Avoiding Risky Situations

As I was browsing my Newsfeed yesterday, I came across the sad story of a young woman just barely into her college and sorority career, who had passed away. Obviously, it is a tragedy for any young person to pass, yet it strikes a certain cord for me when they belonged to a Greek organization. It makes me stop and think, “what if that happened in my chapter?” Browsing the web you can find story after story about injuries and deaths as a result of hazing, drinking, or simply negligence. The consequences can be a chilling thought that no one ever wants to consider, however, situations like this also reiterate why Risk Management policies are absolutely VITAL to follow. Not only is it important to stand by those policies set forth by your chapters and national headquarters, but it is also important to be a good brother/sister and watch out for each other by simply using common sense.

Now, I consider myself to be somewhat cautious….okay, probably OVERLY cautious person. Yes, I sleep with mace by my bed, have wooden stakes wedged in each first floor window, and walk with keys between my knuckles at night- special thanks to my parents for instilling a strong sense of paranoia in me from a young age! So I thought with school starting it would be a good time to review some tips on how to stay safe and make sure your friends are safe as well.

-Never walk home alone, or let a friend walk home alone (especially at night and/or when you’ve been drinking)

-Always keep your cell phone with you when you go out. You may not think you need it because your friends are all with you (or because your outfit doesn’t have pockets!), but things happen and you may get separated or need help.

-Check up on each other. If you notice your roommates or friends aren’t home (or wherever the should be) when you think they should be, don’t blow it off. It could be the paranoia kicking in, but where I live if someone isn’t accounted for by 8-9pm we are blowing up their phone!

-If you witness hazing or any other activity you think may be dangerous- SPEAK UP!
Never be a bystander, because if something does go wrong you will always regret not saying something. It may not make you the most popular, but if it saves someone’s life or well-being it is well worth it.

-Be aware of your surroundings. I remember as a kid my dad would constantly tell me “Walk like you have a purpose and be aware of your surroundings!” While I probably rolled my eyes most of the time, he is right. Walking like you have somewhere to be shows potential criminals that if you don’t show up, someone will notice quickly. Being aware of your surroundings will help you anticipate dangerous situations and act accordingly.

-If you want to go big- host a campus-wide self defense presentation. This would be a great way to meet new people and you may even get in a little recruiting!

-Be Smart! If something doesn’t feel right to you, don’t ignore your gut. Use common sense and think things through before you act.

Greek Chic-The Basics

Before I begin with this week’s edition of “Greek Chic,” I would like to congratulate all of the new members and chapters welcoming those new members! This is one of the most exciting times of the year for Greeks around the nation. This is the reason I thought it would be fitting to discuss those classic, staple items that every Greek should own.

First, the Letter Tee! This is typically one of the very first items new members purchase. These are a simple style but you add your own flare by choosing your Foreground Letters and Background Letters (over 250 to choose from!). This is one item you can NEVER go wrong with!

Second, the lavalier. These will always be one of the most popular Greek items because they are simply timeless. They are small enough to be tasteful, but large enough to represent your pride in membership. For the females, lavalieres tend to be a day-to-day piece that almost never comes off. While the guys may not wear them every day, they often keep them around for the Greek tradition of lavaliering their girlfriends (essentially a pre-proposal). These come in sterling silver, white gold and gold.

Next up, we have the Letter Hoodie. Similar to the letter tees, you can customize your letters on this classic item. These are perfect for those cold winter walks to class when you wake up 10 minutes before your class!

Our line hats are also one of our best sellers. They are perfect for everything from hot, sunny days to bad hair days! Each hat has an adjustable strap on the back so one size fits most. The line hats display your organization’s letters and allow you to customize the text between the bars.

Last, but certainly not least- the license plate frames. It may not always be appropriate to wear a letter tee or hoodie, but you can ALWAYS jazz up your car with your letters! These great metal frames come in your organization’s colors and feature both your letters and full name.

No matter what organization you belong to, what school you attend, or how new you are to the Greek system- these 5 products are sure essential to your Greek collection!

How to Balance this Semester

Now that most collegiate students have returned to school, the chaos will commence! You know as well as I do how much there can be to juggle in a semester. Last year, I had 22 credit hours each semester plus a part time job that I worked on the weekends, and I was in charge of planning the entire Installation Weekend for my chapter (which not only included Ritual ceremonies but also a banquet). In other words, I am no stranger to late nights, early mornings, and stress filled vent sessions with friends!

With so many responsibilities, it can often be difficult to find balance. After all, college should be a little fun too right?! So here is my advice on how to tackle that To-Do List and still have a little fun on the side!

Prioritize! Without fail, things will pop up unexpectedly and will alter the perfect schedule or plan you thought you had. When this occurs, make sure to ask yourself what is most important. One method I always used was to do things in the order they were due by. For instance, if I had multiple assignments I would first complete one that was due on Monday, then move on to Tuesday, so on and so forth. Another method I sometimes used was to estimate how long certain things would take me to accomplish, then take on the longer assignments first (this can help you avoid all-nighters and/or spending the weekend in the library!).

