Depending on what campus you find yourself on, you might notice something that will seem very foreign at first... A group of female students all wearing pink t-shirts with the same Greek letters on them, or big mansions full of male students living together and playing football out in the front yard. Someone might say to you in reference to a male student, “He's a frat guy.” Questions, may be zipping through your mind: “Why are they all dressed alike?” “Is that mansion a dormitory?” or “Just what is a 'frat guy?'“
Well, new student, this is evidence of a Greek system on campus. Many universities, especially state universities, have a Greek system on campus. The Greek system is comprised of fraternities (derived the Latin word frater meaning “brother”) and sororities (derived from soror, the Latin word for “sister.”) These are single sex, social organizations, named after two or three letters in the Greek alphabet. Most sororities and fraternities have their own house on campus. These houses are all in the same general area, which is often referred to as “Greek row.”
I remember the first time I was on Greek row at Washington State University. I was in awe of these big beautiful homes, but I must admit, some of them lost their grandeur upon entering. Fifty guys living together does not always equal a super clean environment.
Joining a sorority or a fraternity is a great way to meet new friends and gain an instant social life. As a member, you will attend parties, many of which are themed, volunteer together, and be socially and professionally connected after graduation. But! Not every sorority or fraternity is for everyone, and joining the Greek system altogether may not be for you either.
- If you love the idea of socializing in big groups and have time for a bustling social calendar...then yes, check out some houses during your first week of school.
- If the idea of living with lots and lots of people, especially the same sex, in close quarters is overwhelming and makes you uncomfortable, the Greek system may not be for you.
- If hanging and living with the same group of people appeals to you, then you might really enjoy a fraternity or sorority.
- If you value your independence and privacy, Greek life may not be your thing.
“Rush week,” is usually the first week of the new semester where sororities and fraternities try to get new members to “pledge” (a new recruit who is not quite a full fledged member of the sorority or fraternity). Rush week is the perfect time to shop around for a house. It’s important to find a house that you’re comfortable with since you will be spending loads of time there. Rush week is also a good time to find out if the Greek system is for you. You may take one look at the mayhem and say, “No thanks, not for me!” Either way, it is worth checking out and good to know about, because the Greek system can have an enormous influence on university life. * The photographs in this blog post are attributed to their authors. The authors of these photographs do not endorse or denounce the content of this blog.
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