Do you really know what it means to go Greek? We’re here to set the record straight. We’ve talked to students across Arkansas to bring you the inside scoop on Greek life — from grades to long-term benefits (like friends and, later, jobs).
You’ve heard the stories. You’ve seen the movies. But there’s more to Greek life than you might think.
Greeks Get Good Grades
Your parents might be wary that going Greek will mean sacrificing your grades, but Greek organizations are founded on the principle of scholarship. They encourage academic success, therefore students are expected to maintain a minimum GPA to be a member. Often, a college will set a minimum GPA requirement for Greek students, and some chapters will set their bar higher than the school’s standard. Because of these high academic expectations, at most schools the average Greek GPA is higher than the non-Greek.
“The Greek community also provides a number of incentives and recognition to those Greeks who achieve academically,” said Lindsey Osborne, director of sorority life at the University of Central Arkansas.
Greeks Do Community Service
Along with academics, Greek students share a strong commitment to community service. Angelica Holmes is a Phi Mu at Lyon College and is involved with her sorority’s volunteer efforts. “Phi Mu is not only involved on campus, but we also do a lot of volunteer work and fundraisers,” she said. “Many of our sisters have put in countless hours of volunteerism … and raised thousands of dollars for our philanthropy.”
The volunteer and fundraising power of Greek organizations leaves a large impact on surrounding communities. Last year alone, Greek students at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville volunteered over 24,000 hours and donated more than $560,000 to charities.
What’s in it for you?
Going Greek adds another dimension to college life — one full of rich experiences and meaningful lessons that can contribute to your personal development.
You’ll Gain Real-World Skills
Since Greek students are involved in everything from coordinating fundraisers to organizing study groups, they walk away from college with stronger skills in leadership, interacting with others, budgeting time, managing money and balancing responsibilities.
“I’ve gained both team and leadership skills. I’ve become a better communicator, networker and more responsible,” says Kasharie Sanders, an Alpha Kappa Alpha at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. These skills can be transferred to all areas of life, and even equip you for the workforce.
You’ll Have More Job Opportunities
After graduating, you may leave your college, but you don’t leave your fraternity or sorority. You’re a member for life, and this opens the door to numerous networking opportunities.
According to Terrance Boyd, a Kappa Alpha Phi at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, networking is much easier when you share a bond of Greek brotherhood or sisterhood. "No matter where I go, if a person is in the same organization, they’ll treat you like they’ve known you your whole life,” he says.
Networking can mean meeting your future boss, too.
“I know brothers who graduated and got jobs just because they were Greek,” said Matt Knudtson of Sigma Nu at the University of Central Arkansas.
Sign Me Up!
Recruitment processes for fraternities and sororities can differ greatly depending on the chapter, the council it falls under and the school. Because of this variation, it’s best to check with your particular school to see how to get started. Once you’re familiar with the process, do your research, meet some members and find an organization that is right for you.
It’s All Greek to Me!
Bid: an invitation to be a member of a chapter. Receiving a bid is typically based on mutual selection between the potential member and fraternity/sorority.
Big brother/sister: an older member of a fraternity or sorority who serves as a mentor to new members.
Chapter: local or campus group that represents a segment of a national or international fraternity/sorority.
Deferred recruitment: recruitment cycle in which students can rush only after taking a certain number of credit hours, usually a full semester’s worth.
Legacy: a student whose direct family member (usually a sibling, parent or grandparent) is a member of a particular fraternity/sorority.
Pledge: a new member to a fraternity/sorority who has not yet been initiated.
Rush: recruitment drives by fraternities and sororities usually consisting of several meetings or events.