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Greek life not about parties

Academic excellence, community service top priorities for Stanislaus fraternities, sororities

Greek life not about parties

Ciara Ross of Alpha Xi Delta plays Halloween games with Destiny and Zachary Dever at the Turlock downtown trick-or-treat event in 2011. The sorority also provided pumpkins for the downtown corn maz...

POSTED September 10, 2012 11:34 a.m.

When you think of members of Greek life you probably only think of three things: drinking, parties, and large amounts of hazing.  They’re either peer pressuring students on your favorite sitcom or trying to make that character joins their Greek group while also taking a beating from a paddle.  But are Greek students really like this? Of course not.

It’s not uncommon to assume the negative stereotypes associated with Greek organizations.  At California State University Stanislaus, Greek life is more than a group of socials that gather for parties.  It is a unity of individuals that thrives on the unique characters, ideals, and opinion of its members.

 “I think that if people went out there, and took the opportunity to just explore the option they would find it is much different than what they perceive because of television or movies or what they hear from friends,” said CSU Stanislaus’ Greek Advisor Tiffany Darling Gelbaum.  “The benefits of joining Greek are substantial.”

California State University, Stanislaus currently has 15 fraternities and sororities on campus, each with a unique mission and purpose. All organizations are officially chartered with the Student Leadership and Development, and are part of one or more on-campus Greek councils. Additionally, some groups are part of a larger national or international organization.

“Every organization is different. We have local, regional, and national groups. We also have multicultural groups. We have such a wide variety that could meet every person’s needs,” said Gelbaum.  

The members of a Greek organization are sisters and brothers, sharing a strong bond of love and acceptance.

“Greek life at CSU Stanislaus is different than any other campus.  Because we are much smaller than others, everyone knows each other.  We have molded ourselves into an extended family,” said Gelbaum.

Greek life also helps students strive for excellence in academics. Many organizations have study hours, mentors, and other programming to enhance their members’ academic performance. Many organizations also offer scholarships and recognition awards for academic excellence. As a result of these efforts, many chapters have a grade point average above that of their peers. 

“Two years ago we started an Order of Omega chapter, which recognizes the top performing Greeks academically being initiated into an honor society.  Our goal this year is to encourage all members from Greek to excel on their academics and also grow the honor society to make it well known to everyone,” said Gelbaum.

Greek membership can help make the transition to college life easier and more enjoyable for students. Fraternity and sorority organizations offer a support system to students through its camaraderie and opportunities for involvement.

Danielle Nelson, a CSU Stanislaus student and current member of Delta Phi Gamma, has been a member of Greek life for over three years.  She feels that being involved in her sorority gave her a different outlook on life.

“When I was a freshman in college I partied heavily with other people.  Once I joined the sorority it balanced me out in many different ways.  I stopped focusing on the parties and using my time in more productive areas such as academics, community services, and our philanthropy,” she said.

Joining a fraternity or sorority can help greatly broaden a student’s social network and sense of community, thus making the college experience more enjoyable. The benefits of Greek membership are real. A United States government study found that students who join Greek-letter organizations experience many positive benefits.

“I am pursuing a career of teaching and many of our sorority members who are alumni are teachers.   They have helped get connected into their campus and are always helpful when I need help.  I encourage every student to check out what Greek Life is all about,” said Nelson.   





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