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Greek Life and Its Stereotypes1

Running head: GREEK LIFE AND ITS STEREOTYPES

Greek Life and Its Stereotypes: Hazing, Community, and Academics Dylan R. Alpern University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Fall 2013

Greek Life and Its Stereotypes2 Introduction: Greek Life Stereo Types Upon first beginning my thought process on what to focus my narrative essay on, I was able to truly go in any route in which I wanted based on my broadness in assignment one. However, I noticed that I kept coming back to the idea of Greek life as I know it versus the stereo typical ideas represented by society and film. Although the 1970s interpretation of Greek life in Animal House featuring the always great Jon Belushi chugging down a fifth of Jack Daniels, sexually harassing women, and failing out of college is comical it is hard to swallow to say the least. This film has become the staple hallmark of Greek life stereotypes; and for this reason I began to wonder how much of these stereotypes rang true in the issues of academics, hazing/violence, and sociality. And more- given that we are in an ever growing digital society I felt as though the most accurate way to depict the true Greek life through my eyes would be through that of a lens. For this reason I have compiled photographic evidence on an online media album on my portfolio Wix account. This representation will allow you, the reader, to see everything from Grade reports, to fund raising, to parties, and tailgates. Thus allowing an open eyed view to speculate opinions based of tangible writing and information, as well as visual cues. Three weeks before the beginning of Fall 2012 semester I was pleasantly informed by the University of South Carolina, yes the Gamecocks, that because I chose to no longer play lacrosse to pursue a double major and a minor with hopes of being a doctor that I would no longer receive a scholarship to their education establishment. Therefore in a panic of struggle, I began coming to charlotte my Sophomore year college in Fall 2012. Upon arriving here I didnt know anyone, have any idea of what was happening etc. After a few weeks of school I met Conley Hicks, at the time the Membership Chair for Sigma Tau Gamma. I as many students and individuals alike couldnt help to fall into the judging stereotypes of Greek life and because of my outlook then
Comment [MB1]: Maybe give a small synopsis of the movie to clarify to the reader if they are unaware of the movie/reference you are making.

Greek Life and Its Stereotypes3 and now it only seemed natural to connect the aspects of academics, hazing, and social/community interactions. Through these three points I aim to bring clarity to any and all readers of the truth both positive and negative in my eyes of Greek life as a whole. This will be represented through my own personal accounts, studies conducted by respected organizations, and other various means such as news reports and statistical values. Literature Review Hazing The first and foremost most talked about topic in Greek life, in my opinion as well as the opinion of others, is hazing. When people mention being Greek the top asked question initially is, Were you hazed? and rightly so. Statistical studies co nducted by the National Hazing Society suggest that, 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams and organizations experience hazing( "Hazing Prevention."). Although this statistic doesnt account for specifically Greek students this number is alarming at the least. And more- more appalling than the previous statistic 2 in 5 students acknowledge their awareness of hazing taking place on campus, and of those 2, 1 in 5 report personally witness the acts of hazing. These statistic continue onward to say that in these 2 in 5 students 95% of the individuals do not act on this issue and report them to campus officials( "Hazing Prevention."). To put this into retrospect in fall of 2009 the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 24,500 students of these student 5% being Greek. Through simple math we can concur 1,225 students were part of a Greek organization. Assuming that every Greek organizations hazes, not saying they do Im simply speculating based on stereotypes, this implies that 490 students are aware of the hazing of peers. Of the 24,500 enrolled students we can conclude statistically that only 24 Greek members, 2% will further report the physical and mental abuse of their peers. Why is this so? Primarily my
Comment [MB2]: Fix citation style. Just a slight error in the punctuation.

