The truth about stereotypes surrounding Greek life

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Written by Gabrielle Thompson

I am sure you’ve heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” countless times in your life. Well, in Greek life it’s more like “don’t judge a person by their letters.” Speaking from firsthand experience, Greeks are tired of the negative stereotypes that are always getting thrown at us.

Think about it. How many news stories have you heard about a sorority or fraternity doing something great for their community? Now, how many stories have you heard about Greek life where something terrible has happened? The news tends to focus on negative stories rather than all the positive things that come about because of fraternities or sororities. The most common news stories about Greek life cover situations such as hazing or out of control parties and nothing about community service or fundraising. This reinforces the stereotypes that are harmful to the Greek community.

Let’s be honest, when you hear the word “fraternity” or “sorority,” the first thing that comes to mind is not a favorable thought. We party too much. We are a bunch of dumb, rich kids who rely on our parents to pay for everything. We are only friends with members of our own Greek organization. We are unoriginal and have to fit a certain mold to be accepted by others. Sorry to burst your bubble, but most of the time stereotypes aren’t true.

Believe it or not, according to USA Today, members of Greek organizations are 20 percent more likely to graduate from college than those who are not affiliated with a Greek organization. The fraternity and sorority life page on the NSU website reports that the average GPA of Greeks is over a 3.0. Millions of dollars have been raised nationwide for various different philanthropies and local communities, and the sorority and fraternities on our campus raise tens of thousands of dollars each year for organizations such as the National Kidney Foundation, Prevent Child Abuse America, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Glenmary Home Missionaries and many more. Volunteer work is also a big part of the Greek community. At NSU alone, Greek life participates in over a thousand hours of community service each semester.

Being a part of a Greek organization isn’t just beneficial for the school and community, but also for the individual members. Members learn responsibility, leadership skills, social skills, patience and countless other useful attributes and abilities. Spending countless hours with so many diverse people also teaches you to appreciate and understand different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs, which in turn makes it easier to talk to and befriend anybody. Not only do the members master both life and business skills, but they also gain possible job connections, both in college and in postgraduate life. An astounding 85 percent of the executives at Fortune 500 companies were members of a Greek organization in college, according to Elite Daily.

Even with all the positive attributes fraternities and sororities bring to their communities, schools and members, there is still a stigma. Wearing a lettered shirt in public should not result in looks of disgust or dismay by strangers. We should not feel like we are being persecuted every time we mention something about Greek life. We should not feel self-conscious or worried that somebody is going to say something negative about us because we are part of a sorority or fraternity. I don’t know about all Greeks, but I am beyond proud of who I have become because of my sorority. I refuse to hide the immense enthusiasm I feel for my chapter, what we have accomplished and how we have helped others.

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Gabrielle Thompson is a junior communication major with a focus in strategic communications. She started off as a practicum student last semester and is now the newspaper's features editor.

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