Greek system offers more than meets the eye

By By Nick Macey

By Nick Macey

Editor’s Note: Nick Macey is a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

Here at the U, we are currently in the midst of what is known as Spring Rush. Many students believe this to be a term for the exhilarating rush of knowledge gained at the beginning of Spring Semester. They could not be more wrong.

Rush is the term given by the greek system to the period in which they actively seek potential members. Basically, it is your chance to evaluate each of the sororities and fraternities at the U to decide if you are interested in becoming a member. If they have a mutual feeling for you, they will invite you to become a “pledge.” Not all fraternities and sororities have a pledgeship, though most do. During your time as a pledge, you will be put through tests that make you stronger as a group and help you to appreciate the society in which you are trying to become a member.

Social experience is an important part of a successful college career. The U currently has nearly 28,000 students attending classes on campus. A staggeringly low 3,500 actually live on campus. At most universities, the percentage of students living on campus is substantially higher and this is the way students socialize. It is not hard to meet people and make friends when nearly everyone around you is always on campus-they live there, go to school there and often work there.

Unfortunately at the U, many students live and work off campus. There isn’t much incentive to hang around at a place where you aren’t spending a majority of your time. Being at a commuter school presents many challenges for a U student. How do you meet people and get involved if you simply come to class and then leave campus?

The Associated Students of the University of Utah provides some opportunities for involvement with the campus events it holds, but it doesn’t offer much of a person-to-person experience. Getting to know someone or even meeting someone is hard at events like Union Programming Council sponsored Crimson Nights. With hormones flowing and music pumping, it’s easy to forget someone’s name. The greek system is a great answer to any students finding themselves in such a situation. The process is one that encourages personal interaction and growth. Not only do you meet many people and make lifelong friends, you also grow as a person and become part of a group. It can introduce you to a whole new part of college life.

Unfortunately, many students are scared of fraternities. The classic movie “Animal House” paints a picture of fraternity members as either elitists or beer-swilling failures. This could not be further from the truth. Studies have shown that men and women who become a part of the greek system by joining a fraternity or sorority are more pleased with their college experiences and attain higher grades. In addition, students who are a part of this system are more likely to continue their studies into graduate and post-graduate work. Members of the greek system also tend to be more loyal and active at their school after graduation.

Many potential greeks are turned away by the idea of hazing, as everyone seems to have a story of a cousin or uncle who was in a fraternity and beaten or harassed. This does not accurately reflect the nature of greek initiation. Hazing is strictly forbidden by federal, state and local laws, along with university and national fraternity and sorority councils. Hazing simply is not acceptable, and is not permitted at any of the houses on the U campus.

I could go on for pages with facts and figures, famous alumni and reasons you should look at the greek system. However, the only way you’ll know if it will work for you is to give it a try. Anyone who is interested in a great social opportunity should check out Greek Row. Visit all of the houses and see which fits you best. You will make friends who last a lifetime and it will make the stress of college just that much more bearable.

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