they do not consider themselves to have been hazed. For more statistics on hazing, check out https://udayton.edu/studev/leadership/involvement/student-life/hazing/statistics.php.
While some incoming high school students come to college refusing to join Greek-life because of the negative media, current members share their testimonial of what piqued their interest.
“Before joining my sorority, I was conflicted by the two organizations that were constantly pressuring me to come out to their events,” says Christine Chen, a St. John’s University student, “but when it was time to choose the organization I wanted to be a part of, I decided on the sorority with the most sisterhood.” Christine Chen decided to be inducted into the Kappa Phi Lambda sorority because of what they stood for: sisterhood, service, and cultural diversity.
“I was already a brother of my fraternity when I met a couple of girls interested in creating a sorority different from all the others that were already on campus,” said Lambert Torres, founder of the Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. “The girls included me in on their journey to creating a sorority based on more than looks and more focused on the idea of a real sisterhood.”
For many students, on the SJU campus, Greek-life has been a fun and memorable experience that they would never regret doing. “Coming into college, I did not know anyone and was too shy to try to make friends in my classes. It was very nerve-wracking until a sister of the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority came up to me and began a conversation,” says Amanda Smith, SJU student. “Once I was introduced to the rest of her organization, I saw how welcoming and genuine each girl was. Joining the sorority allowed me to gain sisters for life and definitely opened multiple doors toward my career.”
Greek-life is not all about wet t-shirt carwashes, continuously being intoxicated throughout the week, or hooking up with the hottest person. Generally, most organizations thrive on the brotherhood/sisterhood that their organization was built upon. Aside from the negative media about some organizations hazing, Greek-life has given beneficial aspects as well. Not only are you joining for the title of being in Greek-life, but you are choosing to step out of your comfort zone and experience a siblinghood that you actually get to choose.