Time for Greeks to grow up

Carly Besser Opinion Editor

Deciding whether or not to go Greek was something I thought about when I enrolled at Murray State.

Fraternities and sororities function as support systems for members and set guidelines for what it means to be professional.

I decided not to be in a sorority, but I admire what Greek organizations provide for students who decide to take that route.

However, I have seen too many instances of Greeks behaving badly. I have witnessed mottos like “men of character” and “developers of leadership” recklessly abandoned by the very men and women who swear by them.

Drunken antics, property damage and hazing are occurrences within Greek Life that are not spoken of, but they are harsh realities.

Is throwing a bottle of vodka through the door of a private home an action of character? Is putting dead animals in the mailboxes and on the porches of other Greek residences indicative of leadership?

I respect and recognize the benefits of joining a Greek organization. Some of the most involved people on campus are in a fraternity or sorority. I have had the pleasure of working with Greeks at The Murray State News.

Many political leaders, CEOs and people of influence were Greek in their college days. But in order to reap the professional and developmental benefits of being Greek, one must embody its values.

These immature pranks make it too far past the Interfraternity Council, and some serious cases are never reported because of fear that it will look bad on the victimized organization and its members.

It seems that we are turning a blind eye to the damage caused by rowdy brothers and sisters. By damage, I don’t just mean a broken window or stolen composite – I mean the damage of reputation that Greeks will be subjected to if this continues to occur.

The media has been known to set a negative stereotype for Greek organizations across the country. I have read too many stories on what pledges have to go through to be inducted, the liberal use of “date rape drugs” at fraternity parties and the intense rivalries.

Just because these stories make it to our headlines does not mean our organizations have to embody those stereotypes.

As members of professional organizations, members of fraternities and sororities that commit these jokes (and crimes) should take a step back and really reflect on what it means to be Greek.

Set a positive example for students who plan on rushing. Parents shouldn’t have to be leery when their son or daughter announces they want to go Greek. They should be proud that their children want to take the initiative to become a more well-rounded person.

If you are in a fraternity or sorority that hasn’t been acting as maturely as it should, I hope you will take this perspective from someone who isn’t Greek seriously.

Non-Greeks see students proudly wear their letters on campus and announce that they’re Greek in those awkward icebreakers on the first day of class.

Make your organization one that you can be proud of. Grow up.

 

Column by Carly Besser, Opinion Editor

5 Comments on "Time for Greeks to grow up"

  1. Logan 'Lo' Davis | April 11, 2014 at 4:06 pm |

    Your article makes a valid point – fraternities and sororities are organizations founded on values – values often forgotten and abandoned in times of stupidity and immaturity. However, the one thing your article lacks is proof. Unfortunately, all of your claims are unfounded without the mention of actual events and actions. Yes, fraternity and sorority members do stupid things, but please show me the statistics and facts that stupid actions are limited to only fraternity and sorority students. Instead of pointing the finger at Greek organizations and condemning them for not fitting the mold you think they should, these organizations need to be challenged to be more and set the example as premiere values-based leadership organizations.

  2. Kimberly Ashton Horne | April 11, 2014 at 4:56 pm |

    I agree. I would like to see a break down of Greek vs. Independent stupidity.

  3. I agree, Logan. And the last line of this article, "Make your organization one that you can be proud of. Grow up," really perturbs me. I spent 5 years in the Greek system at Murray and was never not proud of my organization and I'd be willing to bet most other members feel the same way. And personally, college aged kids have the remainder of their lives to 'Grow up' as this author feels the need to tell them to do. If it were my place to offer advice, I'd tell them to stay young, enjoy yourselves, stay out later than you'd planned, drink one more beer, sit on the porch and enjoy the limited time left with your friends, take a few more unplanned road trips and act like a complete fool, because after graduation opportunities like that are few and far between. To tell these people to "Grow up" is about as bad advice as you can give, in my opinion.

  4. You hear about the little percentage of Greek organizations that do this and then blow up about it. Something most independents do because they don't understand what truly happens behind closed doors.

  5. Cody Parrish | April 12, 2014 at 2:28 am |

    I'm not in a fraternity and I can't say I agree with this. You're not going to hear about the money raised for charities.. community service hours put in.. or even the awards that are given to members at certain events.. because it's not gossip worthy. I do, however, agree that a lot of fraternities and sororities need to take a step back and ask themselves if they are being "gentlemen" and respectable "ladies" because when these organizations were created it wasn't about over the top parties and a bunch of bros running around blasting vulgar music in their trucks that their parents "tricked out" for them. In this day and age though, there isn't much classiness left and you would think these brothers and sisters would take more honor and realize the amount of prestige that comes with being Greek. I for one would rather be apart of a non-collegiate fraternity or brotherhood because of this reason. There's nothing wrong with getting a little rowdy with your brothers and sisters but all Greek chapters everywhere should re-evaluate the direction in which most are headed.. strive to be the organizations they once were and quit worrying about the numbers and politics.. if the fraternities around here were a little more exclusive I'd be more willing to join but fraternities aren't really about standards anymore specifically at the smaller universities..

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