Yang: Greek life more about partying than community work

Fraternities have been around as early as 1776 at the college of William and Mary, one of the oldest universities in America. The goal of the first organization Phi Beta Kappa was to create a close-knit community with students seeking to uplift the ideals of the group, while maintaining lifelong connections through the fellowship of brothers. 94 years later, college students decided to create a sorority group based on the same moral standards of meeting high expectations and building on the idea that respect needed to be earned.

The purpose and focus of what it means to be a part of a prestigious society seems to have decreased in working towards strong principles, and increased in alcohol and drug abuse. That is not to say that frats and sororities have lost their roots and duty to tradition. The Greek life at the University of Oregon has, for the most part, contributed greatly to making our students feel more connected on campus. The ongoing tradition has encouraged students to leave their comfort zones, and find an interest to take on within the Greek society.

When asking a current Kappa Delta member about how joining a sorority has benefitted her, she was eager to claim that being a part of the Greek community has given her a lot of “networking and friendships, and [that it is] worth every penny.”

Nevertheless, the negative stigma and stereotypes that have surrounded our Greek life have led most of us to question whether joining a frat or sorority uplifts the reputation of our school’s morals. A handful of fraternities have been associated with being involved in sexual misconduct during party outings. Reports have been made by well-respected universities, namely Northwestern University and Tufts University, that have claimed to be investigating cases surrounding the use of drugs to lure partygoers. The ongoing investigations have resulted in multiple sexual assault cases surrounding the fraternity houses. Numberless cases similar to these instances are not only knocking down the reputation of Greek life, but also making it easier for drugs and alcohol to be an excuse used at frat parties to misinterpret sexual assault.

Even at our own institution, Greek houses have been known to “earn social status by drinking themselves into a stupor,” as accounted by a report made by the Register Guard. Although this sort of recognition does not come off as hazing per say, out of control underage drinking in return for acceptance seems to clash with the belief of what Greek life is meant to represent. As many as seven out of the twenty total fraternities are currently under investigation after several violations of code. Unfortunately, hazing is still prevalent in our fraternities and sororities, and despite the fact that some reports are made about these issues, there are sure to be countless instances that have not been reported.

Additionally, according to a sorority member in Kappa Delta, “taking a role in Greek life means being aware of the time commitment.” Signing an agreement to be a sister in any sorority means signing away your time and efforts. A majority of time outside of the classroom will be spent attending chapters and meetings or event volunteering for the upkeep of the house’s reputation.

Although the Greek community may sound like a great way to interact and bond with a vast amount of students on campus, there are still a few opposing perspectives to consider when deciding on whether Greek life is for you. Even before deciding to get involved, the fee to pay in order to be considered as a candidate for a frat or sorority comes at a large price. On average, joining a frat or sorority will cost as much as one-thousand dollars per semester. Greek life has changed in a way that it now puts more emphasis on materials and throwing ragers, rather than focusing on customs that the society was originally founded on.

A lot has changed since the initial launch of the first Greek society. What was once a club that initiated change and encouraged debates on controversial issues has dramatically revolutionized itself into a clique-type environment where parties are highly stressed and debates on current events are pushed under the rug. Greek life has evolved into communities that have shifted their focus towards throwing parties and attending events. In an effort to gain recognition, fraternities and sororities have long strayed from being a community where students gathered to debate and discuss issues involving the community around them.


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Esther Yang

Esther Yang