Mercer Cluster

Filed under Opinions

Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life

Graphic+designed+by+Cecelia+Poehlman.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life

Graphic designed by Cecelia Poehlman.

Graphic designed by Cecelia Poehlman.

Graphic designed by Cecelia Poehlman.

Graphic designed by Cecelia Poehlman.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Everyone wants to fit in. I know I did at one point in time. This natural human urge may explain why Greek life is a vibrant part of hundreds of campuses across America. This desire exposes itself especially when we enter new environments.

During the first few weeks of my freshman year, I witnessed many of my peers rush for fraternities and sororities. These organizations, which constitute Greek life, claim to foster brotherhood, give back to the community in the form of philanthropy and help with networking.  

In other words, it’s an attractive option for people in a new and intimidating environment, but the comfort Greek life provides is temporary. Greek life directly threatens individuality and is therefore not worth pursuing.

Transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Being true to oneself is what makes you an individual. Greek life disrupts that phenomenon and reduces their members to parts of a whole, not the whole themselves.

The outcome of the pledging process, which typically includes reducing pledges to workers stuck in a non-reciprocal relationship, is supposedly fraternal companionship. This is known as brotherhood or sisterhood.

Yet, there’s nothing authentic about it. It is built upon mere competition; developing a genuine connection and bonding with one another is secondary. They aren’t brothers or sisters; they’re mercenaries.  

The problem with Greek life extends beyond principle; it’s also systematic and mental. In Greek life, some people become so consumed with the organization that they take this to its logical extreme; covering for acts of misconduct often known as “hazing.”  

For instance, Tim Piazza, a 19-year old engineering student at Penn State, was the victim of this mindset. Piazza, who was made to chug beer by fraternity brothers during a hazing experiment, died after his first night of pledging.

He fell down the stairs multiple times and, despite one brother saying something, the majority of the fraternity refused to get him medical attention until the next morning. Not only that, but they deleted the basement footage to cover up this tragedy.

These people weren’t just negligent or terrible people, they put the interests of the fraternity above their own interests because that is precisely what Greek life requires. They lost themselves and, consequently, Piazza due to their dedication.

This isn’t to say that mere loyalty or dedication is deadly, but to be consumed by anything – even loyalty – is to forsake judgment and run into trouble. By creating an artificial bond between people based on their group affiliation, Greek life does just that.

The money aspect of Greek life is just as concerning. The common argument of “paying for friends” only touches the surface; you don’t know if these people are compatible with you in the first place.

Not a single investor (perhaps Bernie Madoff) would invest in a stock that belonged to an unknown company; why do the same with four crucial years of your college experience? Only confusion and mystery comes with the price tag.

A common argument advanced in favor of Greek life is the connections it gives you. But this myth is nothing more than a byproduct of the industrial mindset. While I think the industrial revolution was a phenomenal occurrence, it has encouraged a fast-food mentality; to take the most expedient route, not always the best one.

It defeats the purpose of hard work if you do not gain a position through your merits, but through the alignment of Greek symbols on your resume. Network yourself, build contacts personally; it’s much more rewarding than it being handed to you.

Your individuality is on the chopping block when you participate in Greek life. I accept that many people do join fraternities and seem fulfilled, happy and meet friends for “life.” But those are people who are fine with being a part of something “greater” than themselves; essentially sacrificing their individual self-interest for that of a group.

If you’re not interested in Greek life,  I encourage you to look into several other clubs Mercer has to offer; The Tea and Coffee Societea, the numerous political organizations on campus, or something completely different.

Whatever you do, pursue your life instead of Greek life. Your future will be better off for it.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
14 Comments

14 Responses to “Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life”

  1. Someone on February 13th, 2019 3:12 pm

    So… I’m guessing the author didn’t get a Bid.

  2. Taylor Gauthreaux on February 13th, 2019 4:18 pm

    I think that you should of talked to people instead of pushing you preconceived opinion on Greek life. Being part of something bigger than you is not by any means a limitation to your own slef interest. If anything not wanting to be a part of something bigger than yourself is prideful. Greek organizations are a community where men and women from different walks of life come together to one better themselves, and also to better each other. I have changed so much form the support and help of my brothers, but I am still an individual with my own thoughts, experiences and beliefs. They also use their brotherhood to serve others by using philanthropy. Overall your idea that not joining Greek life because it hinders personal individuality and growth is not entirely correct or reasonable. While I do understand it’s an opinion I think you should talk to people involved and hear about stories and their experiences. I think youd be surprised.

  3. Summer Perritt on February 14th, 2019 12:00 pm

    We appreciate your opinion! If you would like to write an opinion piece in response to this piece, please email our lifestyle and opinions editor at Lifestylecluster@gmail.com.

  4. Ron Jeremy on February 13th, 2019 5:22 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that you were unable to get the benefits out of Greek Life that most others are able to. I do find your opinion to be misguided and reflects your poor understanding of Greek Life as a whole. You get out of it what you put in. You only lose your individuality if you are willing to part with it. Everyone is free to choose their own path and Greek Life definitely isn’t for everyone, but to assume you know enough to speak for everyone speaks volumes over your ignorance.

