OPINION: Greek life not your average ‘animal house’

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Bizarre rituals, a strong desire for a high social status, binge-boozing until the early morning and excessive hazing and harassment are all classic representations of greek students … right?

Over the years, these phrases have become more prevalent in society because of recent scandals and controversies surrounding certain greek communities.

In the seemingly short four years college has to offer, why not enhance your experience by joining many organizations, meeting tons of people and doing things you’re passionate about? For many students, a great way to combine all of these things is by joining one single organization: a greek chapter.

According to the Jan. 3, 2013 USA Today article titled, “Viewpoint: debunking 4 greek-life stereotypes,” there are many stereotypes regarding greek life. These include stereotypes such as greek affiliates are notorious partiers who are not taken seriously in the professional world; greeks don’t tend to stray away from their set social circle and members only care about themselves.

K-State’s greek life, however, does not hold true to any of these stereotypes.

According to the Office of Greek Affairs, nearly 20 percent of K-State students are pledged to a specific fraternity or sorority. Although what amounts to approximately 4,000 students out of K-State’s current 22,342 enrolled may not seem like a large number of people, the greek students at K-State are involved in a broad number of extracurricular activities on-campus through their various leadership roles and involvement.

By being heavily involved in the community and holding leadership positions, K-State greeks have the opportunity to defy the currents stereotypes greek life holds.

All party-goers are not necessarily greek students. There is a large chunk of the remaining collegiate population that parties as well. The awful thing about this stereotype is that it is one of the most prominent, and not many people care enough to look past it to see what else greeks do within their chapter.

Philanthropy involves devoting time and heart to a chapter’s specific charity and is one of the biggest aspects in greek life. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Make a Wish Foundation and Push America are just a few of the philanthropies chapters all over campus promote, support and hold fundraisers for.

Greeks not only have a passion for their philanthropies and supported charities, but they also allocate much of their time to their fellow brothers and sisters. Ben Hopper, director of Greek Affairs, said that greek life is fraternities and sororities, “rallying together around one another after a traumatic event has happened in order to support them and make sure they’re cared for and loved.”

This is an aspect that fraternities and sororities at K-State carry out wholeheartedly, shattering greek stereotypes.

Along with the everlasting brotherhood and sisterhood comes responsibility within each chapter. Greek life exposes members to various situations amongst their brothers or sisters. Members deal with each other’s conflicts, opinions and viewpoints that may differ from their own. This makes students in greek organizations better equipped to deal with people in general.

Greek life also gives members the chance to hold leadership roles within their chapter.

In general, each chapter has an executive board made up of at least seven members that oversees departments like public relations, education, financial and other branches of the chapter. Extended executive board members have smaller, more specific responsibilities within their department. For example, with philanthropy events, the philanthropy chair would plan the specific event and contact venues. All of these things lead members to becoming better professionals and prepare them for jobs outside their chapter.

With all the positions to hold within a greek chapter, there is no doubt that members leave their chapters and enter the professional world with a greater understanding of the meaning of community and leadership.

Almost all fraternities and sororities share the same core values of brotherhood or sisterhood, philanthropy, leadership and involvement. With plenty of effort and passion, greek communities on campuses all over the country can try to model after one another and put a final end to greek stereotypes.

Abby Kammermeier is a sophomore in mass communications.

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