Shining the Light on the Positivity of Greek Life

Greek week is an opportunity to celebrate the history and living tradition of fraternity and sorority life. It can easily be argued that no other institutions have done more for the good of college and university students than have your houses, or offered more to their schools and their communities. There is, indeed, so much to celebrate, and countless students, all throughout college and for the rest of their lives, regularly feel and express gratitude for having been a part of Greek life.

And yet not all people may actually see or appreciate this. In the last few decades reports of death, injury and humiliation during hazing, sexual assault incidents, binge drinking, drug use, out of control partying and other negative incidents have caused enormous damage to the reputations of many fraternity and sorority houses and chapters, and to the reputation of Greek life in general. But while these incidents are often horrible, and need to stop, it is my opinion that overall fraternities and sororities have actually gotten a bad rap.

Despite many centuries of tradition, countless philanthropic acts, positive interactions with their schools and their communities, team-building, diversity and inclusiveness, mentoring, counseling, tutoring and excellence in leadership and fellowship, Greek life has suffered immensely because of these extremely negative incidents which, while certainly unfortunate, even unacceptable, actually involve the tiniest percentage of brothers, sisters and chapters. And while certain of these problems have received very extensive and high profile media coverage, which they certainly deserve, the efforts of chapters throughout the country to address these issues and stop the abuse and damage has often gotten little or no real attention.

Why not make this positive message as “high profile” as the negative ones? There is a way to bring everything we love about Greek life and the tireless efforts to improve to the forefront. The way to do so is to speak up about everything positive you all are doing. Too often when a chapter positively impacts, transforms, or betters someone or a community they fail to share that news. I encourage you just as I have and will continue to do, to spread the positive impact Greek life has all around us and perhaps then the light will shine on the right side for a change!

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