Indiana Daily Student

OPINION: No, you don't need to join greek life

When I transferred to IU as a sophomore, I had male family friends naming different fraternities. I went to a Catholic college before getting to IU, and greek life did not have a presence on that campus. Due to the murmurs of those male figures in my life, I had no reason not to go through rush. 

I consider myself an introvert. I am intimidated by introductions. I dislike making professional sports the topic of discussion as I am not knowledgeable in the subject, and I do not like trying to fit in when all physical signs point toward my discomfort in these situations. 

Anyways, there I was, in the first couple of weeks of school, surrounded by unfamiliar faces and what appeared to be hundreds of male students that all seemed to share similar interests in sports and girls. 

Reflecting on the experience now, I can confidently say that feeling unfit for the fraternity scene on IU’s campus was one of the best things that happened when transferring schools.  

I have plenty of friends who are involved with greek life, and I hold nothing against those who choose to partake. I do not like the idea that joining a fraternity for men remains a popularity contest developed by surface-level interaction about sports largely available to those who have parents or guardians who can afford the hefty price.

[Related: IU Interfraternity Council announces record number of people rushing fraternities this fall]

Let me disclose certain behaviors I saw during my rushing experience. First, hazing. Yes, IU tries to stop the perspective fraternity hazing events, yet it still happens. Secondly, academic struggles. I knew several people who struggled completing course work due to the long hours they spent at the house on weeknights. Finally, costs. I know some families would happily provide the money for their child to be involved, but the prices are ridiculous.  

College is what you make of it. Sometimes people say these are the best years, while others say they are just trying to get by. Many students have this preconceived idea that you must get involved and find your friends immediately arriving on campus. 

At what price are you really willing to buy your friends?  I gained mine for free through common interests by joining activities I found meaningful. 

Greek life can also be extremely taxing on your emotional well-being. According to the National Institute of Justice, nearly 25% of women in sororities were sexual assault victims in contrast to the 14% of non-sorority affiliated victims. Keep in mind, from my own experience, many of the men who party with sororities are associated with greek life. That means that males in fraternities are liable for many of these assaults. 

[Related: Alpha Epsilon Pi placed on cease and desist Tuesday]

Many claim that joining a sorority or fraternity is great because you meet friends for a lifetime or gain leadership skills that can carry over into your future workforce. Remember that skills needed for the working world can be learned through other aspects of your undergraduate experience. Every organization on campus offers leadership development in one form or another. 

I am so much happier expressing myself through my actual values and interests. To those of you that feel you just might not fit in, know there are hundreds of other clubs welcoming new members at any time of the semester.  

My best advice if you are looking for an extracurricular, search IU’s beINvolved website or start browsing social media for IU clubs (nearly all of them appear to have an online presence). There is a place for everyone. Don’t feel the need to make greek life your forced home-away-from-home. 

John Hultquist (he/him) is a senior studying community health with minors in urban planning/community development, global health promotion and personal well-being.  

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