By Rebecca Arrowsmith
It would be naïve to judge Greek organizations for endless drunken debaucheries because that’s a part of college in general. However, giving up the comedic and beloved stereotype attached to Greek life is no easy task.The things we come to witness through social media capture an inside look at this annoying subspecies at many college campuses.
Hand signs, matching trendy athletic gear and the videos diluting Facebook every fall of girls going absolutely ballistic at Pledge Day only perpetuate the Greek stereotype. Other than these characteristics, how does the brotherhood and sisterhood college experience differ from the “unaffiliated?”
SCAD has those rare preppy birds — they fit in with the girls wearing all black and they easily befriend students who are practically walking bags of Skittles. In an artsy environment, it’s hard to imagine buying several specific outfits for functions and having rules against sporting our letters while smoking a cigarette.
Most Greek organizations do require philanthropy time, study hours and chapter meetings. They encourage members to join other clubs and get involved in their communities and on-campus events. These requirements are set by national groups and the school, but they don’t always reflect the values of the respective sororities and fraternities.
I’ve been told that going Greek doesn’t mean entering expensive, superficial friendships, but the alleged process for offering bids in a sorority begins with a sisterhood collectively stalking a Potential New Member’s (PNM’s) Facebook page. Creepily judging a possible friend on Facebook is common practice these days but rarely is gossip and stalking considered a sacred event that ends in the rating of an individual. Frankly, a rating system based on their preconceived social media identity is superficial at best.
But Greeks have to maintain a quota for their circles. During rush, all PNMs usually get an invitation (a bid) to join somewhere, unless he or she drops out or “suicides.” When a PNM selects only one frat or sorority during rush after being invited by several and doesn’t receive a bid from that group, he or she “suicides.” It seems healthier to just ask someone out for coffee. But that doesn’t guarantee the “bond that will last a lifetime,” like brotherhoods and sisterhoods do.
When the PNM gets a bid for a sorority and becomes a pledge, she then pays for social events, philanthropy, study hours and just general bonding time. As SCAD students, we do pay to be surrounded by artists, to have community service opportunities and for networking perks too. But it seems trivial to pay hundreds more than tuition costs for secret rituals, possible hazing, annoying chants and a line on the resume, while the other, often preached advantages of Greek life can be found at every college with a little bit of effort and little additional cost.
Still, some people find pledging a fun and essential part of the college experience — more power to them. Personally, I think Greek organizations would seem more just if they involved the Hogwarts Sorting Hat.