By Ariel Chicklis
Fall recruitment for fraternities and sororities is in full swing. But along with the letters that we see them wearing around campus, there is a stigma attached.
“Cult and virgin sacrifices, crazy parties, lots of booze; you know, ‘Animal House’ stereotypes,” said Nick Moreau, a senior at Fitchburg State. “People’s perception have a lot to do with that movie and the media.”
But how much of that is true? And what do college students do to avoid the negative connotations attached to their fraternities and sororities?
“Well for one thing, we all have to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA,” says Mary Darling, a junior at FSU. She went on to say that maintaining a GPA is imperative in all three sororities and falling below that grade-point average could result in suspension from positions within her organization.
Darling says the idea that people in Greek life are so preoccupied by parties that they let their grades slip is false. “We are the same as any other college student, we struggle to keep our grades high but we also have incentives to keep them above a 2.5, because we all want to remain in good standing with our chapters,” says Darling.
Shane Franzen is the advisor for Greek life on campus, and he has his own idea of what the common perceptions of fraternities and sororities are. “They party, they haze, and every single one of them is promiscuous,” says Franzen. But, he was quick to add, these stereotypes are “totally false.” Franzen states that the Greek-life community disproves the stigmas “through philanthropies, joint activities with other organizations, and pouring time into helping others.”
Each Greek organization supports a philanthropic group. RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network), the Robbie Page Memorial Foundation, and the Sam Spady Foundation are a few of the charities that they spend countless hours raising money for each year. In addition to this, the Greek organizations engage in 3- and 5-mile walks to raise awareness for heart disease, suicide prevention, breast cancer, and sexual abuse. “Sororities and fraternities at Fitchburg State University are the best group of students that I have had the privilege of working for and with,” says Franzen.
Julie Fontana of Sigma Sigma Sigma states, “We try to avoid stereotypes by getting involved and showing people that we are not what they think we are. We are just a group of brothers and sisters living on campus.” Samantha Santos, a member of Alpha Sigma Tau, agrees. “We wear our letters proudly, raise money for charity, volunteer at events, give our time, but people don’t see that, they only believe what they see in movies about Greek life, they never pay attention to all the good we do,” she said.
They admit that some do party, but they will also remind you that they too are college students just like everyone else. “Greek life gave me the confidence to come out of my shell and go to a social gathering where I did not know anyone,” said Santos. She added that going out at night is a mere fraction of all the things that they do within their organizations. It is “upholding the standards of scholarship and helping within the community” that Santos says she remembers most fondly.
Mike O’Malley of Sigma Pi says that he has found a strong brotherhood within his fraternity that is compared to the one he found in the military, and it is a bond that was built on trust and through the activities that they participate in daily helping out different organizations and charities.
The Greek community on campus is much more than what is often depicted in the movies. They are a group of students that are committed to academic excellence and philanthropic activities within the community. Sorority recruitment continues throughout September; fraternity recruitment is also taking place throughout September and into early October.