Back to school is an exciting time of year for everyone. For students in general, it means they get to return to the pure glory that is college life. For parents, it means their newly, terrifyingly alcoholic demon children have finally left again, and will no longer be returning home five nights a week at 3AM, hammered drunk on Natty plus however many shots they took, and also maybe a little high, and waking up everyone in the house because they’re too shitfaced to remember how doors work. Sometimes you just have to slap it until it opens, you guys. That might be too specific to my experiences. Greeks are excited for back-to-school because it means sorority rush, bid day parties, tailgates and more. And, of course, GDI newspaper columnists are excited because it’s a chance to write shitty, uninformed articles about Greek Life.
And hey, what do you know? A columnist for Illinois State University’s newspaper, The Vidette, jumped at the opportunity to write something hilariously speculative and uninformed. Let’s break it down, because I’m addicted to being an asshole.
Anti-rush: think before you go Greek
College Greek life is becoming more and more prevalent on Illinois State University’s campus. We are nowhere near as Greek affiliated as other major universities around the country, but we are slowly heading down that path to becoming a major Greek life “power.”
Yeah, Illinois State is well on its way to becoming the next Ole Miss, I’m sure. Move over Oxford, Mississippi, here comes Normal, Illinois. Either that, or this kid has been seeing more Sperrys around campus and assumes everyone’s about to start holding dicks and walking around their basements in circles while exec members play Illuminati and discuss how to manipulate the powerful campus organizations.
Step 1: Take control of the campus media and fire this dogshit columnist. Though, to be fair, that would be in the best interest of the paper, its readers, and journalism, not just Greek Life.
With that being said, students would be better off dissociating themselves with Greek life.
Wow, that’s a pretty strong statement. Not only is the columnist telling students not to join Greek Life, he’s telling them not to even associate with members of Greek Life. One would think that solid reasoning and quality evidence would back a statement this strong, right? I mean, someone wouldn’t just encourage you to disassociate yourself with an entire group of people based on stereotypes and hearsay, would they? Probably not, that’s why I’ll continue to read this article with an open mind, for surely I am about to be enlightened with facts and logic.
It should be noted that I am not a part of Greek life,
and my opinion is based off of observation,
Well, that’s good.
and the numerous conversations I have had with people who are involved in fraternities and sororities.
Okay, so maybe this kid did his homework. I mean, “research” and “conversations with people who are involved in fraternities and sororities” aren’t something you usually find in these pieces. I still have faith.
I’m not writing this article to spread false rhetoric that Greek life is evil and should be banned all across the country.
You just don’t think anyone at your school should join Greek Life or associate with its members. Totally different.
I am simply writing this to make sure students are aware of the consequences of joining such an organization.
I am simply writing this to make sure students are aware of the consequences of joining such an organization that I actually believe they should not join or acknowledge.
You forgot that last part. Though, I will admit, it is counterproductive to note one’s bias when trying to construct a sentence that attempts to sound reasonable and unbiased.
First of all, Greek life contributes to society in a variety of beneficial ways. Joining Greek life ensures networking for students after they graduate. It is an excellent element to put on one’s résumé and, according to William Hageman of the Chicago Tribune, joining Greek life can connect you with “the network of former fraternity or sorority members in the business world.” Fraternities and sororities also raise millions of dollars for a variety of different charities all across the country.
DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH THESE PEOPLE!
On the other hand, joining Greek life can have disastrous effects on a student’s confidence; sense of self-worth; individualistic morals and beliefs; and bank account.
I noticed you cited a source for the above paragraph, but not this one. That’s weird.
Most people have heard at least one horror story of Greek life hazing.
Oh, I guess we’re just going to be using rumors for the negative aspects of Greek Life. You forgot to list that above when you cataloged the sources you would be drawing from for this column, or do rumors and stereotypes you’ve heard about fall under “observation”?
By the way, most people have also heard at least one horror story about being molested in their sleep at the dentist, but that doesn’t mean every time you go to get your teeth cleaned someone is dragging their sack across your face.
Hazing can include verbal and physical abuse, forcing hopeful members to use mass amounts of drugs or alcohol or participate in unwanted sexual acts and many other disturbing punishments in order to gain “trust.”
That’s true; that is a definition of hazing. That has happened. That does not happen everywhere, or even most places. Well, except the verbal abuse. That probably happens pretty much everywhere, including sports teams, classes with douche bag professors, school clubs, and when you cross the street too slowly.
To give you an idea of Illinois State’s hazing environment, one reader informed me that, as of at least two years ago, fraternities didn’t even force pledges to sober drive. So call me skeptical when it comes to this author’s assumption that Illinois State fraternities are getting their pledges near lethal levels of drunk and forcing them to rub wieners. Seems unlikely.
According to www.greeklife.uconn.edu, 44 out of the 50 States currently have anti-hazing laws established. However, horrifying hazing incidents still occur behind the closed doors of fraternity and sorority houses. Just because laws prohibit such a thing from happening, they do not 100 percent guarantee that it will not happen.
“Just because there are hazing laws doesn’t mean hazing isn’t happening, therefore, hazing IS happening! DO NOT JOIN GREEK LIFE!”
According to the same website mentioned above, since 1970 there has been at least one hazing death on college campuses every year.
Yeah, and not all of those have to do with Greek Life, but whatever. Fuck it.
There have also been 101 fatal bear attacks in North America since 1970, so stop camping, everyone. Are there any other highly unlikely death scenarios we should worry about? Maybe being struck by lightning or killed by Salmonella you got from a water park because some little kid had diarrhea in the lazy river? NEVER GO TO WATER PARKS! None of those hazing deaths, by the way, occurred at Illinois State University.
At least you feigned an attempt at research this time.
