COLUMN: Greek Life is not defined by stereotypes


Sarah Ingram, copy editor, covered Greek Life when she was a reporter.

As a sophomore journalism student, I was given the task of covering Greek Life for The Parthenon. I didn’t realize this assignment would change how I viewed Greek Life, even though I had no idea where to start. 

In movies, fraternities and sororities are often depicted as simple-minded party animals. Marshall’s Greek Life often falls victim to these same stereotypes, but I think it’s important for the community to understand the good things Greek Life does, too. 

Recently, Marshall University’s Delta Zeta sorority was issued a cease and desist order after facing allegations of illegal drug use and hazing. Last semester, the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha, or Pike, lost its house and is no longer affiliated with Marshall, with rumors circling the dissociation was hazing related as well.

While I do not condone drug use or hazing in any way, and I am glad that Marshall and the national organizations are taking these accusations seriously, I do not want people to forget that not all Greek Life is bad. And as someone who is not part of a Greek organization but stays up-to-date with what the different organizations do, I know that they bring a lot of good to the community. 

Did you know that each fraternity and sorority has at least one, if not more than one, philanthropy event that they do each year? The Office of Student Affairs keeps records of how much money is raised during these charity events, and Greek Life collects thousands of dollars for local and national organizations every year. And it’s not all for one organization; some sororities raise money for the Starkey Hearing Foundation or for local domestic violence abuse victim centers, while some fraternities help the Wounded Warrior Project or donate toys to children who have suffered natural disasters. There’s a wide variety of organizations receiving help, and that’s just at Marshall. 

Rayshawn Eastman, an assistant dean of students for development currently residing over Greek Life, informed me that Greek Life has the same, if not higher, GPAs than non-Greek students. To say that these organizations don’t care about their schooling would be an ignorant statement, especially because some Greek organizations have required study hours where they have to be with so many other members in order to hold each other accountable. 

And a common phrase I hear is that Greeks pay for their friends, but that’s not true. Dues go to organizations so that they can pay for other things, just like tons of other clubs on Marshall’s campus have dues. I know it may seem pricier, but not every organization on campus has a house, or events they have to fund themselves or have national conventions they are expected to attend to better themselves. 

So yes, there are issues. Hazing should not be taken lightly, and same goes for drug use. But those Greek organizations do not represent all Greek Life. 

Sarah Ingram can be contacted at [email protected]