Opinion: A short guide for going Greek

Jake Dressman

Rush week has come to a close, and fraternity and sorority applicants have received their bids as new members of the university’s Greek organizations. The vast majority of news published on these institutions is scathing—with the intent to defame Greek life. Look up “Greek life news” on Google, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything positive.

The truth is that going Greek has a plethora of benefits, but it is certainly not for everyone. So whether you’re totally about SRAT (Sorority/Frat) life, vehemently opposed to the notion of it or somewhere in between, the pros and cons below just might alter your perspective.

The initial problem with Greek life is the extraordinary cost of membership, with semester dues usually costing at least $500 upfront to join an established institution, not to mention the fees that will follow throughout the semester. WKU Greek organizations do not make their dues public information, so you might be in over your head financially without realizing it prior to joining. However, the cheapest sorority semester dues at the University of Central Florida are just shy of $1,000, and the most expensive is above $2,000—fairly standard prices at many colleges.


Regardless, semester dues will set you back hundreds of dollars on top of an already extensive college bill. The Interfraternity Council should be ashamed of hiding behind its shrouded wall of money—it is WKU’s responsibility to its students to provide pertinent financial information about their organizations to the public.

For the few of you with deep pockets, a greater area of concern should be the social pressures involving alcohol that will likely be thrust upon you. Greek members have been nationally proven to have higher rates of drinking than non-affiliated college students. WKU’s Greek life page says hazing is strictly prohibited, but four groups on our campus were sanctioned in the fall of 2012 alone—and that is only what was reported. 

Now that we’ve briefly covered the bad and the ugly, let’s examine the good. Greek organizations are proven breeding grounds for leaders—with fraternity members making up 85 percent of U.S. Supreme Court justices since 1910, 63 percent of all U.S. presidential cabinet members since 1900, 76 percent of U.S. Senators throughout U.S. history, and 85 percent of current Fortune 500 executives. Numerous powerful politicians like former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were sorority members.

Furthermore, Greek organizations are public servants—accomplishing impressive philanthropic feats that help their communities. At WKU alone, $281,703 was raised last year for various charities, and over 61,000 canned goods were collected. Brothers and sisters will undoubtedly form bonds through events like these, and it is practically impossible not to make friends while being a member of Greek life.

So is any of it worth it? Ultimately, it depends on your priorities and characteristics. If you or your parents have the coin, rushing is a great option for you to meet friends and become a productive member of society.

But non-Greek-affiliated lifestyles grant you more independence with your life—allowing more time for a job and pursuing another passion. Anyone with the vision and ambition to chase a dream is more than capable to achieve it—and make friends along the way—without having to hide an identity behind some letters on a T-shirt.