Today: Feb 29, 2024

Focusing on the benefits of going Greek

Susan Zarnowski
President of Greek Life Council

Top 10 Excuses for Not Joining a Sorority

1. I can’t afford it.

2. My parents don’t want me to join.

3. I’ve got to focus on my studies.

4. Upperclassmen don’t join sororities.

5. I don’t want to live in a sorority house.

6. I don’t want to be one of those “stereotypical sorority girls.”

7. I don’t have the time.

8. I’ve got other friends already.

9. I don’t want to buy my friends.

10. I don’t want to get hazed.

I know how you may feel as you read these excuses and say, “these are my ‘reasons’ too.”  I felt the same way, and now I am vice president of Kappa Delta Xi sorority and a two-term president for the Greek Life Council. I was scared of the time commitment, my grades, my other friends, and feeling like I am buying friendships. What I found, however, was the best experience any college student could ask for. Going Greek is worth it. I found people who understood my fears, and realized they had those fears too, and got through it. I found a community that wanted me to balance my sorority commitment with the rest of my life. I found a community who put academics first, and advocated – you are a student first. I entered into a new member education process that taught me how to balance my time, my outside friends, academics, my job, and most importantly, an experience that gave me meaning.

When you pay dues, you invest in your future, your long term success, and in a place that you will call home–a family that exists after graduation. I felt these pretenses before I joined in 2007, but you don’t know the outcome until you try. Every semester, Sal Rizza hosts a Hazing Workshop, educating organizations and new members that hazing does not exist on campus and you will not be harmed. His workshop educates potential new members of any Greek organization that hazing allegations are taken seriously, and that the law is followed as a new member process begins. So cross out #10, Sal Rizza’s got your back on hazing.

What’s even better is that houses don’t exist on Southern’s campus, like they do down south.  Southern does not have a Greek Row, so you can cross out excuse #5 if that is holding you back. It’s inevitable for brothers and sisters to live together, because as we invest in something greater, we find the best people to share our lives and living situations with.

Maybe you feel like you are buying your friends. Well I don’t pay my friends enough for the support and learning experiences they have given me. Does your immediate group of friends run business meetings, raise money for a charity, or participate in community service events held on campus or in the New Haven community? Probably not. Part of buying in is giving back.  Everyone always creates excuses for not doing something, so finding a balance to your Greek commitment and friendships can still exist. So check off excuses numbers 7, 8, and 9, because you will learn time management skills, and I promise you will find a balance.

If you feel like you just can’t afford it, guess what, Greeks have payment plans. We understand you are a student and we work with you. Greeks have treasurers who stay on top of finances and work out payment plans for you. These treasurers have been advised through leadership retreat on paperwork, processing, and finding a balance for you to join. So check off #1 if that’s your excuse. We work for you, and understand any economic situation. So don’t rule out money until you try it and find your fit. We become your family, and families support each other.

Everyone should focus on their studies. You came here to be a student first, right? Well guess what, so did Greeks. We came to Southern to be the best students we could be, and we hold our own study hours and help you excel as an individual as well. The best part is that there are two Greek honor societies–Gamma Sigma Alpha and Order of Omega–for upperclassmen who receive a 3.5 or higher grade point average. You can focus on your studies, and get rewarded for them, too, by going Greek. So check off #3–we are students too who focus on their studies.

If your parents don’t want you to join, I’m positive a Greek would reach out to assure them it’s worth it. They can even call Sal Rizza, the associate director of Student Life, and advisor of Greek Life for any questions they have regarding going Greek. Check off #2, Sal Rizza’s got your back, again. Plus you’re 18, right? I’m pretty sure you can legally make your own decisions.

Now onto the best excuses–upperclassmen don’t join, and stereotypes. Upperclassmen do join, and make some of the biggest impacts because of their knowledge and experience. There is a myth that you only can join as a first semester freshman, wrong! You can be a member at any stage in your undergraduate and possibly even your graduate career. You need to figure out when the time is right, when can you balance this commitment? Upperclassmen rock when they join. They create the right balance in any number class. So cross out that excuse. You will find your niche.

Oh, stereotypes. They existed in high school, too. What stereotypes come to mind when you think of a sorority girl? OK, hold that thought, and I will introduce you to the presidents of the six sororities on campus. I’m positive none of them match the movies. Don’t you love the influence TV and movies have on us? Every Greek organization possesses a personality, and it’s up to you to find the personality that you fit best with. What makes you think you will be a stereotype–giving back to the community, raising money for a charity, getting a chair position? Those are the positive stereotypes we do not think of. I felt the same way, but you need to find the personality that fits you to have the best and most fulfilling sorority experience possible.

Now that all your excuses were answered, what’s stopping you? See you Feb. 2 at “Meet the Greek” in the Student Center Ballroom. The show starts at 8 p.m. You can find your future family, people who fit into your personality range, and find out how to balance this event into your life. Remember, you don’t know, until you actually try.

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