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Letter to the editor: Greek life does important work

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Letter to the editor:

Recently, Greek life has been under fire in the national and local news. Although the issues in these articles are ones that need to be addressed, the media fails to mention the good work that Greek life men and women do, especially philanthropy and community service efforts. 

Each sorority and fraternity chapter hosts fundraisers and awareness events focusing on a certain philanthropy or cause that is close to their heart. Last year, the Greek community at Ohio State raised more than $532,661.26 for philanthropies and completed 55,308 hours of community service. This is no small accomplishment and is done by a passionate group of people who are stereotyped every day, but still succeed. 

The OSU All-Greek GPA has been above the all undergraduate GPA for past 34 consecutive academic terms, showing that Greeks not only excel in service, but also achieve in the classroom. We adhere to standards of excellence and attend events that are created to bring diverse conversations and topics into the community. 

Hazing is not a part of Greek ritual, but the bond of sisterhood and brotherhood is. Our letters do not define us but they can inspire us to become better college men and women. 

Through the ideals and values of our Greek chapters, we are able to grow as individuals, citizens and students. When all the media focus on are the negatives, the positives are forgotten. Greek life members are leaders in academics and in service who come together to create change. 

We urge our peers to consider the positive effects that Greek life has on the campus and local community and to not be drawn in by sensationalist headlines about a small minority of individuals.

Sarah Perry and Brooke Sayre

Delta Delta Delta Sorority

Third-year in public affairs and fourth-year in journalism

perry.366@osu.edu and sayre.128@osu.edu

21 comments

  1. Hazing is still a huge part of greek life, regardless of the community service and funds raised. The culture of drinking and drugs is not a myth and finally needs to be brought under control on all campuses.

  2. The fallacy in this letter is the implication that people would do no community service or philanthropy if it were not for the greek system. That’s just an invalid implication.

  3. My roommate is currently “binding” by completing her task of sleeping with a certain amount of guys from the brother frat before the year is done. How is that sisterhood? Another sorority lines girls up and spits on them and tells them how ugly they are. This is not okay no matter how much philanthropy you do. You can’t pretend like hazing doesn’t happen. Some sororities are amazing and embody sisterhood in every way, but there are some that should be banished from campus.

  4. This letter would have validity if service and academics were encouraged and practiced as much as binge drinking and hazing was by our small greek community.

  5. *”bonding”

  6. Dear “Nogreek,”

    If you’re not Greek, then how would you know hazing is a huge part of Ohio State’s sorority and fraternity culture?

    Thanks.

  7. hannah – do you not think people in Greek life have people outside their sorority/frat they confide in? I could talk about horror stories I’ve heard from girlfriends in them especially. I find it bizarre that there are so many girls within the sorority who do not get along or even talk to their “sisters”. Sounds like paying to participate in a bunch of high school drama.

  8. Like Tom said, the big issue with this argument is that it assumes that there are not non-Greek students participating and making the same difference. There are hundreds of community service organizations on this campus which SOLELY do community service work and truly do lots of good for the community and world. These organizations have many students participate, have countless hours of community service, and make a large difference without any forms of hazing, drinking, or other negative associations. Yes, Greek life isn’t all bad, but when so much of it is, why is it worth keeping it around when you can take those same people, split them into the hundreds of other organizations that exist on campus for community service and do the same amount of good without the bad? When’s the last time you heard of Habitat for Humanity hazing or throwing wild parties with very unsafe practices? It simply does not happen in these organizations. Greek life may do some good as far as community service goes, but the fact that there is hazing, there are wild parties, and they facilitate a generally unsafe atmosphere, I do not see any benefit to Greeks over the many other community service based organizations which form these same bonds of friendship, do the same (or arguably more) good in the community, and do all of this in a safe environment.

  9. Yes, Greek life is social just as much as they are philanthropic or academic. We DO have sober socials with fraternities and even other sororities. This is a great way to meet other leaders in the community. Also, our “wild parties” are SO much more safe than off campus parties. IFC and PHA sanctions every alcoholic event we have. They check the party to make sure there is food, emergency phone numbers, nonalcoholic beverages, and a safe environment. At the door everyone is IDed to make sure they are 21 so they can drink. During football block, there is always security to make sure the event is safe. Also, if we have an event off campus at a rented out bar, a bus is always provided. We HAVE to take the bus each way and this guarantees that drunk driving will never happen. I have never felt unsafe at a Greek party. On the other hand, non Greek parties do not always have these sanctions. I have felt unsafe at many non Greek parties, but that’s just my opinion.
    Also, saying that there are community service organizations on campus that don’t drink, yes that can be true. But those members WILL most likely still go out and drink on the weekends, sometimes in an unsafe manner.
    I’m almost done, I swear. I am in a PHA sorority. I have NEVER been pressured to do anything I didn’t want to do. I have NEVER been hazed in any way. I have lots of friends in other sororities, and they have never been hazed either. We are not all bad. If Greek life isn’t for you, that is totally fine. But it doesn’t mean that it’s okay for you to think all of Greek life should be abolished if you’ve never been on the inside of it. It’s like saying all OSU sports teams should be taken away if say the rugby team was convicted of hazing. It’s just not a logical conclusion.

