Why American Universities Still Need Greek Life

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These days, it’s not uncommon for people to question the value of Greek Life. As Kristin Musulin wrote in her 2014 article on USA Today, “Greek life is, by the nature of its foundation, a positive and enriching institution. Fraternities and sororities engage in these positive actions every single day. Yet, because the media's primary focus is to cover hard news, the benefits of Greek life are often blurred by the rare, negative occurrences that happen.”

There is, of course, a social component in Greek Life, both historically and today. However, we all know there’s so much more — including opportunities for leadership, service, fellowship, teamwork, philanthropy, and lasting and lifelong friendship. For the students who join, their membership comes with friendship, a community of support, and an unrivaled opportunity for both personal and professional growth — one that you simply cannot get inside the classroom.

At Alpha Zeta, here’s what we’re really doing:

Providing real-life leadership experience. Leadership opportunities abound when you’re in a fraternity or sorority, whether you serve as the president, treasurer, or even as the chair of recruitment. As you strive to meet the chapter’s goals and serve your fraternity or sorority, you must overcome the many challenges leaders face each day. The skills you develop in these positions, such as communication, conflict management, accountability, and delegation, are ones you can apply for a lifetime of career success.

Forging lifelong connections. Brothers and sisters of Alpha Zeta gain friends with whom they can share life’s best moments, but also lean on in times of need. We often hear from alumni who were able to lean on their brothers and sisters in life’s toughest moments, such as the illness of a loved one. Fraternities and sororities offer strong, close-knit communities of friendship and support well beyond graduation.

It’s no mystery that, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, the average person meets their best friends at age 21.

Teaching the value of philanthropy. Each year, undergraduate members of fraternities and sororities contribute more than $7 million and 10 million hours to charitable causes. Not only do we contribute to many worthy charitable causes, but we set an example for giving back that many of our alumni carry on long after their college years.

Breeding successful men and women. Whether colleges or universities believe in Greek life or not or not, these organizations across the country are preparing our future leaders. After all, a quarter of chief executives of the 500 largest corporations are Greek members; Greeks comprise more than three-fourths of Congress; 85% of Supreme Court Justices since 1910 have been Greek members; Since 1900, two-thirds of members of Presidential Cabinets have been Greek members; and 48% of all U.S. Presidents are Greek. The numbers don’t lie!

Building a lasting career network. If there’s one thing we hear consistently, it’s how Alpha Zeta helped our alumni find a job, a business partner, interns, and more! With 863 living alumni, we’re able to rely on each other for networking regardless of whether you’re a new alumnus looking for work or a seasoned businessman or businesswoman with job openings to fill. Our alumni also often count on each other for career advice and guidance when they need it. With a membership that lasts a lifetime, our members can always tap into the Morrill network.

It’s this unique combination of critical life and career skills that make fraternity and sororities special. There are really no other rich and meaningful opportunities on college campuses today that are as all-encompassing as participating in Greek Life. Even more importantly than providing a social group, Morrill gives young men and women the opportunity to prepare for their careers and instills positive values such as teamwork and service to others.

The bottom line is best expressed by one of our Alpha Zeta members when we asked “Why do you give back?”:

“What a question. Because it needs me? Because I owe it? Maybe yes and yes. But really, because I know how important teaching and learning the basic values of AZ are. Scholarship, leadership, and service. Because I meet the young people today and see how much they need and deserve it. And because I can.”