Greek life has a bad reputation among college campuses. From social media accounts where people anonymously talk about their experiences to having nine fraternities facing disciplinary action and three no longer recognized by the University, there is a push for Greek organizations to be abolished.
Now do I think Greek life should be banned from campus? No. Greek life has a lot of baggage with a history of elitism, sexism and racism, but I know some students in a fraternity or sorority who love their organization and are not terrible people. They said it helps them make friends, job connections and grow as a person.
I’m not going to argue or diminish their experiences, but there are better avenues on campus to get all these experiences. Students could use the Living and Learning Villages, clubs, organizations and other outlets that NC State provides. These avenues are a much safer and cheaper alternative to Greek life.
One thing about Greek life is it can be expensive. NC State reports that an organization’s fees can range from $200 - $2,000. These prices can get higher if you decide to live in a frat house, which is more expensive than University Housing. While some clubs and organizations require their members to pay some fees, it’s nowhere near the minimum of $200.
I understand these fees exist to help put on events and pay any additional fees, but we are already paying so much just to attend college, and I don’t want to pay extra to join a club. Plus, these high fees can contribute to an elitist culture associated with some fraternities.
Likewise, there are other clubs and organizations on campus that will give you the same experiences you would have in Greek life. A benefit of Greek life is that many organizations host philanthropic events and can connect students with alumni for jobs. But you can already do this without joining a fraternity.
There are many organizations, like the Collegiate 4-H or various religious groups, that allow students to volunteer and do acts of community service. In addition, the Career Counseling Center is free to all students. The counselors there can teach students how to improve their resume, create a LinkedIn profile and other ways to look presentable for the job market.
Students can reap the benefits of Greek life at a much cheaper cost and without the social stigmas or consequences associated with it.
Finally, the events hosted by NC State organizations tend to be a lot safer. Greek life has been infamous with being associated with sexual assault. The Guardian reports that sorority women are 74% more likely to be assaulted than unaffiliated students, and men who join fraternities are three times more likely to violate a woman.
This makes sense since fraternities typically host social events. They have more control over the environment and situation, allowing for abuse to occur, and making it harder for people to be held accountable for their actions.
Fortunately, sexual assault is less likely to occur with events hosted by the University. While most of these events are mostly hosted by students, these events must be approved and overseen by faculty members. Plus, most events hosted require students to sign in. The way events are structured and hosted makes them much safer, and if something bad happens, it is easier to determine who should be held accountable.
While some members and alumni of Greek life will say these organizations still have a purpose, I would argue the contrary. There are many ways students can get connected with others and grow without the fees and stigma associated with Greek life. In fact, multiple universities have reported a decline in recruitment for Greek organizations.
If Greek life wants to show why it’s still relevant, it has to do more than just combat the stigmas around it and promote brotherhood and sisterhood. Clearly, other clubs and organizations across college campuses are capable of doing that. Greek life needs to offer something more, something new and unique, if it wants to remain relevant in college life.