By Chris Ly
New Organizing Project blogger
Hazing, rushing, pledging, calisthenics, shaving; what do they all have in common? You’re probably thinking… Greek Life!
There are many misconceptions about Greek Life in college. For one thing, not ALL fraternities or sororities haze or implement calisthenics into their pledging process. Joining a fraternity or sorority doesn’t always mean that you’ll end up doing something illegal or doing something stupid. Personally, I loved the pledging experience at Xi Kappa (XiK). There I learned everything from dressing like a gentleman to becoming a man of excellence.
Becoming part of Greek Life can mean more than just expanding your friend circle. I saw Greek Life as an opportunity to not only expand my friend circle, but also my professional networking circle as well. Once you have graduated from college, what’s next? Perhaps you plan on working for the two of the most awesomest, coolest, non-profit organizations in the world?! — The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) or The Center for Pan-Asian Community Services, Inc. (CPACS) — or maybe you want to be a stay-at-home son/daughter :P. Either way, expanding your networks can open up new and exciting opportunities, including chances to work and help out the community. As Sir Francis Bacon has told us, “knowledge is power”, but applied knowledge is where it’s happening.
A lot of people refuse to join fraternities/sororities because of the bad rep they get outside of actual Greek Life. Movies like American Pie Presents: Beta House or House Bunny portray Greek Life as negative, undesirable “club” you join in college to party, binge drink as if it’s cool, or do something illegal. But it’s not like the movies at all! There are actually many efforts to give back to the community and those in need.
At XiK, we did things like volunteering and fundraising to help raise money for a scholarship program for upcoming freshmen. The Lovely Ladies of Delta Phi Lambda (DphiL) teamed up with Best Bones Forever to fight osteoporosis in Asian Women. The amicable sisters of Alpha Sigma Rho (ASR) have dedicated their time to China Care. These are just some examples of us, not only making a difference, but also beating the stereotypical look of Greek Life.
Joining a fraternity/sorority can be daunting, but it can also be fun. Check out rush events (this is where you get an opportunity to engage with fraternities and sororities to familiarize yourself with them and vice versa).
For those entering college or for those who are attending college and are not part of Greek Life yet, I urge you to check out what is available. There are fraternities and sororities that are ethnic based or dedicated solely for community service, like Alpha Phi Omega (AphiO). Other organizations like Delta Sigma Pi or Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi) exist as business fraternities.
Some of the fraternities/sororities I have mentioned are ethnic based; XiK, DphiL, ASR. All of which are Asian-Interest Greeks. That doesn’t mean only Asians are allowed to join. The doors are open for all. The Asian-Interest part only means we want to raise awareness of the Asian community in this southern philosophy of Dixie or whichever dominating race in your respective area. We happily accept all kinds of skin color, ethnicity, race, body mass index, spoken languages, etc.
As an AAPI youth, I found it difficult to find a dominating Asian-Interest in Georgia’s universities and wondered why this was so. Was it because we don’t have the numbers? Or because we don’t know they exist? Well whatever the reason, if you are an AAPI youth and you have a mild interest in Greek Life, take a step to find out more. Greek Life gives you a place to be with like-minded individuals and also a space where you may be able to identify issues and build a sense of unity around them — these are all invaluable experiences that will help you during college and beyond.