Upon arrival at many public universities, incoming students are often introduced to the idea of “rushing” or “going Greek”. To some students this is a familiar concept but to others they require a lot more information before they can make an informed decision. Unfortunately, it is often seen that these students are not given all of the information necessary before they join organization XYZ for the next four years.
Some things that students should know before joining a Greek organization at his or her university:
1. The organization will offer fun activities, but it will also require hard work.
Mixers, formal events, and sisterhood/brotherhood retreats are advertised in the recruitment process, but recruiters often leave off any details about the self-run and self-governing aspects of the organization. There are rules to be followed and mandatory meetings to attend as well. It’s a lot of hard work and you’re not always going to agree with the things that your Fraternity and Sorority Life advisers think is best. Even harder than negotiating with your advisers is the inevitable conflict between your brothers or sisters. In an organization of 100+ people you’re bound to come into disagreements and it will not be fun.
2. Read all of the binding documents that you sign or vote to approve.
I cannot speak for all universities, but the school where I joined a Greek organization had an unfathomable amount of power regarding a member’s freedom of speech. At one point in time, we were asked to sign a document saying that we would restrict our emoji uses on public forums and social media. The purpose of this was to ensure that no one would tarnish the National organization’s name, but this agreement limited our freedoms as an American citizen to be a part of this organization. Any violations would be considered in a judicial board meeting and could possibly result in fines. As with anything in life, it is important to read and understand the documents that you sign. If you don’t understand something, ask questions.
3. The dollar amount they advertise during information sessions is not necessarily all inclusive.
Each chapter handles finances differently, but it is important to get an accurate number for extra charges and fees that may be accrued throughout your term as an active member. Ask for a detailed breakdown of your semester dues so that you know what all is included in the base cost for membership. In addition to dues, you may still be asked to pay for registration fees for mandatory events, retreat costs, mixer costs and of course philanthropy expenses. Added costs of membership can become hefty fees if you aren’t keeping a good tally of the expenses.
4. The media does not accurately depict Greek life.
If you are basing your decision to rush off of a movie or TV show you watched, you will more than likely not receive what you expect. As a whole, fraternity and sorority members are dedicated contributing members of the community and that is the goal for the majority of organizations. Greek life is meant to develop members into people who are well-prepared for the business world and that is not often portrayed in films or articles written about the Greek community. The collective goal is not to host the best party in town. If that is what you’re joining for, you definitely want to do some more research before you commit to the organization.
No one can guarantee what your experience will be like, but that is the beauty in experiences. I urge any incoming students to do their research and make a sound decision based upon their lifestyle choices. There is much to be learned when joining an organization and it’s up to the potential members to decide how much they want to uncover.