Greek Series 4: Greek life’s benefits only for ‘natural insiders’


This is the fourth part of a multipart series on the benefits and drawbacks of Greek Life on Transy’s campus. 

Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here. Read Part 3 here.

“Everyone should rush!” “Why didn’t you join a sorority?”

Greek members talk about sororities and fraternities like they’re just something you decide to join, and that’s all there is to it. You just sign up, and bam, instant insider. Instant meaningful relationships, instant support. Sign your name here, hand over some cash and it’s yours for the having. Brothers or sisters for life. Who wouldn’t rush?

But the rush process is not as simple – or as positive – as it’s casually conveyed. The thing is, if you “become” a member of a Greek organization, you’ve really been an insider all along. You fit in with the men or women of that organization before you even met them. What I mean is that even if you want to be part of a social Greek group, even if you want this support and love, the organization first has to consider you a natural insider. It must be a destined match. And if you don’t match, this support isn’t yours for the having. You can’t just take the support- you have to fit in. The members have to want you. And this is where the logic of the “everyone should rush” inclusive mindset falls through.

The rush process is hypocritical. The goal is simultaneously to welcome you and size you up. Good god, the thought of having my face plastered on the wall via PowerPoint slide for members to vote on whether they want me in their social group makes me want to scream. Don’t tell me that doesn’t happen, because I know it does. You can try to spin it positively, downplay the negative side. You might even accept it as a necessary evil. But I can’t get the image out of my head of one of my friend’s faces, upset at not receiving a bid from the sorority sisters she wanted, then trying again next year and not receiving a bid from anyone at all. Because she wasn’t a natural insider, she wasn’t eligible for that “instant support” the sororities advertised.

There is no room in Greek organizations for natural outsiders. So all those benefits of rushing a frat? All those positives of sorority life? All those statistics on Greeks having better mental health, GPAs, campus involvement, community engagement, and graduation rates? Great for them: but they’re only for the natural insiders. They simply defend the insiders’ logic. They confirm what those insiders already know and experience. They’re obvious to everyone, inside and out. They mean nothing for the natural outsider. And they disguise and distract from the core problem that these organizations are socially exclusive by nature. Which, as I’m led to believe, is the opposite of Transy’s educational goal. But that’s a different letter.