Fraternities have been a part of American society since the late 1770’s. It is something that has continued to be a tradition in colleges and universities today. Sororities, as well as fraternities, are an integral part of the college experience. However, these organizations face stereotypes and negative associations all the time in movies and popular culture. Some of these stereotypes are due to past traditions of hazing. Despite these traditions, Greek Life has established itself to be a beneficial experience for its members and the communities that they are located in.
The first Greek organization, a fraternity, was formed from a philosophical society in 1776 at the College of William and Mary (“Student Organizations at Sac State”). The organization developed the Greek letters to mask the organization’s purpose when restrictions on student organizations were very high and the organization became known as Phi Beta Kappa. When the organization was being established the members created an initiation process, handshakes, and oaths, traditions that have been passed down to most organizations today. Chapters of this particular organization spread to other universities and began the expansion of Greek life as a whole.
Sororities and fraternities developed under the traditions of brother/sisterhood. Unfortunately, as these organizations were forming, the tradition of hazing developed as well. Hazing is defined as, “…any action or situation, with or without the consent of the participants, which recklessly, intentionally, or unintentionally endangers the mental, physical, or academic health or safety of a student.” (“Hazing Awareness and Education”). Hazing became a part of early initiation processes as a way for new members to prove their loyalty and dedication to the organization. More recently, hazing accidents usually related to binge drinking make headlines and create a negative image for all Greek organizations. Most, if not all universities and colleges have condemned the practice of hazing and many have implemented a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ on the matter. Hosting schools also provide support and resources to those who may be affected by hazing including anonymous tip lines and counseling. These negative associations hurt the Greek community as a whole and those organizations who do not practice any form of hazing. Many organizations have made their entire initiation process public knowledge in order to protect new members from hazing.
Despite these problems with hazing, Greek organizations still grown in number and thrive. This success is due to the positive experience that most Greek organizations have to offer. Many organization emphasize leadership, intellectual development, community service, and social relationships within their organizations as well as the Greek community overall (“Benefits of Greek Life”). Many Greek organizations operate with an Executive board, or E-Board, offering leadership positions to many of its members....