The caricatures and stereotypes of social fraternity and sorority life at colleges and universities throughout the United States has been amongst the most widely publicized and mass produced by the media, by non-social Greek students, and especially by college and university administrators.
While what you might see and hear about is the drinking, hazing, parties, irresponsibility and complacency, this is the exception rather than the rule; and I know this because I myself am a “Frat Boy.” I pledged an Interfraternity Conference (IFC) fraternity at my undergraduate institution. And from what I see here, there are three major issues that hamper the advancement of the Greek community at NSU.
First, social Greeks at NSU need to step it up. A major issue is that it is very difficult to find someone wearing letters. From what I understand, Thursday is letters day, and even on this designated day, it is difficult to find social Greeks wearing letters. Each person who has received a fraternity or sorority ritual need to show pride in their letters and wear them more often, as they have a meaning that you should be proud to carry with you. If you are waiting for a special occasion to wear your letters, there is none: any and every day is a GREAT day to show pride for your ritual and your letters.
With the exception of a few organizations, when social Greeks have events at NSU, they are relatively unheard of. The only time NSU sees the social Greek community is during SEA Thursdays, and that’s only a select few organizations. What social Greeks need to realize is that perception is reality; if no one sees you, you don’t exist. When social Greeks conduct philanthropic activities and events on campus, everyone needs to know about it, and everyone needs to see it. This will help not only with general exposure, but with recruitment as well.
Many social Greek organizations on campus make excuses as to why they can’t recruit. The fraternity men say that it’s because the undergraduate population is only 20 percent men. The sorority women say that it’s because a vast majority of NSU’s undergraduate population is commuter students. To all of this I say: excuses are the tools of incompetence. If the traditional recruitment tactics are not working then facilitate a recruitment workshop to come up with new ideas. The demographic at NSU is different from most universities and requires outside of the box thinking and creative solutions. Once excuses stop and there is a move from the traditional style of recruitment, recruitment numbers, over time, will increase.
And while the trend might be to attain leadership positions and perform at a mediocre level, social Greek members should realize that what they do is no longer just reflective of themselves; it is reflective of your organization as well. If you’re doing something at NSU, whether its student leadership, philanthropy, or some other activity, always remember to do it right, go above and beyond, and do it big; because if you don’t, the ramifications could prove to be damaging to your chapter.
Second, non-Greeks are not willing to go through recruitment. While many have their preconceived notions about what Greek life is, some simply don’t see the reason to “go Greek” because (and this is connected to my first point) the social Greek community hasn’t demonstrated to them the value of “going Greek.”
Here are some statistics that I would like to share with NSU’s non-Greek community. With the exception of two individuals, every U.S. president and vice president born since the first social fraternity was established in 1825 have been members of a fraternity. Seventy-six percent of all congressmen and senators belong to a fraternity, while 40 of the 47 Supreme Court Justices since 1910 have been fraternity men. Seventy-one percent of those listed in “Who’s Who in America” belong to a fraternity. Of the nation’s 50 largest corporations, 43 are headed by fraternity men. And finally, more than 70% of all those who join a social Greek organization graduate from college, while under 50% of non-social Greeks achieve the same status.
So, what’s the take away from these numbers? You can be successful without becoming a fraternity man or a sorority woman, but chances are, you’ll end up working for one of us, unless you become one of us. Do yourselves a favor and at least go through recruitment: it might cost you, at the most, $35, but it will be quite worth it.
Third, policies regarding the social Greek community at NSU need to change. While social Greek organizations should adhere to university policies, those policies should be narrowly tailored for the health, safety, and general welfare of the social Greek community.
For example, at a university that is 80% graduate students, it is ridiculous that social Greek organizations are prohibited from rushing and bidding graduate students. While some might say that most graduate students wouldn’t be interested in Greek life, we’ll never know, because the policy does not allow it. Simply put, the policy is con-Greek and is one of many that only harms, not helps, the Greek community.
I recently learned that social Greek organizations receive student services fee funds to facilitate events. This policy should be prohibited, and here’s why: dues and fees. When a fraternity man or a sorority woman pays dues and fees, a portion goes to nationals, and a portion stays with the active chapter to facilitate events. This is the funding that social Greek organizations should use to facilitate events; not funding that should be used for the general welfare of the student body.
I have been made aware that the office of student accounts manages social Greek funding. This is a blatant infringement on the sovereignty of social Greek organizations, and here’s why: Charters. NSU does not grant charters, nor can it take charters away from social Greek organizations. A university has no place managing the finances of social Greek organizations; this is a relationship that should solely be between the chapter and its national organization.
So what’s the conclusion? Greeks, non-Greeks, and university administrators alike need to put aside their differences and remember that the success of the Greek community means the success of the university community.