Sorority and fraternity recruitment on the University’s campus happens before classes ever begin. Since potential new members have yet to experience their first day at the University, they shouldn’t be expected to dedicate their lives to any of its organizations a week before.
Instead, the first semester of college for anyone should be about independence. This is the first time most incoming freshmen have been entirely on their own. This experience should be about individualism instead of conformity. Greek Life puts students in a box almost immediately.
During the week-long rush process, students must prove themselves in a few words and quick conversations. They are then judged and matched into their “perfect” homes. Not only does this create self-consciousness in any potential member, but it also creates a superiority complex for those who get chosen over others based on first impressions.
Instead of having to worry restlessly if you’ll be good enough to get into the ritziest of the houses, your time before school starts should be a relaxing one. Incoming students have no idea what to expect, and this creates an equal playing ground for the beginnings of self-discovery.
College should be about finding your own interests without the influence of others. People with similar traits and qualities can find each other and connect along the way. First semester Greek Life recruitment destroys this notion and instead markets itself almost like propaganda. It’s a place for those afraid to be alone or “uncool” in college to gain immediate friendships, no matter your actual connections with the people in it.
The time commitment to the organization is a distraction to coursework. Instead of focusing on homework and tests, new college students must worry about scheduling around the many required meetings and activities.
Not to mention the immediate exposure of wide-eyed freshmen to a plethora of possible dangerous behaviors. While most first-year students come into the University having never experienced party or bar culture, they are immediately thrust into a world of constant socials and gatherings.
There is a peer pressure-like obligation to fit in with the rest of their new “sisters” or “brothers.”
Here is where we see the communal and socially accepted culture of college alcoholism to develop. Of course, any new college student will eventually be exposed to this, but Greek Life accelerates it tenfold for incoming freshmen, especially their first college semester.
While hazing has been more silenced on campus than talked about, there’s no doubt in my mind that it still happens in Greek Life. However, most likely due to the similar peer-pressure of substance abuse, incoming recruits refuse to come forward due to the consequence of being seen as a weak potential member.
A semester should be given beforehand to allow freshmen to truly make up their minds about becoming a part of Greek Life. This seems as if it will offer neither pain to students nor gain to sorority and fraternity recruiters.
Gabrielle Martinez is an 18-year-old mass communication freshman from Gonzales, Louisiana.