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Opinion

Greek life differs from Hollywood’s take

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September 29, 2006

During my first campus tour around this time last year, I was asked, “Have you ever thought about going
Greek?” Initially I said, “No.”

I always thought about all of the horrible things that I had seen in the movies and on television. But after I gave my tour guide my response, he went on to tell me that many of the movies portray Greek life in certain ways, misleading the general public in what a fraternity or sorority really is.

For whatever reason, many people feel that in order to be initiated they would need to go through the hazing process involving some type of public embarrassment. However, numerous schools throughout the United States, including UW-River Falls, do not allow hazing of any sort.

During the initiation process, a waiver must be signed by each potential member, stating that hazing is not tolerated at UW-RF. If hazing is suspected, the person and chapter involved will suffer severe consequences. Why would a group of people find it necessary to torture others if they wanted them to join their group?
Greeks in the southern United States often charge over $1,000 in fees in order to join their chapter. Obviously fees will differ between chapters, but at UW-RF the fee will rarely exceed $500 in any given year. These fees are normally due at different points throughout the year and cover nearly all of the expenses during that year.

Aside from all the misconceptions about fraternities and sororities, the most important and most
overlooked qualities of the Greek system — everlasting bonds and philanthropy — are missed.

No matter how much people would like to think that fraternities and sororities are just big parties and social events, they are more about giving back to the community.

Before initiation, each new member must learn about their fraternity or sorority and complete some sort of educational period, as well as attend their meetings and events. These requirements must be completed before they are allowed to be an active member.

Each Greek is required to attend a certain number of events, including local and national charity events, campus activities, socials with other chapters, and inner-fraternity or sorority events in order to stay in good standing with their chapter.

Greek life, especially at UW-RF, differs completely from the stereotypical movie depiction. The organizations offer so much more than parties, alcohol, sex and anything illegal. Friendships that last lifetimes are developed instantaneously. National chapters offer help finding internships and jobs for college graduates.

Despite all the negative vibes of Greek life most often portrayed by the media, the most important aspects of the Greek society are left in the dust. The everlasting bonds between brothers and sisters, and charity and philanthropy work seems to go by unnoticed.

Sara Hauer is a student at UW-River Falls.