There is much more to Greek life than parties and fun activities. Greek life has seemed to garner a reputation that has deluded people for what it truly is about. Greek life is far deeper and more meaningful than its presence in society and the media. Delta Zeta Alumni and current West Chester senior Ashley Sammuel was able to shed some light on what Greek life is really about.
Some may assume there is no room for academics when joining a Greek organization, which is not the case. Many Greek organizations encourage a strong academic attitude in its members; some organizations could even be a catalyst for students developing a strong academic standing. For Sammuel, it was her introduction to the library as she states “I didn’t even know where the library was freshman year until I joined Delta Zeta.” Sammuel’s introduction to library was a requirement of the mandatory Delta Zeta library policy. This policy was designed for students with a 2.5 GPA and under. The individual must spend 10 hours a week in the library and must have a mandatory library formed signed by an aid or librarian. Despite this push for good academics, “shockingly” it is not something for which Delta Zeta is known.
With any Greek organization located on a college campus, the impact made on campus and the town is a concern. With the misunderstandings of Greek life there are always fears of a campus getting the reputation of a party school, which is something patrons do not want. Even though a “fun” environment does come with Greek territory, so do benefits for the campus and town.
One of the biggest benefits is community service. Most Greek organizations on WCU’s campus have required community services hours which must be completed every semester. The service can range from volunteer work to simply cleaning streets. Some even go beyond the required semester hours, as Sammuel shed light on Delta Zeta and other Greek Organizations being a part of weekly West Chester Borrow clean up. This clean takes place every Sunday on High street between the 200 and 500 addresses.
This element of community service and being helpful can even go far beyond the helping and cleaning of streets. Local citizens and children can receive benefits as well. There is a summer camp program called “Dreamcatcher” which Ashley describes as “one of the best things Delta Zeta is involved in.” This program is designed for kids affected by HIV, AIDS and autism. The Delta Zeta raises money to send seven to nine kids away to enjoy fun camp activities. When asked why this program is not more publicized Sammuel simply states, “they never want to show the community service side, just the party side.”
As “perception-is-reality” is with anything, Greek life has been painted as an extreme wild environment for college students to “go all out.” This light of Greek life, simply being about partying and having a good time, are reasons for some to join the organiation to which Sammuel explains, “people that do stick out like a sore thumb.”
As there is a desire among all Greeks to paint Greek life in a better light, there seems to no longer be a desire to have those who simply want to continue to confirm the negative views of Greeks Sammuel states “those who don’t apply for positions and get involved don’t get that much respect.” There are countless positions one could apply for in Greek organizations, such as presidents, vice-president or treasurer. One could even be in charge of smaller promotional events. These aspects heavily appealed to Sammuel’s desire to join a Greek organization as in high school she was vice president, and cheer captain, which is something stereotypical beliefs in Greek life would not suspect a pledge to join due to a desire to be positively involved.
There is much more to Greek than what seems to be promoted. In order to change this view, the Delta Zeta alumni feels “it’s a simple matter of promotion.” Greeks do many things to help benefit society, yet, like anything in life, the negative aspects seem to be the only things highlighted. With such strong individuals pushing Greek life towards a new direction, it is possible that one day they may be viewed in the positive light they desire.
Terrance Harris is a fourth-year student majoring in Liberal Studies with minors in journalism and geographical planning.