Moving Past The Greek Life Reputation As Told By A Greek

When hearing about the Oklahoma fraternity incident, I couldn’t help but think to myself: "Great -- another reason for people to bash Greek life."

Between this incident and other recent cases of Greek chapters destroying hotel rooms and being accused of sexual assault, it’s as if Greeks are asking for criticism. I’ve heard “I hate how people think the worst about Greek life” from plenty of fellow sorority and fraternity friends, and I’ve thought the same thing at times. But given the recent news events, you can’t necessarily blame people for thinking poorly of Greeks.

In my experience in Greek life, I’ve never encountered or been a part of incidents or scandals like the ones we’re hearing about around the country. Being in a sorority has only benefited me, not only socially, but also academically—after all, that’s why we’re in college. I would like to think that even the Greek organizations that find themselves on the news would agree with me, despite their mistakes.  

I also don’t think it’s fair to judge the character of thousands of fraternity and sorority members based upon those actions of a handful of individuals. However, that’s how it usually works out. We need to realize that when you’re part of any organization, your actions represent the whole group.  That’s why we need to do a better job of communicating the positive things that Greeks do for their communities and schools. It’s disappointing that a story about a hazing incident gets attention from the media (as it should), but a fundraiser that generated thousands of dollars for people in need isn’t recognized.

Despite the reputation that is building about Greeks based on recent events, I still believe there is so much good that comes from being a part of Greek life. I think it's time we stop acting surprised when we hear negative comments about Greeks and continue trying to improve our reputation.  We also need to take responsibility for our actions and remember that we are representing more than our personal reputation or that of our chapter, but we represent Greeks everywhere.

I hope people can be more open-minded about Greek life, but I also hope we can step up and start building the reputation we think we deserve.