I was told by a friend who is a grad student in English about showing my blog to a student of hers who was interested in social media’s representation of Greek Life and that student citing me in a paper. I’m honored and wanted to address what came to mind when I heard that:
Are we, as Greeks today, anywhere near what we were and what we have been? Are we even remotely what we could and should be? Let’s look at it:
We come from a history rich in success and failure. We come from a place where changing the face of higher education is a way of life with organizations being founded for numerous reasons. Whether it be an IFC chapter founded in opposition to hazing (Sigma Nu), an NPHC Chapter established to support education in the midst of segregation (Sigma Gamma Rho), or a Panhellenic Sorority seeking to create lasting bonds of friendship (Kappa Delta), our history is covered in glittering examples of groups that have changed everything. We are from a tradition where affecting the world is natural, such as Alpha Phi Alpha member Martin Luther King Jr, Alpha Delta Phi member Franklin D. Roosevelt, or Kappa Alpha Theta member Melinda French Gates. We stand on values ranging from “Justice, Our Foundation” (Delta Upsilon) to “Culture for Service, Service for Humanity” (Phi Beta Sigma), “Chivalry Above Self” (Lambda Theta Phi) to “Seek the Noblest” (Zeta Tau Alpha) and many more.
We also come from a history of abuse, hazing, parties, destruction, bigotry and more. Consider the case at Alabama, hazing post such as this which shows a picture of a fraternity at the top, or this where the worst of Greek Life is seen. Why is it that the media has an abundant amount of these stories about the worst chapters or these stories about sorority hazing rather than stories about all the good that Fraternities and Sororities are doing (these are much harder to find).
I say it is time we stop letting this happen. We are more than the hazing, drinking, abuse, and bigotry that has plagued our organizations in the past. Let’s get back to those ideals and traditions that made Greek Life relevant. Let’s get back to that ambitious attitude that made us points of pride that people wanted to join, not because we threw the “best parties” (these can and often do include drinking, dangerous antics, and sexual assault). We had leaders, good grades, and a purpose. Let’s become men and women of character once again, not a bumbling mess of fools that gets those sad tales from above published.
Are you ready to be the difference?