Almost as popular as the idea of pursuing a major and studying in college is the idea of Greek life. For years, Hollywood movies, TV shows and the news have all depicted Greek life as a vital part of the college experience. Such representations may lead college students to feel as though they are missing out if they do not pledge a fraternity or sorority.
However, students at Salisbury University agree that any student can have a great college experience regardless if they join Greek life or not.
While Greek life has influenced people’s personal college experience, many members of Greek organizations believe it is not a vital element in terms of having the best college experience possible.
Freshman Olivia Lindekens, who recently joined Delta Gamma, is happy she did, but still has friends outside the Greek life sphere.
“I had a great experience last semester and I would have had the same this semester and next semester [without being in the sorority],” Lindekens said. “I know people who aren’t in fraternities or sororities, and I don’t think it matters.”
However, while not crucial to the college experience, joining Greek Life can offer the opportunity to meet new people in different housing, grade levels and majors. Greek life is a smaller community within the SU student body, and there are many events that only Greek members participate in.
Therefore, if one is seeking new connections, Greek life may help to achieve these goals says Sigma Pi member Brian Ricketts.
“If you have any interest at all, I would definitely say go through the process and give it a shot,” Ricketts said. “If you want to meet people, try it out. It might not be for you [or] it might be for you.”
Even more, joining Greek Life also provides new experiences that one may not receive in college otherwise.
Many of the sororities and fraternities have philanthropies where they hold events to raise money for a certain cause, like Women's Wellness Initiative (Alpha Sigma Tau) or Service for Sight (Delta Gamma). This gives new members the opportunity to participate in unique experiences and support different communities.
AST recently held Mock Rock, where different on-campus organizations prepare dances and lip sync in order to raise money, with this year’s proceedings given to Village of Hope and Habitat for Humanity.
“Just doing things like Mock Rock [are] pretty fun to do. Stuff that is school-related but also not school-related is also fun, so it’s been a good experience so far,” Ricketts said.
One perceivable downside of being in a fraternity or sorority, however, is the time required, especially as a new member.
Many Greek life organizations require new members to memorize facts about the sorority or fraternity, like when it was founded, the names of all the members and the code of conduct, or how they are expected to act when representing their chapter.
Members are also expected to participate in a variety of different events. As a new member of Delta Gamma, Lindekens has noticed the impact being in a sorority has had on her time and schedule.
“Right now, we have meetings every Monday and Tuesday, so those take up two hours each day and then we have to do other stuff for other people,” Lindekens said. “I would say that a lot of my time now, this semester, would be with my sorority.”
Still, Greek Life is not essential to the college experience.
Many students find other extracurriculars and events that allow them to both meet new people and gain new experiences, without the pressure of being in a sorority or fraternity. Many join club or intramural sports, while others find their place in one of many SU clubs.
One such student who does not feel as though Greek Life is for her is Claire Heartlove.
“I just feel like I already have a pretty solid group of friends, and it wasn’t something I was ever really interested in, so I just never joined,” Heartlove stated.
Heartlove and her friends attend a variety of activities around campus that are offered by organizations such as SOAP, as well as different clubs such as the SU Food Pantry and Honors Student Association.
“I think there are plenty of on-campus events that you can go to that aren’t fraternity- or sorority-related. They have trivia night every Thursday that my friends go to, and sometimes we will go see the movies,” Heartlove said.
It is ultimately up to each individual student on whether or not they should join a sorority or fraternity. While it may help some to make connections and gain new experiences, others are just fine finding friends and events outside of Greek life.
All in all, Greek life or no Greek life, college can be four years of new experiences and relationships.
By LAURA AMRHEIN
Featured photo: Salisbury University Greek life image.