Editorial: Reconsider your Greek life FOMO

By The Beacon | October 11, 2017 8:14pm

The Beacon editorial board urges you to reconsider your Greek Life FOMO.

Media Credit: The Beacon / The Beacon

Depending on who you still follow from high school, your Instagram feed may or may not be blowing up with Greek life: big/little reveals, unrecognizable Greek letters, and uncomfortable references to “paddles” that you aren’t sure you want to get.  

No matter how many times you’ve rewatched the entire Greek series or fantasized about becoming sisters with Elle Woods, you might still feel like you’re missing out on Greek life. But, quite frankly, your Greek life-related FOMO isn’t worth your time. We’re lucky to not have Greek life at UP. We take its absence for granted. 

All over the country, schools with exclusive Greek organizations like fraternities and sororities are in the middle of recruitment season — a time where students visit fraternities and sororities to decide if they want to live there. The fraternities and sororities sometimes put on parties to get freshmen interested in their houses. After the recruitment process, students receive bids if a certain house wants them to join, and then go through initiation. This process can be expensive, and can exclude students who can’t afford recruitment fees and initiation fees.

During recruitment season, a time of matching neon t-shirts, overflowing kegs, compulsive group photos and “culty” recruitment videos, we take a moment of gratitude. 

Despite its failings, The Bluff has shielded us from the cringe-y rituals of Greek Life. This is, officially speaking, because of a clause in UP’s student organization policies: “Membership in all student organizations shall be open to all interested undergraduate students who meet previously approved organization requirements.” Greek Life doesn’t fit this description because it operates on the basis that it can include or exclude anyone rushing.

Sure, it’s great for some people. Was your mom a Kappa Kappa Gamma sister, too? Great. #Family #Sisterhood. There are positive aspects of Greek Life (when it’s not literally killing people) like a familial environment and ample space for networking. Many consider joining Greek Life like joining a family, which conveniently just might connect you to your future employer.

But not everyone can get in. Fraternities and sororities have the power to reject students from joining. Based on looks and money, you can gain friends in high places, producing a never-ending cycle of exclusivity and wealth. 

It’s not just the exclusivity that’s a problem, however. Sure, Greek Life can be a great thing in small doses. When the frat bro who you connected with on Linkedin hires you for your brotherhood, we’re sure you’d be grateful. But many Pilots aren’t appreciative enough of the nights they’re not pressured into partying and attending weird theme-mixers like “date and a fifth.” 

And if that’s not enough to deter you from Greek Life, it’s racist. If you look at the history of fraternities and sororities, you’ll see that Greek Life was constructed after the Civil War and specifically restricted non-whites from joining. This legacy of racism makes it no wonder that we see the worst kinds of racist chants and exclusion in Greek life. 

And it normalizes behavior as dangerous and violent as hazing. When an iconic part of your initiation process consistently hospitalizes members, it’s no wonder other violent behavior is normalized: a study in 2005 found the average frat star is 3x more likely to commit sexual assault than other undergraduate males.

Finally, it’s weird. Paddling? Really? Thank your lucky stars that UP has an all-inclusive Activities Fair rather than a rush week that leaves unchosen people feeling heartbroken, rejected and worthless.