From the outside looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it. As an alumni member of the Epsilon Iota chapter of Delta Zeta sorority here at Fairmont State University, I’ve come face to face with the many misconceptions and realities that surround Greek life. There are many people who assume they know everything they need to know about Greek life because they have seen in movies and on television shows. Some of the assumptions people make when they think of Greek life is that members of fraternities and sororities pay for friends, are hazed to become initiated, and spend all of their time partying and drinking. People also believe that Greek life is not conductive to social and spiritual development, being a member interferes with academic performance, and that fraternities or sororities do not benefit their surrounding communities.
My mother was the first person to question my decision on becoming a member of Greek life. She assumed that I was going to be hazed, that there would be a large amount of partying, and she asked me why I wanted to pay for friends. Hazing is the most publicly feared concept that is associated with Greek life today. However, hazing is not limited to Greek life and in fact; any organization can haze their members. While hazing can be extremely dangerous and in some cases lead to death it is highly frowned upon. Greek organizations nationwide and international are working hard to eliminate hazing from the Greek culture entirely. They do so with a strict enforcement of anti-hazing policies as well as informing every member of the rules and laws against hazing and the repercussions of hazing.
The second thing my mother was concerned about was that I would be partying rather than focusing on my school work. Greek organizations do host many events, programs, and meetings, but there are scheduled around the member’s other engagements as much as possible. Also, members are not required to attend any event that may interfere or conflict with academic requirements. One of the first things members learn is that their education comes first and foremost. Many, if not all, Greek organizations have a minimum GPA requirement in order to be in good standing. Some fraternities and sororities hold weekly study hall sessions to ensure that members are getting the assistance they need and are performing well in their classes.
Though my mother was the first to ask me, many still ask me to do why I joined a sorority because it was merely “paying for friends.” While it does cost money to become a part of a Greek organization, many people fail to realize that there is a price to be a part of any organization. Most organizations do continuous fundraising throughout the year to pay for their dues so that members may not have to come out of pocket at all. One of the many fundraisers Delta Zeta does is Turtle Trot, an annual 5k Walk/Run. For this fundraiser, the sorority does research to find a...