Should You Become a Pledge?Sep 28, 2001 (Updated Jan 28, 2006) Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line Choosing to join a Greek society is a personal decision and you must consider your time, money, and other sacrifices of membership
Whats your take on the college social scene?
Do you like to partake in social activities every now and then, but prefer to spend more time studying? Do you like to socialize at any opportunity? Do you like the synergetic feeling of working with others?
If youre feelings tend toward working and socializing as a group, then you might want to consider joining one of the many Greek societies that are present at most all colleges. These groups are known mostly for their social activities, but they also spend a good amount of time doing volunteer work for charity and community improvements, as well as conducting helpful services for the college itself.
Types of Greek Societies:
There are several different type of Greek organizations. The best- known are the social fraternities and sororities. These groups are the most familiar to most people for several reasons. First of all, they usually have the largest presence on campus. Many schools have a fraternity/sorority row that includes several large housing complexes, which house the majority of the groups members. Also, its the social Greek organizations that are usually featured on television shows and in movie portrayals.
But social Greek organizations are not the only ones that exist. Most colleges also have professional organizations, honorary groups, and service organizations as well, many of which fall under the Greek designation. These groups are more specialized and they usually are not involved in the social scene in any way. Thats why they are not heard of very much, even at the colleges where they exist.
Whats Required to Join?:
The requirements vary from one school to the next. In the case of honorary and professional groups, you have to meet certain minimum levels of academic achievement to be invited to join. With social organizations, its common for each individual group to set its own standards. Also, some colleges will require that minimum standards be met, in order to join. For example, at some schools, you have to have a minimum GPA. At other colleges, you cannot join if you are a first semester/quarter freshman.
Another thing to consider is the individual Greek organization itself, and its tradition and history. With some of these groups, there are specific requirements that you must meet, in order to join. For instance, some groups require that you be a member of a certain religious faith. Others are more open to different religions, but you must profess a belief in God. You need to find out what the specific requirements are, if you are seriously considering joining a Greek society.
If you decide to join one of the social Greek societies, you have to be prepared to give up a little of your money, and a lot of your time! Pledges usually have to pay an initiation fee, along with their dues for the term. The amount of money that you need can range from $50 to several hundred. It all depends on how much the national organization requires a new pledge to pay to be initiated, and how much the local chapter charges for dues.
But the money is only the half of it. More than cash, you will have to be prepared to sacrifice a good amount of your time. Pledge requirements can include things like conducting interviews of all the other members; taking part in pledge exchanges with other fraternities or sororities; scavenger hunts; and many other time- consuming rituals.
Hazing is always a concern of new pledges. In the past, these dangerous activities were not that uncommon, and the more extreme cases often made the local news and national news. Today, however, hazing has been virtually eliminated. It still pops up from time to time, but its the exception, not the rule.
Youre Now a Member:
Once you have completed the initiation period, you are now an official member of the Greek organization. The amount of time that you decide to devote is a matter of preference. Some members are very active and spend a considerable amount of their free time coordinating events and holding office positions in the local chapter. Other members are less active, and only partake in a few activities each year.
Most people think of social fraternities and sororities as places that do nothing but host dances and keg parties. But there is more to it than that. Each nationally- affiliated Greek organization has a national charity and the individual chapters are expected to have fundraising events throughout the school year to support the charity. Also, each group is often involved in volunteer work on campus and in the community. For example, at my alma mater, each fraternity took part in the adopt a highway program. Each fraternity was assigned a specific stretch of the interstate highway, and scheduled many hours each quarter for volunteer work, to keep it clean. Some fraternities and sororities will also volunteer time to tutor other students and perform other service functions for the college.
Is Greek Life Right for You?:
Deciding whether or not to join a Greek society is a matter of personal preference. At some schools, the fraternities and sororities have a clique representation that might turn some people off. One group might be made up exclusively of jocks; another might be very academic and nerdy; and another group might have an exclusive membership with dues so high that only the cultural elite can afford to join. If youre going to this type of school, it could severely limit your choices and it might disgust you to the point that you dont want to join at all.
The other considerations for joining include time, money, and parents. It will cost you to be a member. You have to pay your dues each quarter or semester or else risk being suspended as a member. You will also need to give up some of your valuable time, to take part in the social and service functions, as well as the weekly meetings. Parents can also throw a barrier between the student and the Greek organization. Parents usually fear that the membership will be too demanding of the students time, and could adversely affect grades.
Greek life is an integral part of most all university campuses. With the exception of some of the smaller schools, the majority of students choose not to go Greek. Most students probably consider the time and financial requirements to be too much, and not worth the sacrifice. The influence of Greek societies usually seems much greater than it really is, in terms of the percentage of the student body who are members.
I joined my fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, when I was a freshman and it was mostly a positive experience. The pledging period did take up a lot of my time, but I was able to prioritize my obligations with minimal affect on my grades.
Lucky for me, my colleges Greek life was not full of cliques, like I mentioned above. There wasnt really any label that could be placed on each group. We were unified, in terms of being members of the same organization, but we still retained our independence and uniqueness. I dont think I would have joined, if I went to a school where the fraternities and sororities each represented a distinct clique. It's funny how people often try to place labels on the members of specific fraternities and sororities, even when no label really fits at all. That's how it was, at my college. You really couldn't place any label on the different Greek organizations, even though everyone tried.
Most of the activities that we performed centered around the social calendar and around charity work for the March of Dimes. This is one area where Greek membership can get frustrating. What Im talking about is the tendency of the media to report only on the negative, and never on the positive. We got no coverage at all, from the local news or from journalists, when we worked to raise money for the March of Dimes. But if something negative occurred, like a fire in one of the chapter houses or a bad fight after a party, the media would flood the area, like thousands of worker bees swarming on the queen. They never gave any coverage, not even a snip on the news, when something good happened. The other fraternities and sororities suffered through the same frustration.
Fraternities and Sororities can help young individuals with developing their organizational, leadership, and social skills. When I was a member, I held such offices as social chairman, rush chairman, and treasurer. I would have ran for president, too, if my time had permitted. The offices that I held were helpful in developing these important social and people skills that I use today.
We had a really good group of people, when I was a member. We all liked to drink and carouse with the easy women, but we also knew that there was a time for work and a time for play. We had one of the highest overall GPAs at the university, because we knew that our studies had to be taken care of, before we would allow ourselves any form of entertainment.
Deciding whether or not to go Greek is a personal decision. Some people love the idea and begin the rushing process as soon as they can. Others need to look around a little bit first, to decide if they want to join or not. Some simply join because their friends have already joined.
Joining a Greek society will take some of your free time and your money, so you have to be prepared to make some sacrifices. There is no right or wrong answer, when it comes to going Greek. Some colleges have a strong history of Greek life and a very friendly, open relationship between the members and the rest of the University student body. Other schools have a weak system that is elitist and discriminatory. It all depends on where you go to school and how you feel about organizations. It really is a matter of personal preference.
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