Greek life can be beneficial to students’ future

Tori Maloukis - Director of Students Activities

Tori Maloukis – Director of Students Activities

Chart Staff

Alright, let’s be frank. The Missouri Southern campus does not have the strongest Greek community. It currently consists of two fraternities, Kappa Alpha and Sigma Pi, and two sororities, Alpha Sigma Alpha and Zeta Tau Alpha. However, although these four groups are small in comparison to most Greek associations at surrounding campuses, they are very tenacious.

The Greek groups of Southern survive on a campus that is not very conducive to Greek Life. The first thing many will notice is the lack of Greek housing. Many believe a house is what truly signifies a Greek organization. On larger campuses, this may be the case, but a small, commuter campus such as ours simply cannot yet support Greek housing. In addition to the many legal issues associated with Greek housing, the financial cost can often be prohibitive.

In my opinion, another challenge that the Greeks at Southern face, is the lack of general support, much of which stems from falsely stereotyping Greeks and Greek life. Now, while there are many community alumni, faculty and staff who have generously given of their time and talent in an effort to support Greek Life at Southern, greater and more widespread support among the student body would significantly improve the strength and philanthropic ability of Southern’s fraternities and sororities. During my six months here at Southern, I have been disappointed not to hear more positive comments regarding our Greek organizations. Much of what I hear is the perpetuation of negative stereotypes absent of any regard for the wonderful causes to which Greeks are committed. “Why should I buy my friends?” “Greeks are just about partying and having a good time.” It is true that Greeks pay dues, and it is true that Greeks are committed to getting the most out of their college careers -academically and socially. But this is not the whole story, and, too often, much is left unsaid.

In paying dues to a Greek organization, you are not buying your friends. A Greek organization is a business, and you are aiding in keeping that business alive. Those dues go to many things other than social functions. They go to foundations, scholarships, philanthropies and to reinvestment into the chapter -a key ingredient to the success of any business or organization. Yes, Greeks do have a good time, but as a member of many organizations in college, I know most college students know how to have a good time despite their affiliations. Greeks and athletes are usually just the ones to get the publicity when something goes wrong.

Believe it or not, many students even join Greek organizations for reasons other than socializing. Maybe these statistics have something to do with that:

• Greeks raise more than $7 million per year for philanthropic purposes.

• Greeks donate approximately 850,000 hours of their time annually to different philanthropies.

• Nationally, fraternities and sororities have maintained a higher grade point average than the general undergraduate average at most universities.

• A government study shows more than 70 percent of all those who join a Greek organization graduate college, while less than 50 percent of all non-affiliated persons graduate.

• Of the nations’ 50 largest corporations, 43 are led by Greek men and women.

• Approximately 85 percent of the Fortune 500 executives are members of Greek organizations.

• Seventy-seven percent of Who’s Who in America are Greek.

• Seventy-six percent of U.S. Senators are Greek.

• Greeks have significantly higher incomes then non-Greeks.

What I find amazing, is that only two percent of the nation’s population is Greek. As you can all see from the statistics above, that two percent is very powerful. Another reason students join Greek organizations- which may be the most important to many college students -is Greek communities provide opportunities to develop 12 of the 18 key factors employers are looking for in new employees:

• Real-world experience

• Leadership qualities

• Personal presentation

• Attitude

[BULLET] Communication skills

[BULLET] Computer skills

[BULLET] Problem solving

[BULLET] Customer service oriented

[BULLET] Proven track record

[BULLET] Adaptability [DASH] drive initiative

[BULLET] Ability to learn

[BULLET] Preparation for interviews

Hopefully everyone has learned Greek organizations serve many purposes.

In fact, most Greek organizations have a mission that includes scholarship, philanthropy, leadership, sisterhood/brotherhood and community involvement. Believe me when I tell you most students do not join Greek organizations for the sole purpose of partying. So, the next time you see one of Southern’s Greek organizations trying to raise money for a philanthropy or helping out around the community, or maybe even just recruiting new members, support them. I know they are willing to support you in any way possible, and many of the individuals involved in these groups are already involved with many other groups on campus as well. Greeks are leaders.