Be proactive/ don’t procrastinate! This is probably one of the most difficult things to do as a college student. There are so many distractions that it is easy to put things off until the last minute. However, by staying on top of your assignments and responsibilities, you can avoid being overwhelmed later on. Perhaps this week homework is slow so you put it off until next week, but what if next week your professors all decide they want to schedule their tests (because we all know how they like to have tests all in the same week!)? Taking care of things as soon as possible will help you do better work and prevent some unneeded stress. Not to mention, the more you accomplish during the week, the more fun you can have on the weekends!

Ask for help when you need it. If you don’t understand something, ask for help! I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t understand and spent hours staring at the page with no luck before I broke down and asked for help. Of course, this was only to find that the answer was fairly simple once explained and I had just wasted hours of my life. Asking for help will save you time but will also help your grades, so don’t be shy! Sometimes it may not be schoolwork that you need help with. If things start getting crazy and you don’t think you can accomplish a sorority/fraternity task or other responsibility, ask a sister/brother for help! That’s what they are there for- to be your support system.

Always bring something extra to do. How many times have you arrived at class only to sit around waiting for your professor for 15 minutes? This happened to me ALL the time. I finally learned to bring other assignments with me, just in case. Make use of any spare time you have. Think of it this way- spend 15 minutes doing work between classes = going to bed 15 minutes earlier or spending 15 extra minutes with your friends!

• Make time for yourself!
This is a lesson I definitely learned the hard way! Letting yourself become overwhelmed and stressed is not good for your mind or body. Not only will your anxiety levels be heightened, but your body will most likely also show signs of stress- whether it’s a lovely break out, stomachaches, headaches, or head colds etc. None of these things will do you any favors! I know things get crazy but try to at least give yourself half an hour to just chill out and watch TV or go for a walk, anything that will take your mind off the stress for awhile.

Remember to stay focused, but also have some fun because you will always remember your college days! From all of us here at GreekGear, we wish you a fun and successful school year!

Greek Chic- Fraternity Ties

Sorority women tend to receive the majority of the attention during Bid Day season, but here at Greekgear.com we aren’t forgetting about you fraternity men! This week in Greek Chic we’re talking fraternity ties!

Now, every fraternity man will need a tie at some point in his Greek career; might as well represent your GLO right?! These ties are great for Greek Week events, formals, or even job interviews! The stripes represent the colors of your organization and your crest is featured at the bottom of the tie.

Keep it classy and stylish! You can order yours HERE!

Breaking the Stereotypes

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that Greek Life comes with many stereotypes attached. Non-Greeks can be quick to judge or let movies and media influence their views on the matter. While there may be certain chapters that do behave in a manner similar to what is portrayed on TV, the majority of Greeks are truly contributing to their universities and communities in a positive way and reflecting the true purpose of Greek Life. With school quickly approaching, what better time to break some stereotypes and enter the semester with an open mind? Here it goes:

Stereotype #1: Greek Life is all about partying and drinking.

This could not be further from the truth. It is obvious that Greeks do throw parties with alcohol involved. However, what may not be so obvious is that national Greek organizations have alcohol policies that must be observed. Each organization has a different set of limitations, but all are there to ensure the safety of members and non-members. Not only are there limitations on alcohol, but there are also many Risk Management policies in place to protect from various accidents, alcohol or non-alcohol related.

Furthermore, in order to remain in good standing by National Headquarters, each chapter must complete certain philanthropic and scholastic goals. Thus, a chapter cannot be solely focused on social aspects because they would lose their accreditation.

Stereotype #2: Greeks are not smart.

In reality, Greeks have scholastic requirements to even become a member in the first place. Different organizations and campuses require different GPAs, but each organization recognizes that academics come first. In addition to maintaining your GPA, Greeks are also often required to complete a number of study hours each week. Many schools have noted that their Greek populations have higher GPAs than the rest of the undergraduate community (this is information you can most likely obtain from your campus’s Greek Life center).

Stereotype #3: Greeks are stuck-up and shallow.

As with any group or community, there will be those who do not necessarily reflect values of their organization. The same is true with GLOs, however it is unfair to generalize all Greeks in this way. The majority of Greeks truly believe in unity- otherwise they wouldn’t have joined such a group. Being Greek is about coming together for a common cause and building relationships. In my experience, my sisters are some of the least judgmental people that I’ve ever known. They love each other unconditionally, as a family member would. But it is important that each individual finds the organization that best suits them and feels most comfortable. You may not be compatible with one group, but you may find the best friends you will ever have in another- so keep an open mind.

Stereotype #4: Greeks pay for their friends.

I’ve paid for dues, I’ve paid for t-shirts, and I’ve paid for a ridiculous amount of glitter, but I have NEVER paid for the love and support my sisters have always given me! This stereotype particularly irks me because I feel that it implies that my sisters would not be there for me if I didn’t have my letters. I have seen women terminate their memberships, some have even been friends of mine, but I didn’t de-friend them because of it. Fraternities and sororities are a great way to meet new people and build strong relationships, but you don’t pay the people in organization to like you. Dues are in place to help these organizations function so that they can continue to benefit those involved in them.

