The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Greeks offer networking, friendships for college students

Greeks offer networking, friendships for college students

By Mark Bauer/editor-in-chief

greeklifeWhen community college students transfer to a four-year university, they are presented with the opportunity to join millions of other college students in Greek life.

For those who know little to nothing about fraternities or sororities, some misconceptions may make the process of joining a group seem daunting, or perhaps completely unattractive.

Part of the stigma is in large part a result of how sororities and fraternities are portrayed in movies.

Though binge drinking and hazing may represent only a small percentage of the Greek population, images of Will Ferrell forcing his pledges to go through painful lengths to become members of a fraternity in Old Skool might automatically be what people picture in their minds.

“Movies are made for entertainment,” Sarah Williamson, assistant director for fraternity and sorority life at TCU, said, “Who would want to watch a movie about chapter meetings and agendas and community service and recruitment?”

Routine activities are the reality, Williamson said.

“It wouldn’t be nearly as funny as watching Van Wilder or John Belushi drink obscene amounts of alcohol, hook up with beautiful women and come up with brilliant one-liners that become common vernacular among college students,” she said.

Williamson said what is not shown in the movies is the educational programs that encourage organization members not to indulge in such behavior. 

“They also have disciplinary actions in place if they do,” she said.

Although wild parties may not be an accurate portrayal of an organization’s purpose, it is the relationships within them that are valued.

“The main purpose for the existence [of the Greek organizations] is to build friendships, to encourage academic and cultural development, to build an understanding of and commitment to social responsibility and to inspire an individual to achieve the highest qualities of personal integrity,” a local sorority alumna said anonymously.

As an adviser, the alumna has worked with a number of sororities and chapters throughout the state and across the U.S.

Greeks on campus also work to raise money and awareness for philanthropies, which are organizations’ specific charities. Some deal with breast and heart disease research while others provide funding to support those who are visually impaired.

With so many different causes, philanthropies are almost as diverse as the fraternities and sororities themselves.

“[Philanthropies] are a way to give back to the community and learn to help those less fortunate,” James Parker, assistant dean of campus life at TCU, said.

Students interested in joining an organization are required to go through a process known in the Greek world as “recruitment,” in which a period of time is designated each semester as a sort of meet-and-greet between organizations and inquiring students.

“There is usually a recruitment chair to help navigate the process,” Parker said.

When looking into these organizations, Williamson advised setting aside preconceived notions and keeping an open mind.

“Every group has something great to offer someone who is interested in joining a fraternity or sorority,” she said.

When conducting research, Williamson said to ask questions: What kind of community service do they participate in? What activities do they do each year? What are their grades like? What is their reputation on campus? What kind of opportunities will be available after graduation?

In the end, Williamson said, Greek students end up spending “countless dollars and hours for charitable contributions. They are loyal, dedicated, know how to listen and know when to stand up for the things they believe in most.”

Williamson views the Greek system as more than an extracurricular activity.

“Joining a fraternity or sorority isn’t an experience for four years,” she said. “It’s an experience for life.”

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