Another summer has come and gone, and books have begun to arrive at Mercer students’ doorsteps. Along with the bundle of fresh faces swirled in a mix of returning upperclassman, the lingering option of Greek Life recruitment begins its usual persistence.
As the school calendar turns over, incoming freshman look for acceptance as some familiar faces look for a change of their routinely pace.
Greek organizations offer many pros and cons to all students alike but may be suitable more so for some than others.
The Greek population at Mercer consists of 26 percent of the overall student body and is made up of 17 Inter/National Greek Organizations (Eight fraternities associated with the Interfraternity Council, four sororities of the Panhellenic Council, and three sororities and two fraternities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Having been around for 132 years, Greek Life at Mercer’s compact Macon campus has been a staple and a large part of being a Mercerian for those past and present.
Aside from the usual stereotype of Greek organizations, being “Greek” signifies more than just being a large part of the student body. It also ensures a person’s activeness in the community and on campus.
Just a year ago, Greek organizations raised over $80,300 and contributed over 10,000 hours of service to the community. “Some students weighing their options to go Greek believe going through recruitment might have a negative effect on their grades, but in many cases that is quite the opposite effect. Between the formation of study groups, joint lab hours and help from their peers, it can improve their studies,” said Director for Campus Life and Greek Life Carrie Ingoldsby.
A year ago, Greek members compiled a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.155. That is a few percentage points higher than that of the remaining student body.
To go along with a new close knit group of friends, joining a Greek society at Mercer could also help in the overall growth process that comes with the college experience from both peers and those who once walked in new students’ shoes. It can be its own form of personal networking through on-campus activities or outside world connections with alumni and fellow members alike.
“I think the long-lasting friendships established in Greek Life are what make it truly great. Everyone is close and always has someone they can reach out or talk to,” said Assistant Director for Campus Life and Greek Life Cindy Drury.
Although maybe not for everyone, Greek Life offers the opportunity for some hands-on job experience in their everyday lives. Whether it is through fundraising events, educational programs or community service activities, being a member of these organizations offers knowledge that may be harder to come by otherwise.
“Finding a group of people with similar values including a willingness to serve others and high academic standards can be difficult in college but Greek life provides that opportunity for many students,” added Ingoldsby.
While many positives go along with Greek Life, sacrifices will more than likely have to be made as well. Whether it is finding time for outside friends or activities, making space for weekly chapter meetings or affording the monthly dues, Greek Life may not be the easiest of choices for those in certain situations. Even though Greek organizations offer many positive opportunities, there are many other ways that students can get involved in everyday events. Non-Greek affiliates can still participate in student-run organizations, SGA office, intramural events, etc.
“If I could give some words of wisdom to those who are on the fence about recruitment, I would say ‘DO IT’. Recruitment is an experience of a lifetime and a lot of fun whether you decide to join an organization or not. We pride ourselves in having societies that do not pressure anyone to do one thing or another,” said Drury. “Recruitment is a good way for fraternities and sororities to showcase their values and morals. Each chapter is unique in their own way and they are always excited to show potential new members what their chapter is about,” she added.
If any Mercer students wish to go through this fall semester recruitment process, they are required to fill out an application either online or in the Greek Life Office located on the top floor of the Connell Student Center. All requirements for eligibility and applications for Greek members can be found at studentaffairs.mercer.edu/greek/member.cfm.
Deadlines for sorority applications are Aug. 29. Fraternity deadlines are before recruitment on Aug. 24 through Sept. 3 (Dates may vary). For more information, contact the Greek Life Offices by calling (478)301-2987 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.