More to Greek life than drinking and hazing
I don’t buy my friends. Although some might say that,because I am in a sorority, I pay to hang out with a certain groupof girls, I would tend not to agree. Stereotypes exist about theGreek system, and the power of money to purchase the friendship ofan elitist group is certainly one of them.
Granted, joining a sorority or fraternity is a commitment thattakes a great deal of time and money, a turnoff in itself to peoplewho don’t think they can afford it or have the time for itamong school, work, and family commitments. The process by whichindividuals pledge and initiate is different for each group, andallegations of hazing definitely exist among students who areunfamiliar with the system of sanctions against groups that forcetheir new members to participate in risky behavior. Ill-conceivedstereotypes of a hung-over, burnt-out guy stumbling home from aparty in the morning, or of a tipsy girl who can’t walk astraight line are often associated with Greek life in the minds ofpeople who don’t understand what brotherhood and sisterhoodis truly about.
So what is it about, if it’s not about drinking, hazing,or buying friends?
Having been in a sorority for a little over a semester–and also having been familiar with the Greek system for a long timebefore that– I feel experienced enough to say that thesisterhood and brotherhood which seem so elusive to people outsidethe Greek system is truly amazing. Not only do I automatically haveat least forty girls from my sorority whom I could call on at anytime of day or night for any reason, I have a great deal more localalumni, as well as countless friends in other sororities andfraternities that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Despitebeing competitive in such things as intramurals, community service,and grades, the bonds between groups are as strong as the bondswithin them.
However, I know that I would be free to be friends with thesepeople even if I were not Greek. So why should I pay all this moneyif I could do this for free, attend the same parties, do the samephilanthropy events, and eat lunch in the SAC with the samepeople?
I don’t really have a problem with paying. Although thecosts do exist and sometimes they are substantial, I feel it isjustifiable because my dues are paying not only for my ownchapter’s events, but for the maintenance and perpetuation ofthe national headquarters. Hence, I am connecting myself to overone hundred thousand women worldwide that wear the same letters asI do and that hold the same ideals of our sorority.
Even better, anytime I meet anyone who was in a sorority orfraternity, the connection is there; even though we may weardifferent letters, we still understand mutual brotherhood andsisterhood, because that exists among everyone in any Greekorganization. They understand what it means to be able to callsomeone in the middle of the night for help studying for an exam, aride home, or simply to say hi. And they understand that eventhough we pay to be members of our respective groups, our moneyisn’t buying friends. Because I know if I had bought myfriends, I would have wanted to pay a lot more for them. My sistersare worth a lot more to me than what I paid to be a member of oursorority.
Amamnda Lee Anderson is a senior double-majoring in Economicsand Political Science, and is a columnist for The LouisvilleCardinal. Email her at: email@example.com