Joining a Greek organization was the best decision I have ever made.
Though I encourage candid discussion of Greek life, I have several criticisms of the articles published on April 15. First of all, I joined a sorority my freshman year because I saw the value that Greek life provides, not because I am “challenged” at finding a community on campus as the Daily Trojan implied. In fact, I am a part of many communities on campus in addition to Greek life. Secondly, as the financial manager for both my chapter and now the entire Panhellenic community, I can say with confidence that Greek life is not reserved for spoiled children that must “buy friends.” I have worked with many young women who pay for their own dues, and I myself live in the chapter house because it is far cheaper than living in any other off-campus housing. These “rich-kid” stereotypes are unfounded.
The defining benefit of Greek life for me is the leadership aspect, and the Daily Trojan did not emphasize this enough. Personally, I started as the Director of Finance for my chapter and now serve as Vice President of Finance of the Panhellenic Council. As an accounting major, these experiences have greatly defined my college experience. I have been able to hone relevant skills and refine my leadership abilities, all while making lasting friendships in the process. These opportunities have proven to be invaluable to my personal and academic development. Furthermore, I can speak to the leadership development within the chapters and in the community overall. You would be hard-reached to find a sorority or fraternity member who had not held some sort of leadership position at any point in their college career. Whatever you’re passionate about — event planning, philanthropy, finance or marketing — there’s a leadership outlet in Greek life that can help you pursue it.
This is not to say that the Greek community is perfect. We are flawed. We are, however, open to criticism and are not complacent. We brainstorm new solutions every single Panhellenic meeting. As stated in the Daily Trojan article, “The ROW: More than stereotypes?,” relations with the university have faltered as of late. To combat this, the Panhellenic Council recently added a new position, Vice President of External Relations, for the sole purpose of cultivating relationships with administration and other organizations on campus. This and various other Greek actions (including the new Social Policy, the sexual assault panels and the increased values-based recruitment) prove that the Greek community strives for continuous improvement.
I love the recent openness about Greek life in the Daily Trojan, and many wonderful points have been addressed. But the conversation would be incomplete without a thorough recognition of the leadership benefits that Greek life can offer and a correction of false stereotypes. Even though the community is imperfect and has much to improve upon, I can wholeheartedly assert that joining a sorority was the best decision of my college career, and that it will continue to benefit me throughout my life.
Vice President of Finance, Panhellenic Council