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Get ‘em to the Greek

Students discuss their experiences with Greek life

ALLIE ENGLERT
Your friendly neighborhood Greek

Before arriving at Georgetown, when I thought of Greek life, I imagined preppy students without a care in the world other than tailgating and drinking mass quantities of alcohol. Yes, this writer must admit, I was convinced that the hilarious YouTube video “Sh*t Sorority Girls Say” was an accurate account of Greek life. I believed that Greek life centered on bizarre ritualistic meetings in secret basements where  pledges were paddled and humiliated. However, after spending a short time on Georgetown’s campus, I soon realized that Greek life wasn’t what I had observed in movies like “Legally Blonde” or “Old School .“

Georgetown’s Greek community is anything but stereotypical. I’ve found that GC’s Greek chapters focus on community service and raising money for their individual philanthropies rather than hazing, weird rituals or insincere relationships like what is generally depicted in pop culture. Ashley Booth a member of Phi Mu did not plan on joining a sorority when she came to college because of the stereotypes. She now says joining Phi Mu has been one of the best decisions she’s ever made. “Greek life is an opportunity that most miss because they accept the stereotype before getting to know the real meaning behind a sisterhood (or brotherhood).”

Mary Stallard explained that joining Kappa Delta made her “transition (into college) much easier because once I joined, I had a group to identify myself with. Not every moment as a Greek woman is perfect. It has its ups and downs but it is definitely worth it!”

The President of Georgetown’s Phi Kappa Tau chapter, Jeff Chalfant, encourages everyone to consider joining the Greek community. “When I first arrived at Georgetown I told myself I would never join a fraternity. However, my thoughts quickly changed when I met some of the men of Phi Kappa Tau. They didn’t care about me as another number to add to their roster but as an individual who they shared a lot in common with.”

Some of the philanthropic organizations supported by our Greek chapters on GC’s campus include The North American Food Drive, research for juvenile diabetes, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Big Brother Big Sisters, Toys for Tots, Alzheimer research etc. Zach White has been involved in philanthropic fundraising for the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. “I’ve put on multiple philanthropy events such as the Watermelon Bust and the 5K to support Big Brothers Big Sisters. Being a Lambda Chi has given me experience planning events on a large scale that I wouldn’t had the opportunity to do outside of Greek life.”

Also, most Greek organizations focus on academics. Nick Kelly of Pi Kappa Alpha stated that the high academic expectations have helped  many of his brothers succeed academically. Greek organizations provide tutoring opportunities, study tables and accountability partners to ensure that their members focus primarily on grades.  Additionally, Greeks are encouraged to take on leadership roles and be involved in several other organizations on campus. Nick believes there is a strong foundation of leadership in the Greek community. “Once someone is shown how to succeed by their peers, success becomes the expectation, and with that, solid leadership is soon to follow. And it has. Without a Greek organization, for me, Pi Kappa Alpha, a chance at leadership may have not been presented. This lifestyle allows one to learn how to lead and presents the opportunity to do so.”

When asked to share about their experiences within Greek life, several students spoke positively.  Samantha Whitlock, a member of Sigma Kappa, stated, “The Greek community is just that – a community. Within it I find a strong support system that encourages me and provides opportunities for friendship and social activities.”
Becca Cason of Alpha Gamma Delta offered similar insight. “By joining Alpha Gam, I gained sisters who accept me exactly the way I am. I gained friendships that will last the rest of my life and a support system that is constantly reminding me ‘you are loved.’”

Sisterhood and brotherhood are cherished by each of the Greek organizations on GC’s campus. Josh Dennison says that his experience in Kappa Alpha has helped him mature into the person he is today. “It’s been a learning process that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I love every single one of the guys in my organization… It’s nice to have people to share the gospel with, listen to my life stories, hang out with and just experience life together.”

While it is not my intention to insinuate that Greek life is for everyone or necessary to succeed in college, it is in the opinion of this Back Page writer that one shouldn’t completely rule out Greek life without investigating what GC’s chapters have to offer. While I do think that I would have enjoyed my time as a Georgetown Tiger as an independent student, Greek life has definitely enriched my four years on campus and has become an experience that, if given the opportunity, I would do all over again. Senior Evan Harrell, a member of the President’s House Association encourages students to consider what is best for them when thinking about joining a Greek organization.”Students should consult their hearts and minds and make the decisions that feel right to them. Joining a fraternity or sorority is not for everyone, but when the fit is right, you end up with lifelong friends and unforgettable memories.”

And if you don’t know, now you know, Tigas.