Recruitment pressure takes away from healthy college experience
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By Tolu Salako
Editorial Page Editor
Though I have lived in the states for more than eight years and should be fully accustomed to the American culture and all aspects of it, I am not, especially when it comes to college Greek life and all that comes with it.
Claiming to promote volunteerism, selflessness and long-lasting friendships, I cannot help but see the evident negatives and “cult-like” organization that a sorority and fraternity is. From hazing to excessive partying to the stories we hear about fraternity brothers demeaning others, I do not find it completely absurd to feel a certain way about this lifestyle.
I was never really exposed to the “importance” of Greek life to others until I hit my junior year. From SAT/ACT score, class rank and an unlimited amount of homework in AP U.S. history and physics, Greek life was still a lingering subject matter back then, but not to the extent of it is now.
It was not until I was sitting in my third period class last semester that I realized that so many 17 and 18-year-old girls were so invested in this Greek process. Weird terminology was constantly thrown around and I just stared in complete and utter confusion as they tried to convince me that I should rush when I go to either SMU or TCU and how all of the traditions were completely normal.
They told me how they have planned to save so much money during the summer to buy new outfits when they rush to impress the girls. They recite the Greek alphabet and tell me that three of those letters pretty much determines what was considered the “good” or “bad” sororities/fraternities, each with a different reputation regarding each college. They told me that I should not be a Tri-Delt because I was not blonde enough, as if I were thoroughly concerned that I was considering the idea of rushing. They told me that hazing happens, but it is not “that bad.” I mean, circling fat on a girl’s body after she is forced to sit on a working dryer, making a girl feel less of physical self is completely normal and not “that bad,” right?
It was as if it were do or die for them. And it almost sounded like they could not imagine a life without the greek. Once I splurted out that I was “not rushing” and I still plan on attending a college where 45 percent of the student body participate in Greek life, my third period AP Macroeconomics table looked at me in awe and utter confusion and continued to tell me how my mindset on this issue was completely wrong.
It was wrong for me to think that making weird hand signs in all photos, monogramming any inanimate object that I owned and paying thousands of dollars each semester to live with 20 other girls in a sorority house where drama was inevitable and getting hazed for the sake of creating “lifetime friendships.”
In general, it as if not many consider or are wary of the potential hazing rituals that these soon to be college freshman may go through. Some of these have led to serious physical and even emotional damage and in some cases, death. When one hears “sorority” or “fraternity,” , sure philanthropy is a common term used to define such a lifestyle, but in reality, the essence of the greek lifestyle is mostly associated with excessive partying and preparation for formals.
I hear about all the claimed benefits of joining a sorority or fraternity and though I may not fully understand why students spend over a year stressing about rush or why students will succumb to all these hazing activities and practically degrade themselves in front of strangers, I understand that friendship and a sense of family is important to young adults in college. But honestly, it is all Greek to me.