Why I Chose to Attend a College Without Greek Life

photograph by Mauricio Mascaro via pexels.com

BY RILEIGH GEELAN

“We promise you discovery, the discovery of yourselves, the discovery of the universe, and your place in it.” This famous quote from Sister Madeleva Wolff expresses the standard every student should have for their college experience.

Sister Madeleva Wolff was the third president of Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. This just so happens to be the college I will be attending next year. Saint Mary’s also just so happens to not have any form of Greek life.

Some people believe Greek life offers a sense of belonging and community. However, fraternities and sororities force individuals to throw away their opportunity to find their true identity.

Carlo Rotella of the Boston Globe explains how by the end of freshman year, most boys have “picked a frat and the prefabricated identity that [comes] with it.” The pressure to take on a cookie-cutter identity is a toxic game, where the members get to choose whether or not newbies have the right look, clothes, status, and personality to hang with them. Greek life is basically middle school cliques on steroids.

College should be a time where young adults take advantage of their freedom and independence to make their own decisions, not a time to restrict themselves into a single friend group and be told to only wear ultramarine blue on Saturday.

I don’t know about you, but I would certainly not call a group of girls who made me scrub the bathroom floor with a toothbrush to prove my “loyalty” to them my friends and definitely not my sisters. Friends do not treat each other like that, raise your standards.

Although some fraternities and sororities have the decency not to haze their new members, it is extremely common – and dangerous.

In 2017, Pennsylvania State University sophomore Tim Piazza died after receiving 18 drinks in 82 minutes from his fraternity “brothers”. According to NPR, around 11 p.m. “Timothy fell head-first down a flight of stairs. He was moved to a couch where he stayed for a few hours. Then prosecutors say he stumbled around the house before again falling down the same stairs.” Members of the fraternity did not call for help until 12 hours later, by then it was too late. Sounds like a great group to get involved in!

Piazza’s case is no exception. According to U.S. News, there have been 18 hazing-related deaths from Greek life since 2010. Students should be going to school to get an education and to network, not to drink themselves to death.

This month, a fraternity at Syracuse University was suspended after making a very disturbing video. According to The Daily Pennsylvanian, the footage showed them behaving in ways “that are extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and hostile to people with disabilities.” The video also shows the members “pledging to always hold hatred for black, Hispanic, and Jewish people.” But Greek life is totally about community service and inclusiveness, right?

In addition to being a super warm welcoming community, fraternities are also known for their rape culture! An article by Jessica Valenti of The Guardian, Valenti explains how “At Georgia Tech, a frat brother sent around an email guide called ‘Luring your rapebait’. Wesleyan had a frat that was nicknamed the ‘Rape Factory’. In 2010, fraternity brothers at Yale University marched through campus yelling, ‘No means yes!’”

Valenti also states how “numerous studies have found that men who join fraternities are three times more likely to rape, that women in sororities are 74% more likely to experience rape than other college women.”

Greek life takes away from the college experience students are supposed to have. Rather than walking around campus in their school’s apparel, people are walking around sporting their Greek letters. I am going to college to be apart of one, unified community; not a bunch of isolated, binge-drinking ones.

So no, I will not be attending a school that partakes in this meaningless, dangerous culture. I am excited to experience all that college has to offer, and proud that I will not be restricting myself to the bubble that is Greek life.