Why College Students Join Fraternities and Sororities
College is like a vast ocean for any student where there are several options for a destination. The journey can be sad, happy, successful or a failure which all greatly depends on the student as he is the captain of the ship.
Most college campuses and universities have this Greek system as it is a good avenue for students to grow and develop one’s identity. Here are some of the common reasons why students join Greek life.
Common Reasons for Joining the Greek System
- Acts as a Third Home: Upon going to college, most students are leaving their home and the college campus serves as the second home. Whenever a student feels lonely and helpless, joining a fraternity or sorority can help reinforce the feeling of security and belongingness. This can serve as the third home for any college student.
- Exercising Humanitarian Service: Aside from providing academic and social support, Greek organizations also do community and philanthropic services.
- Avenue of Meeting One’s Best friend for Life: A Greek house is a good place where one meets someone who can be with you through thick and thin. A true friend who can accept one's flaws and best aspects of life.
- Provide School Support: The members inside a Greek house can be a student’s source for guidance and mentoring in getting through with academics.
- Good Connection After Graduation: The last reason why students join Greek life is the vast network of opportunities that can be used after college. This network can be vital for one’s advancement in a career or business.
How Are Fraternities and Sororities Related to the Issue of College Substance Abuse?
These Greek organizations have shown several positive things in the community. It helped students find security and support through college. Members of these Greek houses have become prominent leaders in many organizations and companies.
There are several things to admire from this Greek system but there are also things to gripe about it. The darkest growing issue about these organizations is that it has become a breeding ground for substance abuse and alcoholism among college students.
Among the several studies conducted, here are the four reasons why it has become a good guise for substance abuse and alcoholism.
Not all, but most Greek organizations have some acts of passage rites for a student to be formally accepted. Some of these rituals include hazing, binge drinking, and the use of illicit substances.
Lack of Control
Most Greek Houses are managed by senior college students who cannot fully take control of the members. It could be that the group has a loose security system to check on every member or worse, the leaders are the promulgators of these unhealthy behaviors. Likewise, college campuses have a loose hold into the activities of these Greek houses.
Members of any Greek organization experience intense social pressure to keep up with the standards of the group. Students are forced to do almost all things dictated by the group in order to gain acceptance most of the time.
All members interact and influence one another. There is a higher risk that some members have unhealthy behaviors which can influence others to follow. This scenario increases the risk of the progression of drug abuse and alcoholism.
How Prevalent is Substance Abuse and Alcoholism in Greek Houses?
Fraternities and Sororities have a great impact on molding a college student. There are several issues regarding the prevalence of substance abuse and alcoholism in several Greek houses. To get a better picture of this condition, here are some important statistics about it.
Statistics on Substance Abuse and Alcoholism in Greek Houses
- Around 86 percent of students included in Greek houses binge drinks every month. Whereas, only 36 percent of non-member students binge drinks every month.
- There is a high incidence of binge drinking and marijuana consumption for college male students who are members of Greek systems
- Around 45 percent of male individuals who have been members of Greek life have suffered alcohol use disorder at the age of 35. This is higher compared to non-members which hit around 32.7 percent.
- 50 percent of female and 70 percent male college students who are members of Greek houses engage in binge drinking. This is higher compared to the population of non-members doing binge drinking.
- There is a higher risk for marijuana abuse in the mid-30s for those who have been members of Greek systems.
Statistics on Some Consequences of Greek Houses
- Male members of Greek systems have committed higher of rape incidents – around 300 percent higher compared to non-member students
- Most rape cases happen in Greek houses. Around 2 in 5 female sorority members had a traumatic sexual experience.
- Every year, approximately 1,400 fraternity peers die due to alcohol use disorder
- There is a high incidence of rape and sexual harassment in male Greek houses – around 70,000 incidences each year
- In terms of physical assault, annually there are 600,000 fraternity peers involved in it.
- Around 500,000 male college members of these groups experience physical injuries due to accidents
- Around half the population of fraternity members have low academic standings
Who Must Not Join these Greek Systems?
These Greek systems still have some benefits and contributions to society and students. Several fraternities and sororities do philanthropic services to the community and the less fortunate people. However, not all students are suitable to join Greek life.
Students who have some history of substance and alcohol abuse must avoid joining Greek life due to the higher risk of being easily persuaded to do unhealthy behaviors. People with a history of unhealthy behaviors have lesser resistance to say no when peers ask them to do so. It is best if these students join study groups or just do self-study at home or in a café.
How to Choose the Right Fraternity or Sorority?
If one has a great desire or need to join Greek life. It is best to do some background checking first about the group before joining them. In order to avoid joining the wrong Greek House, the following tips can be adapted:
- Do some research about the leaders of the Greek organization
- Know the essential requirements needed to join the Greek house
- Know the achievements and records of these leaders
- Talk to some members and discretely gather information about the status of the group
- Choose a Greek house which is aligned to one’s interest
- Do some research about the cost breakdown of their membership fee
- Determine if the group has been involved in some serious negative issues such as rape, sexual harassment, hazing, and substance abuse