Why choose to be Greek?
By Caresa Alexander
December 12, 2008 | To some, being part of a fraternity
or sorority means having a home away from home. That
includes the ups and downs.
Many have an expectation that belonging to a fraternity
or sorority will be like National Lampoon's Animal
House. That is not entirely true. While having
fun, students can find and feel a part of a brotherhood
Gideon Oakes never thought about becoming a member
of a fraternity until his friend invited him. Oakes,
an advertising representative for The Utah Statesman,
had a stereotypical image of "frat boys" and
thought they were "lazy, good-for-nothing drinkers
and partyers." But once he became involved he realized
it was much more than just parties and felt a connection
to everyone. Oakes said belonging to Pi Kappa Alpha
has helped him develop leadership skills.
"Fraternities recruit good men and help build
strong leaders," said Oakes. The same can be said
about women and sororities.
Lindsey Wise of Wyoming also became a Greek. She joined
a sorority while at the University of Idaho because
she was new to the school and because family members
suggested it would "enhance her college experience."
During Rush week Wise said it was a lot of fun. Being
asked back to a sorority was exciting since some girls
were not invited back. There were a lot of parties and
activities with the fraternities. Besides the parties,
the members also provided service. Wise noted some functions
included highway clean up and collecting used eye glasses
for people who couldn't afford them.
The organizations at Utah State also provide opportunities
to serve the local community. Activities include working
with the Women's Center of Logan and CAPSA to raise
awareness against domestic violence, sponsoring an annual
Halloween Carnival, raising money for Habitat for Humanity
and helping with highway cleanup. Oakes said Pi Kappa
Alpha raised money for Operation Smile this year. Operation
Smile is a worldwide organization that treats children
and young adults born with cleft-lips, cleft palates
and other facial deformities. The money donated by Pi
Kappa Alpha helped pay for two operations.
There are pros and cons to joining a fraternity or
sorority though. In October 2002, Mari Ann Callais the
director of student organizations and Greek life at
Southern Louisiana University spoke to USU students.
According to USU archives, Callais said issues such
as alcohol and hazing have brought Greek life under
fire. USU is no exception. Although he has never witness
a hazing incident, Oakes said he has heard rumors. "It
is no secret the Greeks is a safe harbor for alcohol,
a refuge where people can drink," he said. It was
this type of behavior that led Wise to leave her sorority
after the first year.
"It was a good experience being able to get involved
in my school, but other than that it just wasn't for
me personally. It was too much of the stereo-typical
sorority scene you see on TV," said Wise.
USU's Code of Policies and Procedures state hazing
is prohibited in any form and alcoholic beverages on
campus or at any off-campus university function is subject
to disciplinary action. The Student Wellness Center
of USU conducts a survey every two years as part of
a drug and alcohol program. According to the Web site,
of the students surveyed, 75 percent think drinking
is a main part of the social life of fraternities and
57% of the people surveyed think drinking is a main
part of the social life of sororities.