  10. If you’re that worried about the way Greek life is portrayed then do your part to rid Greek life of the fraternities and sororities that give Greek life a bad name. Yes, Greek does good things in the community and is good for networking, but by downplaying the hazing and other unsafe practices that give Greek life a negative perception you are not making the hazing and unsafe practices go away. If you really want to get rid of the negative perception of Greek life then Greek life needs to condemn those that do things to give it a negative perception I.e. Do your part to get rid of hazing instead of pretending it’s not there. Otherwise you are just perpetuating the negative perception of Greek life.

  11. The Greek system MAY do some small amount of philanthropy, but why not?

    I mean, Mommy and Daddy are paying to keep their children separated and precious from the rest of the peasants on campus. Got to have some legitimizing excuse for the existence of the greek system, so we play the philanthropy card, which every administrator here knows is code for what the parents have already donated to make sure the university tends to look the other way.

    Whatever small amount of philanthropy that does get accomplished is destroyed by the exact kind of “we’re special” arguments the authors of this childish diatribe thought was so important to point out.

    Higher GPA than the average? You have the means to pay to belong to a special club. Is it surprising that you probably, on average, all come from higher performing high school that gave you advantages others in the state didn’t have? The philanthropy numbers? What does that amount to on average? Maybe a thousand dollars per greek student? I’ve raised tens of thousands myself this year, and know other non affiliated students doing really amazing work without the need to “belong” to any other group in order to have the impetus to do so.

    Look up any sorority’s current pic and count the level of “diversity” they have.
    We toss a lot of cash around at the University for diversity initiatives, while we also allow these enclaves of elitist, classist children to remain in the same cliques they are used to at their suburban high schools they originated from. Do as we say not as we do.

    Then take a close look at USG and see how much the greek system OWNS student government on campus. Do students who choose not to be in the greek system even have a chance at running for USG President? On a campus of 35k, how is it that the vast majority of free thinking undergrads don’t rise up against being controlled by a minority students that have chosen to separate themselves from the community?

    Or start taking note of how many former greek members (often coincidentally also having served on USG) have jobs in Student Life. Now go ask some of their co-workers how awful it is to have to work for entitled brats that can’t do any real work but spout off the usual “OSU is my life, I bleed Scarlet and Gold” BS talking points.

    I’ve been embarrassed since day one that OSU puts so much time and energy into keeping these socio-economic classist organizations around. How much money could be saved if Student Life closed down the offices associated with managing them? How much per capita is spent dealing with these students off campus vs any other off campus student? Guess what, dear authors, an enormous amount of money is invested in babysitting your little clubs for the sole purpose of ensuring you don’t embarrass this University any further than you already have done. Any gains you make in philanthropy are negated by the cost of loss of reputation caused by the results of your little “sisterhood” activities.

    Honestly, as Buckeyes all, we can do a lot better than this. OSU isn’t about self segregating ourselves into special protected groups. Its about getting on the same level with each other and learning through experience, changing persecutive by breaking down barriers… not helping to maintain them by supporting them from within.

    We need to do away with the Greek system entirely on campus. They perpetuate the classist, racist, elitist stereotypes that we ought to be working to do away with on a STATE University campus.
    You want the greek life experience? Go to private school. We’re not going to miss you.

  12. Greek life has above average gpa’s???? Hmmm oh yeah I remember a sorority sista telling me about the large amount of old exams they had on file in the house.

  13. For everyone commenting about the parties… you’re all making the assumption that rest of the student body does not engage in these activities as well, which we all know is false. Also students who are engaged in greek life many times tend to be those individuals who are more involved on campus and in many other organizations. In fact, the last 3 USG presidents have been a part of greek life. My final point is that there are all kinds of organizations who also have issues with a few bad apples ruining it for everyone. Many college bands have had extreme hazing allegations and incidents that have resulted in deaths and other horrible consequences but there has not been a public outcry to end those… And Carl, do not play the mommy and daddy card, there is a huge amount of people I know in greek life paying for their own college and own dues and everything in between. Stop making assumptions about something you know nothing about and only have information from the biased news media outlets.