  5. Summer Perritt on February 14th, 2019 12:00 pm

    We appreciate your opinion! If you would like to write an opinion piece in response to this piece, please email our lifestyle and opinions editor at Lifestylecluster@gmail.com.

  6. John on February 13th, 2019 5:40 pm

    “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples – while judging ourselves by our best intentions. And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose.

    But Americans, I think, have a great advantage. To renew our unity, we only need to remember our values. We have never been held together by blood or background. We are bound by things of the spirit – by shared commitments to common ideals.” – GWB

    This seems more like a worse intention judgement piece than having a concrete supported arguement based on Mercer Values rather than the values of other institutions.

  7. Summer Perritt on February 14th, 2019 12:00 pm

    We appreciate your opinion! If you would like to write an opinion piece in response to this piece, please email our lifestyle and opinions editor at Lifestylecluster@gmail.com.

  8. Elizabeth Boswell on February 14th, 2019 11:29 am

    It seems as if this author has never had any interaction with a member of Greek life on Mercer’s campus.
    They write, “They [Greeks] put the interests of the fraternity above their own interests because that is precisely what Greek life requires.” In fact, Greek life requires just the opposite. Having served as president of AGD at Mercer, I can speak with experience that each member’s well-being is put before the fraternity. I have excused members from meetings and put plans into place to safeguard the mental health of members.
    While I respect this author’s opinion, it would have been a much better article if they had included actual facts from MERCER Greek life, rather than Greek life from other schools. By weaving in their own opinions of Greek life with horror stories from other schools, the author just contributes to the fear mongering regarding pledging Greek life.
    Greek life is not about fitting in. It’s about serving a common purpose, recognizing the commonalities that we share, while still retaining our individuality.
    Alpha Gamma Delta molded me into the woman that I am today. I advise The Cluster – MercerCluster.com to rethink the publishing of articles whose only purpose is to cause division and fear amongst the Mercer community.

  9. Summer Perritt on February 14th, 2019 12:00 pm

    We appreciate your opinion! If you would like to write an opinion piece in response to this piece, please email our lifestyle and opinions editor at Lifestylecluster@gmail.com.

  10. Jill Dean on February 14th, 2019 12:51 pm

    I am so sorry you feel greek life is a mistake. I attended Mercer in the 80s my husband and I both in Greek organizations and we do have friends for life from being members. Everyone should have the right to be involved in what they want to be involved in. I am not sure if this person was in a Greek organization and got out or never joined one but I would have interviewed people on campus before writing this article

  11. Brad W on February 14th, 2019 5:12 pm

    I’m sorry but the author of the piece is just misguided and likely bitter about an interaction with a fraterity or sorority. For many Greek life is beneficial.

    In my case I can confidently say if I didn’t have my fraternity pushing me to make grades I likely wouldn’t have lasted my freshman year let alone graduate. I learned the dynamcis of influencing groups without direct authority over them. After I became an officer I learned the dynamics of leadership of a group with multiple opinions as well as the foundations of simple business budgeting.

    Now 30 years out of Mercer I consider many of my fraternity brothers life long friends and we have attended each other’s weddings, cheered when each other’s kids had successes, and sadly mourned when one of us passed. One just recently in fact. We also, as a group, often attend Mercer functions to see each other and I’d bet we attend at a higher rate. We network in business with one another.. On and on

    Greekife no doubt isn’t for all but for many its the cornerstone of a college experience.

  12. Anonymous Anonymity on February 14th, 2019 8:51 pm

    Watch the snowflakes melt as a harmless article suggests their program is not best avenue of maximizing their individuality.

  13. someone on February 15th, 2019 4:43 pm

    lol at all the Greek people getting defensive. This was a good read, too bad most people are in Greek life so most wouldn’t agree with it. I rushed, got a bid and still turned it down, and I still agree with this article. I had a chance to be a part of it and chose not to for all of those reasons. I rushed with an open mind, and I was not rejected, so I tried, but I couldn’t get past all of the fakeness of it.

  14. Whodafook isthisguy on February 17th, 2019 10:22 am

    Dude’s got a vandetta over something he doesn’t even understand. You get out of Greek life what you put into it, and with how hard the college transition can be some people really need the dependability that large groups like this can give. If you’re going to try to broadcast your opinion like this make it a good one and lose the sweeping generalities.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life

    Lifestyle

    Opinion: 21 Savage – Deport or Support?

  • Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life

    Lifestyle

    Opinion: Life is Good, so is Greek

  • Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life

    Opinions

    Opinion: Dating Apps Are Destructive

  • Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life

    Opinions

    Opinion: It is time for better food at Mercer

  • Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life

    Lifestyle

    Opinion: Southerners Should Appreciate Hockey More

  • Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life

    Lifestyle

    Opinion: The government shutdown is over, but may start back

  • Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life

    Opinions

    Opinion: 3 easy steps to be more sustainable

  • Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life

    Opinions

    Opinion: The Man Who Was a Superhero

  • Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life

    Opinions

    Opinion: Students should be allowed to stay on campus during winter break

  • Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life

    Opinions

    Opinion: Election day should be a national holiday

Navigate Right
The student news site of Mercer University
Opinion: You should reconsider pledging to Greek life