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Greek is the word

September 19, 2013

 

ALLISON EAST
News Editor

EAST

EAST

 

Forty-eight percent of all U.S. presidents, 70 percent of all U.S. Congressmen/women, 68 percent of doctors and 72 percent of lawyers all have one thing in common. Before their blazers, ties and white coats, they wore Greek letters.

 

But what is Greek life?

 

It is not, as described by Urban Dictionary, paying for friends. As defined by the actual Merriam-Webster dictionary, a fraternity (which many “sororities” actually are) is “a group of people associated or formally organized for a common purpose, interest or pleasure.”

 

These organizations get bad reputations because a few individuals tarnish the whole.

 

When 19-year-old David Bodenberger, a freshman at Northern Illinois University, died from an alleged hazing incident in November 2012, online commentators on ABC’s website attacked not only the fraternity or the school but Greek life in general.

 

“If you feel the need to join a frat or sor to feel socially acceptable, you need to take self-awareness courses and keep walking,” posted HappyVanCamper.

 

Well, Happy, I am actually spending my Saturday at a self-awareness course — one provided by my “sor.”

 

What outsiders and critics do not realize about Greek life is that we stand for more than parties and bad decisions. Greek-letter organizations are founded on something real and meaningful, and though we may sometimes stray from those values, we have rituals, rules and national offices that serve as constant reminders.

 

Our national offices set requirements for excellence that help us become stronger leaders and better members of the community. Most of us have to meet a GPA requirement and many have to complete a certain number of community service hours.

 

At Tech, the Greek women’s average GPA has been higher than all women’s average for more than 12 quarters straight. Fraternity men have had similar success.

 

“But, Allison, aren’t you just paying for friends?”

 

No, we are not. People get tired of their friends, but after more than two weeks of a grueling but successful recruitment, I am still not tired of my sisters.

 

Our friendships transcend gossip and late-night hangouts. They are rooted in a bond no one from the outside can understand.

 

As far as leadership goes, I currently serve as SGA president and I have held various other titles while at Tech, but serving on my sorority’s executive board has taught me skills I never even realized existed. Managing an organization is one thing. Managing a sorority of more than 75 women is another. It is not easy.

 

But it is all worth it. Working to keep the required GPA, completing service hours, attending events and managing these women have all played a part in making me a stronger leader and a stronger person.

 

Allison East is a senior history and journalism major from Vicksburg, Miss. who serves as news editor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to ace007@latech.edu.

 

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