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Greek Life is more than just a social club

(Collegian File Photo)

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about Greek Life on the University of Massachusetts campus. During this time, many people have criticized the establishment. However, most of the critics have never been involved with the chapters. On the outside, there are many stereotypes to being in a sorority or fraternity, but on the inside, there are many benefits that make your experience at UMass much more engaging and worthwhile.

I am a new member of a sorority on campus. After a long week of recruitment, I realized that the Rho Gammas were right: the process was worth it. The first few events were very overwhelming. You are thrown together with people that are essentially strangers and it is as scary as it is exciting. I chose my chapter because I felt like the morals of the women coincided with my own. I looked up to them as role models for where I wanted to be in the next few years. It was very inspiring to personally see how much college can offer an individuals.

So you may be thinking, “Can’t I get these experiences anywhere on campus? What makes Greek Life different?” I would say that being in a sorority or fraternity provides students with a community, a group of people who watch out for each other no matter what. For example, my sorority gave me a study buddy. Instead of having to reach out on my own for academic support, it was provided for me. Not only that, but my study buddy knows me personally and therefore wants to see me succeed even more.

Similarly, one of my friends is also new to Greek Life. She explained that the girls are very intellectually diverse and provide different viewpoints on topics such as religion, politics, classes and life in general. She loves it because not only is she able be around individuals and learn from them, but also be united as a sisterhood.

Another great part of Greek Life is the philanthropy. Each chapter focuses on a different cause; each cause is extremely important. For example, every year the sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi holds an event called “Say Cheese,” where they sold all-you-can-eat grilled cheese for five dollars. All of the money made goes to support The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Furthermore, Alpha Sigma, a fraternity on campus, recently teamed up with Sigma Kappa, a sorority, to have a bake sale. The proceeds went to hurricane relief and the troops. Philanthropy events allow students in Greek Life to be involved in charitable events that they otherwise would not have. It builds a community built upon helping others.

At a campus as big as UMass, it is always better to know more people. Since joining a sorority, I have never walked to class without recognizing at least three people. The University has become so much more of a welcoming community. As a freshman, that makes every difference in the world.

Many people make Greek Life out to be something that is merely social and destructive. However, in my experience, it has done nothing but enhance my academic and moral experience. In the same way that a sports team has your back, so does your chapter. Furthermore, you will have a similar connection with people in other chapters.

You also create a connection with alumni. At a recent alumni brunch, old members of my chapter came back to talk about how much being in the sorority affected their life. One of the woman said that in a job interview, she neglected to mention her work in her chapter. At the follow-up interview, the interviewer asked her why she had written it on her resume but left it out in her interview. It turned out that the woman interviewing her was in the same chapter in college. This story proves that joining Greek Life is a lifetime connection. Coming out of college looking for a job is terrifying; being able to cite a sorority or fraternity on your resume makes the process easier.

Overall, joining a sorority has changed my life here at UMass for the better. I have learned about the history of my chapter, as well as how to dress business casual, but I have also met some of the most amazing women at UMass who share my morals and goals. Greek Life is more than just a social club; it is a bond that cannot be broken.

 

Cassie McGrath is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at cmcgrath@umass.edu.

 

 

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