More to Greek life than stereotype speaks

By Jimmy Halmhuber

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Greek life has gotten some bad press lately, but it is much more than how it is portrayed in the news.

Greek organizations are the biggest volunteer network in the country and donate over 850,000 hours of service every year. Over 7 million dollars is raised by Greeks nationally, according to the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Oakland has 19 Greek organizations, including five sororities (Alpha Sigma Tau, Alpha Delta Pi, Phi Sigma Sigma, Gamma Phi Beta, and newcomers Sigma Sigma Sigma), five fraternities (Tau Kappa Epsilon, Theta Chi, Sigma Pi, Alpha Sigma Phi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon) and eight NPHC or traditional African American organizations (Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Iota Phi Theta, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Sigma Gamma Rho and Zeta Phi Beta).

Last but not least OU has one multicultural sorority: Zeta Sigma Chi.

There are pros and cons to joining Greek life. Some pros are that members have an average higher graduation rate and higher grade point average than students who are not in a Greek organization, according to USA Today. Greek life has a minimum GPA to join and stay involved. If members are struggling there are plenty of people in the organization to help them.

Higher GPAs can lead to success and leadership positions in Greek life. Whether it be serving on the executive board, a chair or even tabling, members learn leadership skills.

“The three best friends that I have and I rushed together,” Matt McClure of Theta Chi said. “We have become leaders on campus, and more importantly, we know that we will be in each other’s lives until the day we die.”

Let’s not forget what Greek life is famous for. The parties. This can be a pro or a con depending on which side you’re on. 

 The news, movies, and satirical websites like totalfratmove.com have led to an over the top stereotype for fraternity men and Greek life in general. Some stereotypes include members binge drinking and being arrogant, elitist, womanizing and racist.

Greek life is often faced with stereotypes due to recent events in the news. One example was when Rolling Stone did a story in November 2014 of a few members of University of Virginia chapter of Phi Kappa Psi were accused of a rape. The reporter just assumed it was true and did little fact checking. In April 2014 it was soon discovered that the report was false.

 “I don’t like the Greek life (and) frat boy connotations,” senior journalism major Anthony Spak said. “I would say OU Greeks are a pretty respectable group, but Greek life in general has a certain image that doesn’t appeal to me.”

Another misconception is that members pay for their friends. The dues Greeks pay is for the formals and events such as socials. It is no different than any other club chipping in to pay for something or if they want to go somewhere. Greeks just pay it all in advance. This is an expensive way of doing things.

Along with paying dues, Greek life is a time commitment. Members have to go to meetings. There is one mandatory meeting every week.  

“Becoming part of a fraternity (or) sorority will easily be the best decision you could make during your college career,” Brandon Walker of Alpha Sigma Phi said. “From the outside looking in you can never understand it. From the inside out you can never explain it.”

Despite its questionable portrayal, according to USA Today, since 1825, Greek life has attracted all but two U.S. presidents and 85 percent of Fortune 500 executives, not to mention the nine million Americans who are a part of a Greek letter organization currently.