The Greek community is a blend of many unique chapters and individuals. Unfortunately, I cannot say that these stereotypes are wrong of each and EVERY Greek. However, the majority of Greeks do care about working together and being part of something bigger than themselves. Empowering members to become better and to give more is really the foundation of Greek Life.

Greek Chic- Bid Day Gifts

Can you believe it’s Recruitment season already?! Bid days are already popping up and it’s time to order those Bid Day Gifts! So, this edition of Greek Chic is dedicated to just that!

Typically, Bid Day gifts consist of a collection of small items to get new members started. But doesn’t it get a little difficult to choose? Well don’t worry- Greekgear.com is making it easy on you this year with our Bid Day gift sets.

This is our Bid Day Pack that sells for just $28! It includes a coozie, keychain, button, bumper sticker, round sticker, cup, stationary and pen! This is a steal and a one-stop-shop!

The “Picture This” gift set is the perfect way to help your new members remember their special day! It includes not one, but TWO fun picture frames AND a keychain! All for under $35!

For the ultimate Bid Day gift package, check out our Deluxe Gift Set! This set consists of a picture frame, ID coin purse, keychain, and waterbottle for $46.99! Show your new members some love and spoil them from the start!

Shop these and other Bid Day Gift Sets Here!

Let’s Hear it for YOU!!!

Greekgear is excitedly preparing to launch our Greek Of The Week Contest! We want you to write a paragraph or two about your Sorority/Fraternity and your greatest accomplishments! Tell us how you give back, your community service events and any other inspiring stories that would make you a great Greek of the Week. Please include a photo with your submission.

Each week beginning September 5th, Greekgear.com will feature the Greek of the Week winner on our Facebook page and offer discounts to all members in your chapter. In early December, Greekgear.com will let you choose your favorite “Greek of the Week” through a Facebook vote! The overall winning chapter will receive a $250 Greekgear.com shopping spree!!

We know you are out doing great things for your communities and for each other, and we want to recognize you for it! So let us know what you’ve been up to!

Good luck! Send submissions to:

Megan Mark MMark@inarush.com

Greek Dictionary

Recruitment time is here! Time to brush up on our Greek terminology!

GLO (Greek Life Organization): Specific fraternities/ sororities
Active: A member that has been fully initiated and is in good standing

PNM (Potential New Member): For many organizations this has replaced the term “pledge.” It is an individual who is interested in joining a GLO.

Legacy: This can vary depending on the organization but it is typically when an individual’s parent/siblings/ grandparents were the member of a GLO. This individual MAY get special treatment from that particular GLO.

Badge: The pin worn by a fully initiated member.

Bid: An invitation to join a specific GLO.

Chapter: A local branch of a GLO.

Hazing: Forcing a PNM or new member to do things that are embarrassing, harmful, or emotionally distressing in order to become initiated.

Philanthropy: Charitable efforts made by GLOs

Initiation: The ceremony that brings a new member into full membership.

Ritual: Secret traditions of a GLO, typically ceremonies.

Quota: The number of new members a GLO may initiate

New Member: a member who has not been FULLY initiated

NPC (National Panhellenic Conference): The umbrella organization that governs 26 of the national sororities

NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council): The umbrella organization that governs historically African-American GLO’s, aka-the divine nine.

NALFO (National Organization of Latino Fraternal Organizations): The umbrella organization that governs Latino GLOs.

IFC (Interfraternity Council): The umbrella organization that governs men’s fraternities.

NIC (North American Interfraternity Conference): An umbrella organization that governs over 50 men’s fraternities.

Bring GreekGear to Your Campus!

Need some extra cash but don’t have time to spend hours and hours at a job every week? Been there, done that! But don’t worry, GreekGear has the perfect solution for you! We are launching our newly revamped Campus Rep program, and we need your help!

Here’s how it works- Campus Reps spread the word about GreekGear to their friends, family, and campus. We will provide you with materials such as fliers and tips to being successful. Each rep also receives a unique coupon code that allows us to track their sales and provides a 10% discount to anyone who uses the code during their purchase! The Campus Rep receives a 10% commission from the sales that are made using their specific coupon code. Our average single order is $65 and an average group order is around $500. So, just a few orders could give you a nice chunk of change! With all of the Bid Days, dances, and other special occasions, there are PLENTY of opportunities to generate sales!

The best part about the program is that it allows you to do what you do best- be passionate about Greek life! It will also give you great experience in Marketing and Sales, without having to sit in an office during all of your spare time. Throughout the semester, we will give you updates on top sellers and offer incentives to our stellar reps!

If you are outgoing, creative, dedicated, and LOVE Greek life- we want to hear from YOU! This is a win-win for everyone, so don’t hesitate!

To learn more and apply for the program just fill out the application HERE!