Early on a cold Saturday morning in the middle of November, three men stand on the corner of Market and High Streets asking for change. On another occasion, a group of young women spend their night in front of the purple gym on Church Street. These people are not the homeless or looking for sympathy. These people are, in fact, members of West Chester’s Greek community holding fund raisers in order to help raise money for charity. Despite the overwhelming success of Greeks on campus, many still have their doubts, based largely on the appearance of Greeks in the movies and television about the about the validity of such groups.
Films such as “National Lampoon’s Animal House” portray fraternities as either alcoholics who forego classes for a party or stuck-up snobs who selfishly care only for themselves and their status on campus. Because the film was and still is so popular, many think that the only thing to be gained by going Greek is an attitude and cirrhosis of the liver. However, on West Chester’s campus, Greek life is not that at all. Instead, it is something much more.
Academically speaking, Greeks on campus earn better grades than the general student population. Last year, Greek males earned a grade point average (GPA) of 2.9. Comparatively, the general male population on campus earned a combined GPA of 2.7. The Greek females created an equally impressive disparity between themselves and the general female population on campus. “Animal House” portrayed the academic side to show the opposite.
Greeks also hold fundraisers throughout the year, donating their time and money for everything from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to the Children’s Miracle Network. As a whole, the Greek community on West Chester’s campus also works very closely with Camp Dreamcatcher, a non-profit camp which provides children either infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. Last year, the fraternities alone logged more than 1,300 hours of community service.
For all its inaccuracies, Animal House did get the social aspect of Greek life correct, although not to the extreme levels that the film took it. As seen at homecoming, the fraternity and sorority combinations walked in the parade before dancing with varying levels of success and without the assistance of 10,000 marbles and a demonic-looking car.
“Animal House” continues to live on as one of the great American comedies despite its many fallacies. Even with the correction of these fallacies, Greek life at West Chester University still does not meet the needs of everyone. However, by correcting the fallacies found in “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” one of the most iconic film depictions of fraternity life, the campus as a whole can view fraternities and sororities differently. Greeks would like to ask non-greek students to help the fraternities and sororities when they are fundraising. Enjoy watching the events the groups put forth.
Anyone interested in donating to Camp Dreamcatcher, please consult the organizations Web site at www.campdreamcatcher.org.
Tony Fioriglio is a student at West Chester University. He can be reached at AF650463@wcupa.edu.