Going Greek in College: a Modern Take

Having been accepted to college, high school seniors across the country are going about introducing themselves to their future classmates. In their introductory Facebook-group post, each rising college freshman lists notable things about themselves — not least of which being their preference on Greek life.

Adam Alfieri, sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity. After pledging TKE during the spring semester of his freshman year, Alfieri reflects on how his first year in Greek life changed his perspective on how he viewed the organization itself.

“I never thought I would join a fraternity. I saw all frats as being douchey guys who don’t respect women

Hazing is a commonality among Greek letter organizations (GLO) during the stage of pledging. According to Colgate University, hazing consists of various activities used to create an imbalance between the new pledges and established members of the GLOs. The pressures of hazing earned GLOs a bad reputation, with the generalization that all fraternities and sororities use those methods in the process of pledging. However, not all fraternities and sororities are created equal.

“I was never hazed and never had to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. I’m against hazing morally, but it definitely gets you close with your pledge brothers and is why a lot of places do it,” said Alfieri.

Elaine Townsend Utin, Lambda Pi Chi member, shared her experience within a National Multicultural Greek  orority (MGC).

“I became involved after I attended an information session, and I enjoyed how they could identify with my culture,” said Townsend Utin.

Despite only becoming involved during her junior year of her undergraduate education at UNC-Chapel Hill, Townsend Utin is currently serving her seventh year as a part of the organization.

“As the expansion chair for Southeast region, I work for expansion experts specifically in North Carolina. The goal is to establish a new chapter by working with latinas who don’t have that organization within their campuses,” said Townsend Utin.

The lifetime commitment to Greek life is an aspect students should consider when they make their decision to rush, or not to rush.

“It is a great way to make great friends to last your college experience and likely longer,” said Alfieri.

Regardless, GLOs are not the only opportunities to make friends when you reach campus as college opens up the opportunity to become a part of various organizations.

“I don’t think every organization is the best fit for everyone; it comes down to the vision, mission, goal,” said Utin.

Greek Life At a Glance

  • There are over 9 million fraternity and sorority members in the nation
  • There are over 6,000 fraternity chapters on around 800 college campuses
  • Over 85 percent of students leaders on 730 college campuses are involved in

    GLOs

  • In 2009. and 2010, 77% of sorority members and 73% of fraternity members
  • Of the 47 Supreme Court Justices since 1910, 40 have belonged to a fraternity
  • 85% of Fortune 500 Company Executives participated in GLOs

Adam Alfieri (far left) is a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Photo courtesy Adam Alfieri

Posted by Cinthya Plazas

Cinthya Plazas is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the JagWire.