Thursday, August 25, 2011

16 Reasons Fraternities and Sororities are Relevant

By now, you've probably seen the web posting by ZenCollege Life listing 15 Frightening Facts About Fraternities and Sororities. We're upset about it and imagine you are as well. But, for those who just threw up their fists to prepare to fight back, consider this:

Yes, these statements are true. And, we're upset because these statements are true - not because someone put them on the internet.

If you know us, you know we're not ones to stick our heads in the sand. You also know we spend a lot of time talking about accountability and integrity. So, here is an opportunity for us to model what that looks like. Yes, these statements are true and we're not going to pretend they're not. We're also not ones to immediately throw up the defenses when we're confronted with information that makes us look stupid. This information makes us look stupid because it's true, we're sometimes stupid.

So, instead of saying "Sure, it's true, BUT..." we're going to offer "Sure, it's true, AND..." It's not accountable to admit guilt by adding a qualifier. Once we utter the word "but" we immediately negate everything that came before it. "You're pretty, but I'm not sure that shirt is very flattering" comes across much different than "You're pretty and I'm not sure that shirt is very flattering." Similarly, "Our chapter hazes, but we did 1000 hours of community service last year" just makes it look like the community service makes up for and negates the hazing - which, for the record, it doesn't.

So, consider this: Yes, these statements are true AND here's the other half of the story:

Note: click on each statement to review the cited source.

1. Fraternities/Sororities build better leaders and more active citizens.

Important leadership skills including working with diverse others, the ability to handle adversity, balancing relationships and conflict, event planning, delegation, and time management are skills are enhanced by membership in a fraternal organization.

2. The Greek GPA is higher than the non-Greek GPA at the top party schools.

Many believe that Greek = Party but at the schools where students party the most, fraternity and sorority members actually do better academically.

3. Membership in a fraternity or sorority increases first-year college retention.

The national average for first-year retention is 76.6%. That means 23.4% of freshmen don't return for their sophomore year. First-year retention rates for fraternity or sorority members is well over 90%.

4. Similarly, members of fraternities and sororities have been found to persist through graduation at higher rates than other students.

A study by Auburn University found the four-year graduation rate for Greek students to be just over 80% while only 70% of unaffiliated students graduated in four years.

5. Fraternity membership has a positive influence on moral development.

The general belief seems to be that fraternal membership hinders moral development. On the contrary, research has also proven quite the opposite.

6. Alcohol consumption among fraternity and sorority members has decreased.

While there is work to be done, progress is being made. Studies in 2000 and later show alcohol consumption has decreased among members of fraternities and sororities.

7. Fraternity and sorority members are serious about philanthropy and community service and spend more hours on service and volunteering than other students.

Even when only considering the numbers from NPC member organizations, sorority women have donated more than $5 million, provided almost $3 million in scholarships, and served 500,000 hours of community service.

8. Gifted and high-ability high school students often choose fraternal organizations to establish leadership when they enter college.

Used to coasting through high school, high ability students who go Greek often report their experience in college as being shaped by their co-curricular involvements. Looking for co-curricular opportunities that support academics as well as leadership, a fraternal organization is often the perfect fit.

9. To prevent rape, more and more fraternity men are participating in male focused programs such as The Men's Program.

The growing popularity of all-male rape prevention programs, such as The Men's Program, have allowed men to view rape from a new perspective, their own. Imagining themselves as a victim teaches empathy and how to help women recover from a rape experience.

10. Fraternity/sorority members spend more time participating in co and extracurricular activities than other students.

One might assume this is a direct result of fraternal involvement, but this study measured all involvement. In other words, fraternity and sorority members are more involved students despite their Greek affiliation.

11. Greek alumni give more to their alma maters than students who were not members of a fraternal organization.

Because Greek students feel a deeper connection to their college/university, they are more likely to give back after graduation. And, when they do give, they give more.

12. Academic performance of first-year students is higher among fraternity/sorority members versus non-members.

A recent study showed the first-year GPA for Greek affiliated women was 3.13 while the GPA of their non-member peers was 3.05. The GPA for Greek men was 2.92 while their non-member peers earned a lower GPA of 2.86.

13. Members of fraternities/sororities report making greater gains in personal development in college.

Fraternity/sorority members are more involved students and both first-year students and seniors report significantly higher levels of personal development than non-members.

14. Membership in a fraternal organization exposes students to a more diverse variety of personality types.

Undergraduate chapters typically bring together 20 to 80 students, and at least that many personalities and work styles. Learning to work as a part of this type of large team develops interpersonal skills and workplace preparation that can't be replicated.

15. Fraternities and sororities create a home for students who were not otherwise accepted on campus.

Woman, African American, Latino, Asian, gay students, and other diverse and marginalized groups have not always been welcomed at American colleges and universities. Surrounded by white, privileged, Christian men, underrepresented groups have long found solace and a safe haven in fraternities and sororities.

And, just because ZenCollege Life lists 15 facts, we're going to go ahead and list 16.

16. Members of fraternities and sororities have exponentially larger professional networks.

With more than 100,000 fraternity and sorority members in the workforce today, Greeks are better connected and prepared for life after college than their unaffiliated peers. New professionals can connect with brothers and sisters via social media, local and regional organizations, and much more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I agree with the points you discussed in your blog. I also feel that it is important to uncover the benefits of being a member of a fraternity or sorority.

Would you mind reading my blog at I would like to have your perspective.

Katie Jaeschke
The Green Room at Iowa State University