What is your least favorite greek stereotype and what do you do to combat it?
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Joseph "Chroe" Westervelt
The Greek community is one that is proud to stand out and be seen by everybody around. Unfortunately, because Greeks stand out, we are often labeled with many different stereotypes.
Although some may be true, these stereotypes are most commonly false connotations put out by the ignorant. With the amount of effort that each and every Greek puts forth, it is only fair that these fallacies are combated with an educated defense.
One of the most common stereotypes, and surely one of the most hated by Greeks, is the assumption that "the only thing frats do is party." This is one of the most frustrating misconceptions that has been put out by movies and TV shows. Although the people that I often hear this comment from are simply suffering from ignorance, it is almost comical the way that "frats" are denoted. It simply proves that one is uneducated in the matter when they use a term ("frat") that is considered disrespectful. I am a proud member of The Delta Chi Fraternity and am very happy to say that there is much more to being in a fraternity than "partying."
The easiest way that I have found to combat this stereotype is to "show, don't tell." It is no secret that fraternities do, in fact, party.
However, there is much more to being in a fraternity than these small parts. Fraternities are involved in numerous philanthropies, community service, intramurals, etc. It is involvement in these areas that give fraternities prestige. The Southeast Missouri State chapter serves the community by helping to clean up parks and highways. Since 2006, Delta Chi has raised over $350,000 for The V Foundation. It is contributions like these that are just small parts of how fraternities "show" that there is more to us than simply "partying."
Lambda Chi Alpha
Making the decision to go Greek was probably one of the toughest decisions I had to make in my three years here at Southeast. However, I made the right decision. I chose to be Greek.
There is a common stereotype that being Greek will take you down the wrong path. Most parents will say that their child needs to focus on academics, not partying and drinking which is apparently what being Greek will lead you to. This is my least favorite stereotype about Greek life because it is so blatantly false, and a common misguided perception about the Greek community. We must combat the negative stereotypes by presenting the facts and sharing the success stories of the Southeast Greek community.
Being a member of Lambda Chi Alpha has taught me things that have excelled me to new, personal heights in my life. It has shaped me into the leader I am today, in both my extracurricular and academic realms. I am a triple major in finance, economics and entrepreneurial management, have held a solid GPA and am involved across campus as the director of Greek Week, Student Government Senator, vice president of finance for the Student Alumni Association, president of the Economics and Finance Society and much more. A large part of this is due to my brothers pushing me, being there to help and lending a hand when needed.
I owe my successes at this university to the leadership positions I first held in Lambda Chi Alpha. But it's not just me. Greek members hold leadership positions all across campus including SGA president, vice president, more than five senator positions, the past two Homecoming Men of the Year and much more. Greeks have repeatedly held higher GPAs than the campus averages. If holding leadership positions and maintaining a strong academic record is "heading in the wrong direction," well, I am happy to head there!
Alpha Chi Omega
My least favorite stereotype of being Greek is the assumption by others that all we do is drink and party. I understand this originates from what is seen on television, and while this is imposed on us, I think these activities can be generalized to college students as a whole. Being the target of these activities seems somewhat unfair because of all of the positives we do to help the community.
As an Alpha Chi Omega, I know that my sorority specifically helps the community through our philanthropy, which assists the Cape Girardeau Women's Safe House. To help these women we hold item drives throughout the campus, sell bracelets and hold an event in the fall called Brewing Awareness, where a percentage of coffee sales are donated to the Safe House. Other than my sorority, though, all chapters have philanthropies that they spend time organizing and executing ideas to benefit the community.
In addition to service, Greeks are also dedicated to their studies. Education is the main reason students are here, and therefore it is the most important. Greeks have the advantage of forming study groups and having a support system for obtaining high grades. This can be seen as the overall average sorority GPA is higher than the GPA average for undergraduates.
That fact alone proves that there is more to being involved in a Greek organization other than going out.
Being Greek is just like being involved in any other club on campus. There are meetings, dues, goals, executive roles and companionship.
The difference can be seen because every chapter on campus shares the common goal of bettering their members as a whole. Skills such as character, responsibility and leadership are all goals of not only the members but of their national chapters as a whole. In fact, many Greeks are leaders in other groups on campus, and would admit that they found this leadership through their fraternity or sorority.
I absolutely love wearing my letters whenever I get the chance, even though I might be stereotyped as someone that always drinks and parties. I think the longer Greeks continue to be leaders on campus and academically excel, the less this stereotype will prevail. There is simply too much good we do for the community, and the longer this continues, the less we will be targeted for something that should be generalized to college students.