When I graduated high school, and entered my first days of college, I had no idea what Greek Life was. All I knew were the basic stereotypes surrounding fraternities and what I knew from Animal House. Going into college, I even told myself to not join a fraternity because they are nothing but trouble. Little did I know at the time that I would and it would change my life for the better.
The first week I was at WCU there was a block party thrown by all the fraternities and sororities at their on-campus housing area known as The Village. This was Greek life’s first opportunity to recruit new members into their organization. I reluctantly agreed to go with some people in my dorm. I did not actively try to socialize with the other fraternities I went just for the food. While I was walking around a brother of Pi Lambda Phi found me and started talking to me. It felt nice talking to an older guy because I was just a freshman. He then invited me to go over and meet some of his other brothers and since then, the rest is history.
As soon as I first met the brothers of Pi Lambda Phi, I said to myself “Damn, these guys are really cool and I kind of want to be a part of this.” After getting to know these guys, I was offered a bid which I graciously accepted and became a brother eight weeks later. At the time, I did not think much of it but the best was yet to come.
My story is like others’. According to WCU’s Interfraternity Council, most Greek Life members did not want to be a part of a fraternity of sorority coming out of high school. I fell for the trap of recruitment and went from anti-Greek to a fraternity man. The reasons why college males should join a fraternity is based on my experience. Fraternities allow you to bond with people like you would never be able to anywhere else. You get close with your brothers really quick because you all take pride in the fraternity. All members live up to the standards of their fraternity and brotherhood is taken very seriously.
Fraternities, at least for me, force you to grow up and put in work. Fraternities rely on all their members’ support to keep it afloat. While at times this can be a handful, it is all worth it because you and your brothers worked together to accomplish a goal for the fraternity. There is no better feeling than that.
Fraternities also allow you to grow as a person and develop skills you would not be able to anywhere else. You learn leadership skills, social skills, and other important life skills you would never learn anywhere else. For example, this past semester I was elected treasurer of my fraternity. Since then I have grown as a leader because I serve on our executive board and help govern our chapter. Pi Lambda Phi has also helped my social skills. I now know how to talk to people in a more efficient manner, whether it is trying to convince somebody to join our fraternity or reaching out to our alumni or national headquarters for help.
Greek life also has some long-term benefits. The biggest benefit is networking. When you become a member of a fraternity, or sorority, you have access to so many connections that can help you in your career. Fraternities and sororities can help with getting internships, jobs, recommendations, etc.
The biggest turnoff for Greek life are the common stereotypes associated with them. When people who have never been a part of Greek life are asked about fraternities and sororities, they typically will say something along the lines of fraternities and sororities are a bunch of alcoholics and drug abusers, they pay for friends, party nonstop, hazing, etc. While some of these stereotypes can be true, most of them are false. Being in a fraternity has allowed me to realize what is and what is not true about Greek life. We do not “pay for friends.” Our dues money goes towards fraternity expenses and events, not to force people to like each other. Brothers would still be close if they did not have to pay dues. While yes, some fraternities are guilty of hazing, most fraternities do not haze. The North American Interfraternity Council, NAFC, has outlawed hazing and most of its chapters do not haze. Most fraternities do party as that is inevitable at college. However classifying fraternity brothers as drug abusers and alcoholics is incorrect. Fraternities have a Risk Management officer who ensures the safety of the brothers and reprimands brothers for any illegal activity.
I have now been a brother of Pi Lambda Phi one year and can say that it was the best decision of my life. I have learned so much more about leadership, people, life, etc. than I ever thought I would. I have matured drastically, become a leader, and, most importantly, met the best friends of my life. No matter how stressful it gets or what drama unfolds, I cannot imagine who I would be without Pi Lambda Phi.