By Katie Hernandez
Fraternities and sororities started off with students who wanted to express their opinions with a group of like-minded people where there wouldn’t be judgment. It all began in the year 1776, where the first fraternity was founded at the College of William.
The members would meet up after school to talk about non-academic topics such as political issues during this time period. Soon, more fraternities formed based on religion, awareness in health issues, students who felt like minorities at their universities. Women eventually wanted to be part of these groups too. In 1851, the first sorority was formed at Wesleyan Female College.
These organizations were founded so the students could feel safe and wouldn’t be judged by other people. It was so students could spread goodness and awareness in their communities and schools. It was to show that these fraternities and sororities could overcome anything together, as a community, as brothers and sisters, as Greek life.
That being so, it’s tradition for the new recruiters in Greek life to be quizzed on the rules they follow, founding members, and traditions inside their groups. However, as years went by and these organizations started to become bigger, these rituals were often forgotten. This caused most fraternities to forget the deeper meaning why it is important to join these groups.
Today, if a student is asked why they want to join Greek life in college, their answer will probably be because of wanting to be apart of the parties in school or live in the fraternity or sorority house. Students no longer know the real meaning behind these clubs or why these groups originated in the first place. The groups inside Greek life start to become more of a popularity contest.
The idea doesn’t seem bad at first because Greek life is beneficial for students after college because of the network you can gain. But, with all the original rituals lost in the organizations, the members inside Greek life gave birth to what is now known as the “hazing” period. This means college students are often being humiliated in front of their peers at school, or made to do something dangerous out in public.
Students have to perform these tasks in order to become a member of a fraternity or sorority. Today, hazing is illegal in 44 states including New Jersey, and many universities and colleges make the Greek organizations sign a no hazing agreement, including Fairleigh Dickinson University. However, this rule doesn’t mean that members are not still getting hazed, but it does mean that these groups are getting slicker in the tasks put upon their incoming members.
For example, at the University of Wisconsin, Alpha Sigma Phi was suspended for a hazing violation in the Fall 2018 semester. In fact, 95% of students in Greek life don’t report hazing because they don’t want to be considered a snitch. It is better to be “popular” and be part of a group then to be a “snitch” and be excluded.
Greek life started so it could be something bigger and better, not to be part of a popularity contest and taking the lives of young brilliant students.