The views expressed in this article solely reflect the author’s opinion and not an opinion held by The Cluster.
There was recently an opinion piece published on various reasons why a person should not participate in Greek life. According to the writer, being a member of the Greek community is a waste of money, strips a person of their individuality and that the work they accomplish is based on connections rather than hard work.
As a member of Alpha Delta Pi, a chapter in Mercer’s Greek community, I can tell you with great confidence that the members of various chapters on campus do their best to uplift their fellow community. Between a chapter’s philanthropic work, leadership opportunities, event planning and post-graduate successes, it is fair to say that Greek life is a healthy, well-rounded way to enhance your time in college while gaining lasting experience that is meant to propel you into your future.
Being in a Greek organization in no way means that your individuality is stripped away or that it makes you any less of an individual. I would argue against and insist that in many cases, it is the involvement in these Greek programs that allow individuals to work together in an uplifting manner in order to find out who they are.
For me, being in a sorority has given me friends that pushed me academically, spiritually and emotionally. They strive for me to do my best and hold me to a higher standard than I even hold for myself.
A person’s individuality is not lost simply for going Greek. The purpose of being in a brotherhood or sisterhood is to allow yourself the opportunity to make friends, make connections with alumnae, gain leadership experience, budget money and learn more about your local community and ways you can give back.
Haryson Blair, the current president of Alpha Delta Pi, said that when she first joined the sorority, she was overwhelmed by the “amazing friends and role models” that she was immediately surrounded by.
“They pushed me to do the things that I thought I couldn’t. Because of my sorority sisters, I have come to see my potential and act on it,” she said.
Lexie Lott, a senior in Phi Mu, said she recognized that, just like any club or organization you join, you get out of it what you choose to put into it.
“I think the reason why Greek life at Mercer is great is because you can be affiliated with an organization without it becoming your identity,” she said.
The previous article spoke about the price of being in Greek life. Like with anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it.
For me, I chose to pay dues to a chapter so that I could apply for various leadership positions exclusive to that sorority, get plugged into the Ronald McDonald house as a permanent volunteer, meet women that encouraged me to apply for my current internship and attend fun events and formals with my closest friends.
As far as the hazing incident that was mentioned in the article, it is imperative to note that you cannot apply the incidents, such as hazing, of an SEC or ACC school to that of a private university with completely different rules in reference to how Greek life is conducted on campus. What a chapter on Mercer’s campus might get probation for could easily be overlooked on a different campus. You cannot apply the sins and grievances of one campus to another based on the generalized umbrella of the word “Greek.”
To end, I have to recognize the following quote from the article, “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.”
This alludes to the idea that a person affiliated in Greek life didn’t work as hard to get the scholarship, graduate school acceptance, internship or job, but rather utilized connections to get the desired outcome, job, etc. The writer ensures their readers that “it’s much more rewarding” to “network yourself” rather than use your chapter’s connections.
The accomplishments and successes of a person who is affiliated in a Greek organization are no less important than those of someone who is not. Paying monetary dues to your respective organization does not, in turn, give you infinite contacts around the world to any job, graduate school, med school and beyond.
Even if they did, are we no longer allowed to use whatever connection we have that benefits our careers and futures? Using a contact that may or may not be a byproduct of being a part of a Greek organization doesn’t make you or your accomplishment any less important.
Elizabeth Giddens is a senior in Alpha Delta Pi who conducts medical research as a result of her superior work in various biology classes as well as her work in the Vietnam prosthetics trip last summer.
Bryce Everett is a senior in Lambda Chi Alpha who was just awarded the Woodruff Scholarship for the Mercer Law School. This scholarship completely covers tuition as well as gives $5,000 for books and housing. The scholarship is a direct reflection of Bryce’s exemplary grades and leadership opportunities that he utilized during his time in Lambda Chi.
These are just a few examples of the amazing men and women who make up the Greek community of Mercer University. The point is that these men and women utilized their time at their respective chapters, got as much out of it as they put into it and have secured sound futures due to the skills they learned during their time at Mercer and in their chapter.
Greek life is not a requirement, nor does it force your hand. It is a choice. It is not wrong to commit to a Greek chapter, nor is it wrong to not join one. Just like when you were picking the university to attend, you have to weigh your options and see what is best for you. At the end of the day, Greek life was a terrific decision for me that has offered me forever friends, imprinted memories and leadership experiences I otherwise wouldn’t have had. I am proud to be not only an Alpha Delta Pi, but a member of Greek life on Mercer University’s campus.