Movies like House Bunny, Neighbors, and Monsters University all have something in common. They are all movies with interesting takes on Greek life on college campuses. Unfortunately, our media has a very skewed idea of what sororities and fraternities actually represent at universities. While some of these organizations do throw raging parties and focus most of their energy on consuming copious amounts of alcohol, most Greek organizations were created for different purposes. If you dig deeper you will see that sororities and fraternities were founded with principles and a desire to serve their community. Not only do these organizations provide a community for students, but they also provide also an avenue for academic success and philanthropic efforts. Greek life ideally creates positive relationships and opportunities for students that reach beyond their four years in college. Pop culture may represent fraternity men and sorority women as ditzy and lazy, but some of our most influential celebrities and political figures today were once dedicated members.

More Than Parties

Because of these negative stereotypes, an outsider to the Greek community may easily interpret sorority and fraternity life to be all about parties. However, parties are not the central purpose of these organizations. At their core, Greek organizations strive to create social interactions and friendships. Game nights and volunteer outings are more common than huge ragers. So while you may catch some members relaxing at residential hot tubs & spas, it’s more likely a social gathering than a drunk night out. The purpose of Greek life is to create a community of like-minded individuals on campus. Social events and controlled parties are the perfect way to do this.

Parties do happen–no one is denying this–but they are actually much more regulated than you may realize. In order for a sorority or fraternity to throw a party, they usually have to have the event approved by the governing Greek council. A lot of paperwork is involved and there are several restrictions. You may have to sign a lot of documents before visiting the liquor store in Woodbridge, NJ to bring back your keg of beer. Most groups also have a limit on how many alcoholic events the chapter can participate in each semester (the cap is usually two or three). Plus, for every event, you have to have a set number of sober monitors. These are volunteer trained members of your organization who avoid drinking at the event in order to monitor everyone’s safety. So yes, Greek individuals, just like any new college student, do enjoy letting loose with some alcohol and a fun party. But there are plenty of precautions to make sure the members and guests are staying safe.

Founding Principles

So what are all the wonderful things beyond drinking and partying that the Greek community has to offer? Well most of these organizations were originally founded on principles and dreams of great achievements. Every Greek organization involves a ritual and commitments to the betterment of the group and the individuals involved. While these change from organization to organization, there are some principles of Greek life that are universal. Leadership, unity, inclusivity, service, and compassion are just a few of the wonderful character traits you can gain from Greek life.

Academic Support

Overall, Greek life becomes an organization that helps lift you to your highest potential. For most sororities and fraternities, you are required to maintain a certain GPA to stay in the group. So not only will your organization support you socially, but you will also have resources and mentors to help you achieve academic success. Each organization elects an academic leader to plan study sessions and provide incentive for those who succeed in their studies. Whether you are pursuing an Associate Degree in Nursing program or trying to become an engineer, your brothers and sisters will be there for you.

Philanthropy

Greek life isn’t only for the members either. Each organization impacts the community around the campus. Nationwide, each sorority and fraternity dedicates their time and service to certain philanthropic groups. The Salvation Army is just one of the wonderful institutions that Greek life gives back to. And they have fun doing it as well! To raise money, sororities and fraternities put on events that other Greek life members pay to attend such as Watermelon Bust and puppy petting parties during finals week. This is a way to raise funds and also encourage bonding between members of the Greek community and campus beyond. Education is also a huge part of these philanthropic efforts. Greek organizations often host talk-backs or walks to raise awareness for certain issues. It’s just another way to involved the entire college and make a difference in the community.

Not Just Four Years, For Life

Greek life has the power to impact your life for years after your collegiate experience. The organization you join connects you with lifelong friends. This is easy because you find the perfect fit in a sorority or fraternity based on their values. Therefore, each of the friends you make already agree with your values on a core level. Sometimes the relationships you create with these people can get you through whatever life will throw at you. Girls admit to having found their bridesmaids from their sorority and the gentleman have brothers to stand next to them at the altar as well.

Connections through Greek organizations can also open doors for your future. Your future employer or coworkers may have been involved in your sorority or fraternity. It is an easy way to network and connect with professionals in your field. Just like individuals who graduated with the same degree as you can help you obtain jobs, your brothers or sisters can be helpful in the same way–not to mention the job opportunities post-graduation within the headquarters of your Greek organization.