Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

It was time for the annual Fall Greek Week during the week of Monday, Sept. 10 at West Chester University. The week of events started out with a sorority information session held in the Sykes Student Union Theater on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 7:00 p.m. During the remainder of the week, potential new sorority members participated in numerous events that would help them to find the right sorority.Some people may not know entirely what the story is with college Greek life, as far as rush week activities and events go. They see the stereotypical view of sororities and fraternities depicted in movies such as “Animal House” (1978) and the 2007 television series “Greek.” Wild, crazy shenanigans are shown to be the norm when a college student embarks on rush week to become a member of the Greeks. However, as the well-known saying goes, there are two sides to every story.

According to Greek leader Jared Brown, the sororities and fraternities of WCU engage in a long list of philanthropic causes. On that list, according to Brown, are causes such as Cancer Awareness, Hearing Impaired, Cardiac Care, HIV/AIDS and Muscular Dystrophy to name a few.

“The Greeks completed over 13,000 hours of community service last Fall and Spring and raised over $55,000 for philanthropies,” Brown said in an email. Also, according to Brown, for the Fall and Spring academic semesters the Greeks earned above the all student average academically.

Those that registered for the sorority information session received a sheet which listed the night time events to come throughout rush week. One of those events was to be centered around the idea of philanthropy, and was so named “Philanthropy Round.”

If a person has ever wondered why college students across the United States pursue the experience of Greek life, here are a few reasons. When asked why she decided to join a sorority, fourth-year student Sarah Tansit said the sorority gives her a family away from home.

“I come from two and a half hours away,” Tansit said. As a communicative disorders major, Tansit said that she likes the philanthropy and community service events the most.

Also, fourth-year health and physical education student Matt Scaglione had a few reasons for joining a fraternity.

“I joined a fraternity to make connections and to be in an organization that’s bigger than myself,” Scaglione said. “Also, I want to be community involved and to be living by higher standards and values.”

Then there is the question as to whether or not participating in Greek life helps a member in life after college. WCU alumna Kate Cipriano, who now works as the Director of Alumni Relations at the university, believes the Greek experience has helped her.

“The philanthropy activities gave a great deal of experience with the non-profit world,” Cipriano said. Cipriano’s first job after graduating in 2000 was at the Atwater Kent Museum, where her philanthropic and events planning experience through Greek activities was noticed.

“There were philanthropic events such as Cardiac Care and children with HIV/AIDS.” Cipriano said. “I like helping with good causes.”

According to Cipriano, her employers have also all looked at her leadership and people skills that she gained while participating in such events.

Of course, benefits or not, some college students are not interested in Greek life, as there are many other ways to get involved on campus.

“I just don’t really have the time for it, or the money,” third-year student Eric Werley said. Werley, a math education major, also stated that he might join if there was an academic fraternity, but was still thinking about it.

For those who are interested in joining a sorority or a fraternity later on, parents have concerns regarding the issue of hazing. Hazing, according to the web site www.stophazing.org, is any activity that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm. At a growing number of universities across the country, steps are being taken to prevent such harm to their students.

According to its Web site, WCU has a strict anti-hazing policy, stating that local law enforcement could help to pursue criminal charges. Both physical and emotional types of hazing, according to the university’s web site, are listed as forms of anti-hazing policy violations. This will help to assure parents that if their son or daughter takes part in rush week, it will be a safe and positive experience.

Whether or not a person decides that going Greek is best for him/her, there are plenty of activities to get involved with here at WCU. If one missed the Greek event of last week, there is always next Spring or Fall semester’s rush week to participate in.

For more information on Greek Life at WCU, go to http://iws.wcupa.edu/wcugreeks.

Carol Dwyer is a third-year student majoring in History. She can be reached at dwyermca@comcast.net.

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