Myth #1: Being a member of a fraternity or sorority takes up an unreasonable amount of time
It’s true that joining a fraternity or sorority requires a certain amount of time and dedication. However, the time and effort required is by no means enough to interfere with other time commitments or academic success. The Greek commitment begins during a new member or pre-initiation period, when prospective chapter members are required to attend meetings or ceremonies to learn about their chapter’s history and values. Some chapters also administer written tests about chapter history and other information. This education serves a dual purpose: it gives prospective members enough information about their chapter to make an informed decision about whether or not to continue their participation, and it allows chapters to make informed decisions about whether or not to initiate the prospective members.
It’s true that an active social calendar and other Greek programming does take up a certain amount of time, but it’s incorrect to assume that this time commitment is unbearable or unreasonable. Fraternity and Sorority Life at John Carroll is unique in that academics remain top priority. This means that academic commitments preclude any other time commitments. It is no wonder that the all-fraternity and sorority GPAs are consistently higher than the all-male, all-female, and all-campus GPA averages. Members of the Greek community are not required to attend any event, program, or meeting that might conflict with academic requirements.
The extracurricular programming in the Greek community is available and beneficial, but certainly not required.
Myth #2: Being in a fraternity or sorority is more expensive than other organizations.
A person must pay to join almost any organization across the nation, whether it be a sports team, a local club or a fraternity or sorority. Many people outside the Greek community actually refer to this belief by saying that “Greeks buy their friends.” They assume that all fraternity and sorority members are rich and that the cost of Greek life is out of reach for many students. Since fraternities and sororities are non-profit organizations, dues are used to fund various parts of its day-to-day operations, including: academic incentives, headquarter dues, room and board, scholarships, sporting and social events, and many other normal everyday expenses.
By joining a fraternity or sorority, you are not only helping to sustain the ideals and values set forth by the chapters’ founders, you are also making it possible to keep the organization going for years to come.
These costs are reasonable considering the benefits. The fees will likely be higher during the semester you join, but these fees often cover costs associated with the membership badge and a subscription to the national magazine. The fees vary from chapter to chapter and many offer payment plans. Be sure to ask each chapter about the required fees during recruitment.
Myth #3: Hazing is a reality in fraternities and sororities.
Hazing can be defined as people or individuals who are forced to do something that is psychologically, physically, or emotionally harmful or damaging. Greek organizations nationwide have taken strides in developing human rights policies and strict anti-hazing policies to rid hazing in all forms from all campuses.
John Carroll fraternity and sorority members must abide by JCU’s policies on hazing.
Myth #4. Fraternities and sororities are the same as they are seen on TV.
In the 1980s, the movie “Animal House” starring John Belushi became a smash hit. The movie’s satirical depiction of the wild side of fraternity life—binge drinking, widespread hazing, sexual harassment, wild toga parties, open drug use, and substandard living conditions—became the American public’s perception of Greek Life. Many television movies and shows depict the “crazy side,” of Greek life and choose to amplify its negative connotations. In doing so, many movies and shows forget to showcase the beneficial sides of joining a Greek organization and portray its positive notes.
Institutions, Greek communities, national Greek organizations, and individual chapters have all taken strides to reduce hazing, drug and alcohol abuse, increase awareness of sexual assault, and liability through stricter rules and increased educational programming.
Myth #5: Joining a fraternity or sorority does not offer any advantages over other campus activities
Many people outside the Greek community do not see the wealth of opportunities available through fraternities and sororities.
Academic resources—such as older undergraduates, study hours, study groups, incentive programs and study tables are not in short supply. Leadership skills are fostered through chapter positions, University leadership positions, and many role models and mentors. A planned social calendar aids in developing interpersonal skills, a network of friends and resources, and lifelong friendships. The Greek experience also offers community service opportunities.
Greek Life also offers a network of alumni/ae throughout your lifetime. Many members are able to stay connected through alumni/ae groups in their area or give back to their organization by advising or volunteering with a collegiate chapter. Being a part of a Greek organization offers a lifetime bond that is not likely to be found in other campus organizations.