Students who join a fraternity or sorority also have the risk of becoming a part of “groupthink.” Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon where groups of people begin to think as a single entity, instead of individually. This happens because people are afraid to express their own beliefs or opinions, because they want to fit in with the others.
Students who join any group or club are susceptible to groupthink. DO NOT JOIN CLUBS YOU MAY SHARE OPINIONS WITH YOUR LIKEMINDED PEERS.
If this author thinks that people will become afraid to express their opinions once joining a fraternity, clearly he’s never taken his Greek Life “observations” to a chapter meeting where no one will SHUT THE FUCK UP and everyone feels the need to express their goddamn opinion, often, repeatedly, and loudly (because the brothers might not have understood the first five times), to the point where, three hours later, half the room is praying for the sweet release of death.
Debates over everything in fraternities are heated affairs, from insignificant crap like parties and Greek Week, all the way serious moral dilemmas that require the chapter’s attention. I have been a part of both, so have many of TFM’s readers, I assume. It’s miserable. It’s democracy at its least organized, which is to say it’s pure democracy, and it’s a nightmare.
Participation in groupthink meshes everyone into an amoebic blob, where everyone looks and acts the same. Individuals that join Greek life run the risk of not standing out anymore, and essentially becoming another sheep in the flock.
We wear similar clothes and the same letters so naturally we are all exactly the same and have abandoned our once honest and true moral compasses (because all 18-year-olds have those). Man, so much depth went into this piece.
On top of all this, Greek life is a huge financial commitment.
Please tell me you did the 20 minutes of research necessary to figure out whether this statement was actually true or not.
Most of us college students do not have two pennies to rub together, and a financial burden such as frat or sorority life would devastate our bank accounts. Events, dances, housing and gear all costs money most of us do not have at this point in our lives,
Well, I guess conjecture is an acceptable replacement for facts when trying to dissuade students from joining an organization, because FUCK IT, right?
making Greek life a very poor investment at this point in time.
You’re right, Greek Life is an investment. It’s an investment you see both immediate and long-term returns on, so long as you handle it correctly (like any other investment, ever). You know what not joining Greek Life is? Inaction. It’s nothing. You could certainly make other “investments” via clubs or whatever, but the author isn’t offering other options — he’s just telling you what not to do. People who only tell you what not to do tend to be assholes, by the way. Greek Life is an investment, probably the biggest one you could make in college, in terms of both time and money, but it’s also the one that will give you the biggest return, by far.
And speaking of money, is Greek Life really as unaffordable as the author claims? Let’s take a look.
Here’s how much it costs to live in the cheapest ISU dorm: $5,152. That’s for two semesters. That is not including meals. Add in a 14-meal traditional plan and that’s an extra $4,316 per year. That’s $9,468 that Illinois State University is charging for its cheapest dorm and a “reasonable” meal plan. That doesn’t even include actual tuition. Holy shit, that is a rip-off. No one should be paying that much total to receive an education for Illinois State University, let alone paying that much just to live in crap housing in Normal, Illinois and eat dorm food.
Now let’s compare that to a fraternity. One reader was nice enough to share his expenses with me. He lives in house at a fraternity at Illinois State University. According to him, his fraternity charges $400/mo in rent. Assuming they charge that full $400 for August through May, without prorating August or December/January, that comes out to $4,000 in room and board expenses. The reader also tells me that his meal plan with the fraternity is $2,000 a year. That’s $6,000 to live in a fraternity house, and $9,468 to live on campus at Illinois State University.
Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me? Did this guy do ANY research? I do not know if I can express how easy it was for me to get all of this information. Oh wait, yes I can, it was as easy as USING GOOGLE, ASKING QUESTIONS, AND READING NUMBERS. By the way, that’s a $3,468 difference in living cost. As far as fraternity dues go, the reader says his were about $600 a semester.
But, of course, to the author, fraternities are more expensive because DER THAT’S WHAT I HEARD FUCK IT! Not only is living in a fraternity significantly cheaper than living on campus at ISU, but it’s also comparable to living in off campus housing, such as apartments.
I guess most ISU students don’t have two pennies to rub together because their school is robbing them blind. It sounds to me like living in a fraternity house is, wait for it, the smart investment. Not only do you save a ton when all is said and done, but you get a lot of parties already paid for by your dues, and of course all the connections and charity and whatnot. The investment gives you immediate and long-term returns. Meanwhile, not making the investment actually costs you significantly more upfront, gives you less immediately, and nothing long-term. Is this even a choice? ISU students, start rushing immediately.
If that was all TL;DR, here’s the short version: The author of this piece was either too stupid to do any actual research on the subject, or he’s fabricating wildly inaccurate claims because of his bias towards Greek Life. Either way, his opinion is completely invalid at this point.
Greek life definitely has its benefits.
Yeah, a shit ton of them. Meanwhile, all the drawbacks you listed are either lies, stereotypes, aberrations, or rumors.
It’s not just pure chance that it is becoming the norm on college campuses. There are many students out there that see the potential in joining Greek life, but I just cannot find enough positives to outweigh the negatives.
Don’t worry, I did find enough positives, because I did a little bit of research and I’m not an idiot.
Greek life is not for everybody, and it is definitely not for me. If you have any doubts whatsoever in regards to Greek life, it is probably in your best interest to acknowledge those doubts and stay away from it.
What great advice! Not just for people looking to rush, but really for anyone looking to explore anything. Want to study abroad but have doubts? Eh, probably just don’t do it. Want to go to ISU but have doubts? Just go somewhere else. Don’t get more information, and don’t see things for yourself. Just trust your pessimism and do nothing. That’s the way to live life, guys.
Do not get caught up in the moment; think before you rush.
Well, you didn’t think before you wrote this, so I don’t know why you’re demanding they think before they do anything.
[via The Vidette]