Fraternity House

The former Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity sits at the entrance to the Oak Lane Community, July 3, 2019.

Virginia Tech is a growing school full of countless opportunities, among which lies an impressive selection of sororities and fraternities. Tech boasts a plethora of Greek organizations, including 23 fraternities and 21 sororities, which can be overwhelming to someone unsure of whether becoming a sister or brother to a number of complete strangers is the path they want to take upon entering college. Although formal recruitment does not occur until after winter break, it is important to start thinking about the process realistically before considering the reasons for joining. 

A practical pro to going Greek is that it opens doors to numerous career and networking opportunities around the world, and  teaches the importance of sisterhood or brotherhood and philanthropy. Increased access to administrators, faculty and other students means that members are able to utilize the knowledge, experiences and connections these resources provide, which can relieve some of the stress associated with searching for internships and jobs. Some organizations also have Facebook pages designed to provide access to brothers or sisters within the organization from all different career paths so that current members can get a realistic preview of potential future careers.

For someone coming to Tech without the comfort of a high school friend group, meeting new people and finding your place can be tough. Aside from connections, one of the most sought-after benefits of joining Greek life is the promise of automatic friends. The experience of rushing alone is sometimes enough to bond a group of people together for life, not to mention the rituals, philanthropy, socials and close-knit family aspect of both sisterhood and brotherhood from an organization. 

Now, the whole automatic friend group gig may sound right up your alley, but it is important to consider that not everyone has the same experience, and sometimes finding your “home” doesn’t mean you’ll truly feel at home. Some people join Greek life and still have a difficult time making friends or feeling like they fit in. Just like in middle and high school, the unfortunate reality of any social group is that divides happen and cliques often form. If you choose to rush, it is important to not set expectations because everyone’s recruitment experience is different.

Greek life is not just about friends, however, it is also about the experience of being a part of something larger than yourself. Each Greek organization has a philanthropy that is unique to them for which they raise money throughout each semester. A few of these causes are breast cancer awareness, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, among others. Actively working to support a good cause and participating in events where you can see the benefits firsthand can be extremely rewarding and can provide a sense of purpose, especially to someone still unsure of where they fit in. 

While Greek life can be an exciting new adventure to embark on, one major factor to consider is cost. Each semester of membership can be up to 500 dollars depending on the organization, not to mention initiation and other new member fees which can range from 600-800 dollars. College is a huge expense as is, and the harsh reality is that many people cannot afford the price of membership. If this is the case for you, an alternative option to typical Greek life would be service and honor organizations. 

There are numerous factors to consider when deciding if Greek life is right for you, ultimately coming down to what you want to get out of the organization. Remember to keep an open mind and understand that while Greek life can be the best thing to happen to some, the experience varies for everyone. As with any big decision, be realistic, talk to those currently involved and jot down a pros and cons list to help you figure out if going Greek is the best option for you.

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