When senior biology major Daniella Coffaro reflected on the reasons she joined Alpha Phi Omega (APO), she was reminded of the numerous service projects she participated in alongside her brothers. Among these, she recalled tying plastic bags together to be sent out and made into sleeping mats for the homeless. She explained the rewarding feeling that binds her and her service fraternity brothers together as they donate time and resources to a number of different causes.
“I could help other people and know that I would not have to do it alone and I have brothers who will be there with me,” Coffaro said.
With some Greek organizations undergoing fall recruitment, students shared why they decided to become members of the Greek Life community.
Junior public relations major and Alpha Chi Rho (AXP) fraternity brother Josh Rhim said that he joined because the brothers of AXP seemed to go against the stigma that these groups can be “clicky.” He said that his brothers are accepting of one another and that this aspect became apparent to him during the six week new member education process.
“By the time week six ends, you just realize, ‘Wow, these guys are my brothers for life,’” he said. “It’s really an indescribable experience. You grow a lot as a person but, most of all, you really learn how to appreciate others.”
According to Rhim, he learned that his brothers were around to help no matter the situation, whether someone was in need of a plastic fork or study partner in the library.
In terms of advice he would give students who are considering joining a Greek organization, he explained that students should seek brothers outside the context of a brotherhood or sisterhood. Rhim said a much more important factor is to see how these students are as people, and if it is possible to form a connection with them.
Corinne Corley, a junior public relations major and sister of Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) offered similar advice. She explained she had initial reservations because of all the stereotypes regarding “cliques” in the Greek community. However, Corley decided to give it a try and encourages others to do the same.
She went on to say that ZTA drew her in because of its focus on philanthropy. In fact, she serves as the Think Pink co-chairman, which is a philanthropy position in her organization. Corley said that her favorite memory with her sisterhood was when they went to a Giants game to pass out pink ribbons and sell merchandise for breast cancer research last fall.
However, some students opt not to join Greek Life for a variety of reasons. For senior communications major Emma Glackin, the price of dues deterred her from joining.
“I find the dues outrageously expensive and there are better things I could spend hundreds of dollars on,” Glackin said.
Whether or not someone chooses to join Greek Life, those involved with it seem to agree that finding people on campus that are accepting is of primary importance.
“It should not be under the ties of a letter that a relationship is formed,” Rhim said. “I just feel like, if they are not nice to you beforehand, it is not the right organization for you.”
Julie Trien can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.