By Brooke Schultz
With the campus buzzing about rush, you might be wondering whether Greek life is for you. You might hear members discuss their experiences within their organization or new members talkabout what it was like to go through the process of joining.
Deciding whether or not you want to rush a sorority or fraternity can be a difficult choice when you don’t know the pros or cons of being involved in Washington College’s Greek life. While it can seem like a lot of fun, it’s also a lot of work.
Senior Nicole Blanco of Zeta Tau Alpha rushed in the spring of 2014 as a freshman. “I decided to go out for rush because I was not very involved in the college community, and I really wanted a way to meet new people,” she said.
Both of Blanco’s parents and her older brother had been involved with Greek life at their own colleges, so she knew what kind of opportunity this could be.
Blanco believes that being in a sorority holds many benefits. “I think a great thing about being in a sorority is finding a group of friends that you feel completely comfortable with. It means everything to know that you have such a strong support system filled with sisters who are always there for you,” she said.
This strong support system is what brought senior member of Phi Delta Theta Ian Briggs back to WC. Briggs took a year off after his sophomore year and went back home. He said that he would not have come back to WC if it was not for his brothers.
“I knew that I had support. I knew that people cared about me, regardless,” he said. “The social aspect I think is underrated.”
As for balancing being in a fraternity with school, Briggs said, “I think with just about anything it can be difficult to find a balance in life. Some people do it better than others.”
Briggs said that members of the fraternity are able to keep their grades up with the support of their brothers and their study hall hours, but they do have a lot of responsibilities including their positions within their organization. There’s a lot going on to get involved in.”
Blanco agreed that there are a lot of time commitments when participating in Greek life. “We have weekly chapter meetings as well as philanthropy and sisterhood events throughout the year. Sometimes it can be hard to balance school work and extracurricular activities like Greek life. It takes some getting used to at the beginning, but eventually, it becomes second nature.” Sisters are also given time to focus on academics during busy times like finals week.
Junior John “JT” Tieder joined Kappa Sigma the spring of his freshman year to get more involved with campus, and for him, the pros outweigh the cons.
“Being a part of Kappa Sigma offers many benefits including increased fellowship, assistance with schoolwork from other brothers, and academic scholarships to help pay for college,” he said.
“Personally, I have never found myself struggling to balance being in Greek life with other responsibilities. Being in Greek life helped me become a better man, and I cannot imagine what my life would be like had I not decided to join Kappa Sigma. It has taught me valuable life lessons and helped create a sense of belonging.”
Sophomore Kirsten Moore joined Alpha Omicron Pi her freshman year and agreed that being a part of the organization provided her with a strong community and added friendships.
After being in the organization for a year, she said, “It’s a lot more of a commitment than people think. You have to be a part of all the charity event and all of the social events. You have to be that helping hand because you are a part of a philanthropic organization.”
Junior Bryan Riley of Theta Chi mentioned that their fraternity was awarded the “loving cup” for being the fraternity with the highest average GPA on campus.
He said, “The brothers are expected to get involved with the fraternity, but that involvement shouldn’t hinder someone’s academic ability or other involvement on campus.”
Like everything else in life, joing Greek life has its benefits and drawbacks. While you may be gaining a lot of friends and a strong community by joining Greek life, it’s important to remember that being a part of it also requires time and attention to philanthropies and the overall organization’s well-being.
Deciding on how those pros and cons will affect you can help in determining your decision of whether or not to join.
By Brooke Schultz