1. Hazing = Hate, not Pledging - "I pledged!!" "My rush process was intense!" These are some of the reasons students give when their "process" is the highlight of their collegiate Greek experience. I get it, me and my LB's laugh about our pledge process all the time, but there has to be more. As a community, we need to understand it’s nearly impossible to build, sustain, or foster true brotherhood/sisterhood after you have hazed me. The Intake Process or Rushing has become more and more about the physicality and brutality of the process. How hard is your chapter? How real are your neos? No paper members allowed! The number of chapters being suspended for hazing or hazing related incidents is approaching an all-time high and the insurance rates for org's has increased year after year! Let's work to shape the narrative of pledging; shifting the focus from Animal House and School Daze to preparing initiates to be great active members of the organization. The Pledge process should be challenging, inspiring, and educational.
2. The network will help me in my career. I know that there is a little mystery behind Phoenician lettered organizations. Maybe that is why some people believe that learning a secret handshake and wearing the right pin will help you land your dream job. Just being in a fraternity or sorority is not enough to increase your network or your net worth. Sure it may give you something in common with your interviewer, but you need some substance to your conversation. The reason there are so many successful Greeks in the professional ranks is because those individuals worked really hard. There is only one way turn Greek Life into a powerful network...NETWORKING! Get involved in what your organization is doing on a local, state, regional, and national level. Be a leader and a champion of your orgs values so you can stand out and be noticed. The skills and confidence you gain from being an active and engaged participant in Greek Life will help make you a better professional, than any secret charge you learn.
3. Tradition/Famous Members - I think it's awesome that my fraternity brothers include Martin Luther King, Jr and Thurgood Marshall, but what am I doing to continue that legacy of excellence? When it's time for interest meetings, Greek orgs tend to lean on our history but what are we doing in the present? What impact are we making in our communities now!? I am in no way saying that the history and legacy of our orgs shouldn't be talked about or highlighted. I am proud of the history of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; however, I am equally proud of the impact my chapter had on our campus. The highlight of our collegiate Greek experiences should be rooted in the impact we made on our campuses and the bonds we created with our brothers and sisters. It is our responsibility to be more than letter wearers spouting out how many Presidents or execs we have in the lineage of our orgs. We should aim to uphold the values and purpose of our fraternities and sororities in an effort to initiate a positive change on our campuses and in our communities.
Pledging sucks because we sometimes highlight things that don’t put our orgs in the best light. This sets the wrong impression and reinforces negative expectations and behaviors. When you are representing your org and Greek Life in general (which is all the time btw) you should present the true appeal of Greek Life and highlight the wonderful tenets of our great sororities and fraternities. If you want to better prepare the Greeks on your campus to represent the true appeal of Greek Life, bring Chris and his program The New Normal: Life After the Letters to your campus now!