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Oregon’s fraternity, sorority life grades defy widespread stereotypes



The common perception is that undergraduates like to party.@@really? come on, matt! tell me it ain’t [email protected]@ And many see undergraduates who are a part of Fraternity and Sorority Life as leaders of the party brigade.

Common thought also suggests that if one parties, academic success will falter.@@i don’t think this, [email protected]@

Whether all of these premises are true, the conclusion is widely accepted and implemented as a formed fact in the minds of many.@@oh [email protected]@

But for the third-straight term — a full academic year — the fraternity and sorority community as a whole notched a higher grade point average than the combined GPA of all undergraduates.@@proportionally and in relation to various class ranks? what are their majors, [email protected]@

“We hate the stereotype that Greeks just party their way through college, which is mostly a national image,” said Jelle Barkema,@@http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&[email protected]@ Interfraternity Council vice president of intellectual advancement. “We, as Greeks, are actually performing better than the average student in grades.”@@political science, matt? really? football players do [email protected]@

In the fall of 2011, Greeks achieved a 3.09 GPA, while the all-undergrad average was a 3.05.

Last spring, Greeks got a 3.10 against a 3.04 of the undergrads, and the term before that the score was 3.06 to 3.03.

“It is the ‘Work hard, play hard’ mentality,” Barkema said. “We want to have fun, but we have to work hard, and our grades are showing that we do.”@@i feel [email protected]@

For the seventh-straight term, Delta Tau Delta placed first among fraternities, with 3.33 being the highest achieved during the fraternity’s reign as top scholars.

“Intellectually, they are the smartest house, and the way they maintain that is through recruitment and high standards,” Barkema said.

In seven of the 13 fraternities that had pledge classes in the fall, new members had higher GPAs than active members.@@cause/[email protected]@ Whether that’s chalked up to easier coursework or harder work ethic is debatable, but Barkema thinks fraternities are adding more school-oriented members to their ranks.

“Rush is the most important part of scholarship,” he said. “You need enough guys so when you cut guys without the good grades, you still have a solid group.”@@what is your gpa, [email protected]@

Within the fraternity community, a big deal is made of how each fraternity stacks up against each other, denoted by the fraternity’s ranking number.

“We always want to outperform the other fraternities,” said Rob Jewett,@@http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&[email protected]@ president of Sigma Pi fraternity. “It is a friendly competition that shows how hard we are all working.”

The biggest drop-offs in fraternity ranks between spring and fall quarter belong to Sigma Phi Epsilon, which slid seven spots from number two, and Delta Sigma Phi, which dropped from fourth to eleventh.

But the drop from high to low was small as far as GPAs go, with Sigma Phi Epsilon slowing from a 3.07 to a 3.01, and Delta Sigma Phi dipping from a 3.04 to a 2.98.

This illustrates just how competitive and close fraternities are in grades. The average for all fraternities was a 3.01 in the fall. After removing the largest outlier — Delta Tau Delta with the highest grades at 3.33 and Phi Delta Theta lowest with a 2.54 — and re-calculating the fraternity average, it still stands at a 3.01.@@this stress on the gpa numbers really makes me wonder…@@

Thirteen sororities were recognized in the fall of 2011. Nine of those 13 are home to at least 130 women. Last term, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated took the top spot with a 3.43 average.

Among sororities with over 130 members, Pi Beta Phi placed first in GPA for the fifth-straight term.

“We encourage our members to remember that we are here for school first,” Pi Beta Phi President Lauren Bruhn said.@@http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&[email protected]@ “While being in a chapter is super fun, school is the most important thing.”

Out of both fraternities and sororities, Delta Tau Delta Fraternity was the leader in grades, but as a whole, sorority women fared better than fraternity men, notching a 3.14 compared to the fraternities’ 3.01.

In fact, no sorority aside from Gamma Alpha Omega, whose membership is only five, scored below a 3.0 average.@@that makes a [email protected]@

The Greek system has in place grade regulations that keep organizations that fall short of the set marks accountable.

A chapter as a whole must meet one of the following criteria to stay in good standing with the University: Earn a 3.0 GPA, earn GPA above the all male/female average or show improvement from the same term the prior year.

If a chapter does not meet any of these, the chapter is placed on probation, which could lead to eventual disaffiliation with the University.

Additionally, many fraternities and sororities have benchmarks of their own with varying punishments and extra responsibilities if a member fails to meet a certain GPA.

“Again, we are trying to break a stereotype that being in a fraternity or sorority is against grades,” Barkema said.@@i thought it was the party hardy [email protected]@

Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Sigma Mu Omega took first place in grades Fall of 2011. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated took first with a 3.43 average. Sigma Mu Omega took second with a 3.33. The Emerald regrets the error.


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