  14. Dear Carl,
    If you believe that all Greek students have their parents pay their dues and donate to their causes, you are severely misinformed. Yes, some Greek members come from families who are very financially stable, but there are many MANY members who paid their own way through the years in their organization. I, myself, took classes full time, was involved in several organizations on campus, assisted a professional program with research, and also worked 15 hours a week. I had a full plate during undergrad, but managed to earn scholarships and work for my chapter dues. I kept a 3.3 GPA over 4 years and was admitted to an amazing professional program here at OSU I came from a small hometown and graduated from a public high school in rural Ohio. My parents, one is a nurse and one is a self employed farmer, not exactly the elitist lifestyle you describe.

    My philanthropic efforts were also very sound. Over 4 years I can gladly say that I raised over 5k individually through personal letters and thousands more with the events we put on as a chapter. My parents, donated a simple $25 a year to the organization I love so much.
    Diversity also does exist in these organizations at osu. There are many professional Greek chapters and multicultural chapters. In my Greek family alone, I was blessed with an African American women, and also a women of Asian descent. My chapter also had other women who were African american, asian, and even a women from Italy. Women who are catholic, methodist, jewish, and athiest. Heterosexual women, homosexual women, and even bisexuals women. Many of these women I may not have met or become true friends with if it were not for this organization which we all found a common bond and love for.

    Many Greek members are leaders of organizations because of the confidence and skills we have learned through our Greek organizations. Our chapters give us support and confidence to raise our voice and share our opinions. I was a strong individual before, but after going out of my comfort zone and joining Greek life, I can honestly say I am a much more confident and independent women.

    I would personally like to challenge you to truly get to know multiple people in Greek life. The assumptions you made to Greek life as a whole were rude and degrading. Look up some of the purposes of these organizations. They were created for good and to strengthen each other. Yes, these organizations have parties, yes the public hears about the unfortunate events that happen in Greek life, but how often do you hear about the good. Do you hear about the brothers or sisters that surround a fellow member with support when going through a rough time, such as financial troubles, emotional instability, school stress, or even family or friend loss? It is unfortunately true, that from the outside looking in, you can never truly understand it and from the inside looking out, you can never truly explain it.

    If you have any questions about Greek life, I’m sure if you asked a member they would be willing to share because many people are misinformed just as I believe you are.

  15. “AN African american” (one WHOLE African American?!), someone “from Italy” and even “a woman of asian decent”?
    Color me embarrassed Dear Carl… whatever was I thinking?
    Maybe by 2020 you’ll work your way up to two WHOLE African Americans, three asians, and (dare I hope for this) maybe even a card carrying, burka wearing Muslim?! (shudder)

    Clearly the greek system is a model for diversity!
    Why do we even need a diversity office when your charter has two whole women of color right now, in 2015?

    The fact that you don’t have a clue what an elitist, entitled imbecile you are speaks volumes agains your argument.

    (Oh, and I do know the greek system well… more than I’d care to, honestly, from the inside, which is why I can speak with authority on the subject)

  16. I’m not the same person that addressed you before, but here are my two cents.
    The fact is, diverse women rarely go through PHA recruitment. Unfortunately, that’s just a fact. However, just because someone is of a different race, they will never be turned down for membership in my sorority. Each year, more and more different kinds of people are starting to go through recruitment. We ARE making strides towards having a more diverse environment. Also, the girl above me was talking about her “family” in her sorority, which probably has 10 members tops. Our sorority has well over 15 “diverse” women because they fit in with our beliefs and ideals.
    This is very similar in the way a lot of Caucasian women don’t necessarily rush NPHC or MCGC sororities. PHA is really trying to recruit girls from all different backgrounds in recent years, which I think is great.
    Again, Carl, unless you are a member of my sorority, you can not speak with authority of the “bad” we do. Because frankly there isn’t any. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with Greek life but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have fulfilling and enriching experiences with it.

  17. Still just circular arguments… “diverse students just don’t pledge” but thats not any fault of the whitewashed greek system at all. Nothing to do with notorious and all too often racist acts perpetuated by greeks across the country. But the fact that all of you are 95% white is just a coincidence I suppose?

    Here’s the thing… have your little white kids club if you like.
    The rest of the student body should not have to pay for it, at a state run institution, via our tuition and fees going to support an entire office that exists just to manage your poor behavior.
    Grow up and find a way to get by without having to belong to a group that is homogenized cloned versions of yourself. Or don’t. But either way, don’t make me subsidize your racist, elitist club.

  18. By downplaying hazing and not speaking out against the hazing that happens you are as guilty as them. Never once have seen a Greek organization speak out against hazing even though it is a big problem in their community and continues to give Greek life a bad reputation.

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