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.

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