In the issue of The Slate published September 30th, there was a pair of articles written for the opinion section that discussed the benefits and issues of Greek Life (which has been a heated topic of discussion for decades). While the article presented some interesting points on both sides, there were parts of Greek life that desperately need more coverage.
These articles shed plenty of light on the bad things that Greek letter organizations have done in the past at different schools, but there seemed to be few positive actions observed. You can spend all day finding isolated situations and convincing yourself that Greek life offers no value to society but this ultimately isn’t true. One could also find sufficient examples to bash American football. Look at the examples of Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson who are both facing suspension and jail time. The assumption that these two people’s actions impact the meaning of the game is largely unsupported and most fans will continue to follow the sport.
Greek letter organizations strive to build men and women of character who are capable of being contributing members of society. Their members take actives roles in supporting charities, their community, and their fellow Greeks on a day to day basis. At Shippensburg University, Greek life has had a steady positive influence on the community. Every year Greek organizations participate in our Relay for Life event, raising several thousand dollars for the cause. There are countless other programs supported by our school’s Greek organizations including the Adopt a Highway Program, Kings Kettle food pantry, and the Movember Foundation.
Another great aspect of Greek organizations is their focus on education. At Ship, members of Greek organizations are significantly more likely to achieve their goals in school and graduate with a degree. Incoming freshmen from 2003 to 2007 had an overall graduation rate of 61.7%. During that same time period, Greek students had a graduation rate of 79.7%.
While there have been isolated issues tied to Greek life at other campuses, there have been no incidents at Ship that would warrant such a pointed article against these organizations. Any contact with one of a number of credible sources on campus would have quickly shed light on the flaws to such a view point. Some great resources on campus include the office of Fraternity and Sorority life, the Inter Fraternity council, or members of any fraternities found on campus. Better yet, pick any sorority member and you will likely hear that fraternity houses at this university are not risky bets but are instead a safe place to be at.
Furthermore, Greek letter organizations are greatly watched over on a local and national scale. The organizations here at Ship face a great deal of pressure to do things right. Between the expectations of chapter advisors, the Greek life office, and nationals for each organization; there is no room for error.