Let me be blunt and honest. The Alpha Tau Omega hazing video from Indiana University, which depicts a pledge performing oral sex on what is presumed to be a stripper, is disgusting. It absolutely points out some of the wrongs that Greek life can promote. However, this video 100 percent does not represent Greek life as a whole.
Attending a school where the student population is nearly 40 percent Greek, and after joining a sorority, I can attest that Greek life is more than just four years of partying and possible hazing. It is for life.
When I first got onto my campus, I was oblivious to the impact Greek life had on my university. I soon found out, though, that almost two out of every five students were Greek. I was unsure if I wanted to rush, but my friends were all for it so I attended fall Open Houses, where I got to meet and talk to girls from each house. At this event, I began to learn which chapters I fit into. Particularly, I started to become interested in the chapter I am now a sister of.
I remember vividly sitting on the couch, talking to a soon-to-be sister when the president of the chapter and the vice president of recruitment introduced themselves. As soon as the chapter president spoke in her chipper, sweet voice, I felt that this house was for me.
I rushed and joined that particular house and I never for a single moment regretted my decision to go Greek.
Yes, there are some issues with Greek life — mostly hazing. However, that does not mean that every house is filled with evil fiends. Take this as a comparison: rapists exist in just about every culture and society. People are capable of rape, just as every chapter is capable of hazing. But this does not mean every man is a rapist, just as it means that not every house hazes.
To make an inference on the entire Greek system based on just a few houses that made poor decisions, is just uneducated. Not only does it misjudge an entire population, but it also makes it seem that only Greek students are capable of making bad choices regarding their peers.
I know for a fact that hazing is not restricted to just Greek life. It also is found on sports team, both varsity and club teams. This does in no way validate hazing, but it does point out that hazing is not just a Greek thing. Very rarely do people attempt to shut down an entire sports team because of hazing, nor do they speak ill of all college sports teams. On another note, many associate fraternities with rape and drugging female students. However, again this is not only an issue with just fraternity men. Even on campuses where Greek life isn’t a thing, rape issues arise. These issues are a problem in and of themselves and also need to be dealt with. But to restrict these unfortunate occasions to only Greeks remains unreasonable.
In my chapter, hazing is nonexistent, though I know that is not true for every chapter. Again, I do not believe in hazing or foul traditions. However, there is much more in Greek life beyond hazing. It is pretty common knowledge that the media tends to nitpick certain events, and in my opinion they definitely publish only the bad stories related to fraternities and sororities. Why make a judgment based on an article that only tells half a story?
To me, my chapter is more than just a group of girls living under the same roof. It is a close bond among sisters, a bond that is for more than just four years, it’s for the rest of my life.
I could not imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have my sisters. Rushing and becoming an initiated member of my sorority brought me to my sisters, both in my new member class and in others. Girls I never would have met if I hadn’t joined. My sisters are compassionate, wonderful women. They hold our chapter and me together. And with one another, we create a diverse group of purposeful individuals.
Creating a chapter is more than just searching for the best wine bag slappers and keg standers. It is about forming and finding students who together share a common purpose, but individually have their own unique personalities that create a house filled with variety of awesome people.
Returning to the ATO incident, I reiterate that I do not in any way approve or condone hazing. Yet to evaluate the entire Greek system based on a few dumb boys or girls is just unfair. There is so much good that Greek life does for a campus. Not only do they promote generous philanthropic groups, but also they create a heart-warming community. They give students a place to call home. A place where they know they are always welcome and wanted.
Growing up as an angst-ridden and awkward teen, I never found my place in high school. But in college, I found an amazing team of women who I am proud to call my sisters. Greek life is something to revel in and to boast about, not hide with the worry that people might assume you’re a vapid bimbo. Greek life is more than what you see in the movies and on the news. It is a place to call your own. I love that I went Greek and I would never ever go back.
-Ella DiPippo, ’18