Greek Life and Its Stereotypes4 research has shown that most students whom have been hazed dont feel as though they truly were, actually 9 in 10 students do not, also 36% of students feel as though they have no one in which they can talk to about these issues and those whom do(27%) feel as though this officials will not handle the situation in appropriate ways( "Hazing Prevention."). What is Hazing. To better understand these statistics I began to furth research what hazing truly is. Outlined by UNCCs Hazing Compliance Form, hazing is described as Any action or activity, regardless of location, intent, or willingness of the participant, which: does not contribute to the positive development of a person: inflicts or causes physical or mental harm or anxieties; demeans, degrades, disgraces, harasses, or ridicules a person; intentionally or unintentionally endangers a students admission to or affiliation with any student organization( "Fraternity and Sorority Life - UNC Charlotte ."). Why Some Greek Organizations Haze. Next I began to analyze Why do Greek organizations feel the need to haze?. Given that I was not hazed, through a few sources I was able to compile and come to the conclusion tradition, unity, and commonality are the main reasons for hazing. They appear to feel as though because hazing was an age-old tradition for organizations it is the right of passage as well as a requirement for the members as generations continue, even though as times progress it is becoming illegal, frowned upon, and against social standards. The purpose of the tradition was an effort to create unity between new members. At the given time hazing was sought out as a method to bring the pledges together in a common characteristic even though from different backgrounds. And more- through this unity of the pledges it connects them to the greater commonality of all the national organizations members having gone through similar hazing rituals.
Comment [MB4]: You state this in a way where at one time it WAS acceptable. Maybe list examples of what hazing used to consist of and compare it to the new found ways of the tradition. Comment [MB3]: Reword this statistic so it flows better throughout the sentence. Take away parenthesis.

Greek Life and Its Stereotypes5 Policies Against Hazing. As hazing progresses to become more and more out of the social norm primarily for reasons such as, the number of recorded hazing/pledging/rushingrelated deaths in fraternities and sororities stands at 96 90 males and 6 females., rules, state, and even federal laws have become constructed to eliminate all aspects of these actions. Given that 82% of deaths relating to hazing are caused due to alcohol, many universities have made this a main priority in hazing prevention("Hazing Prevention."). More recently and home based UNC Charlotte own Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity is currently under investigation for a possible hazing incident with the use of alcohol on September 6th and 7th 2013 in Uwharrie National Forest. Allegedly according to student, Marcus 18 years old of Waxhaw, NC, he and his fellow pledge brothers were forced to drink to the point at which he was incapacitated, unwakeable the next morning, and was required to be carried 30 minutes out of the woods to promptly rush him to the emergency room. Even after all this given time the pledge Marcus blood point average was a 0.42 this being 5 times the legal limit(Becker). Pike is currently under investigation for this travesty; however this clearly, if proven true, is a prime example for which policies against hazing are being constructed and strictly enforced. Social and Community Interactions Animal house. Animal house is a film created by National Lampoon in 1978. This film depicted the absolute stereotypical Greek life persuasion. However is Greek life entirely like this? Is this depiction accurate? Community Service. One topic in which my research targeted was the constant reminder of Greeks and their communities. A vast majority of Greek students participate in community services and outreach programs on a regular basis. Now when talk about the involvement with the community I am talking solely on the hours, commitment, and participation to the causes of
Comment [MB6]: Clarify after this the widely used nickname Pike, so that when you mention it later on it wont be confusing to the reader. Comment [MB5]: Reword first part of the sentence so that it is less awkward.

Greek Life and Its Stereotypes6 bettering ones self and country. This is based on the their efforts not numerical financial value, that will be discussed later. 19,239.75 this number represents the number of community services hours that UNC Charlottes Greek community contributed to the bettering of their community through cleaning up streets, helping the mentally disabled, building homes for the homeless, and many other routes. And more- 10,337 represents the number of goods collected to clothe and feed the less fortunate(Consulation Report). Why do Greeks do this? This answer is not as simple however. Community service is a required action by Greek organizations as stated in the Relationship Statement of UNC Charlotte. However this does not mandate any number of specific hours, goods or any other criteria. It is the sole motivation of the organizations that create the numbers displayed and as years progress organizations are pushing themselves further and further. Even as of this year Greeks have already reached 4,798.75 service hours recorded. Philanthropy and Fundraising. In addition to contributing community services hours. Each Greek organization chooses a cause nationally to support as their philanthropy. For this cause each organization is constantly striving and putting forth effort in raising the funds necessary to keep these programs thriving. A vast majority of these organizations such as the Special Olympics, Starsky Foundation, and others main source of income is provided by that of Greeks. With thousands of members across the United States and even abroad these organizations are able to impact their causes far and wide in many ways simple business cannot. This grassroot based effort has allowed for many advantages. And more- this interaction based on Suzy M. Nelson is said to improve college students overall quality of life, increase academic attentiveness, and broaden cognitive thinking(Nelson).
Comment [MB7]: Maybe explain this foundation more and what it stands for. You can compare/contrast the values of this foundation with the values of your fraternity.

Greek Life and Its Stereotypes7 Sociality. Many people assume that Greeks only party, drink, and other less than appreciated activities and well theyre right. We do party, we do drink, we do get in trouble; but so does every other college student Greek or not. In fact my research showed that: First, research has indicated that, in some of the heaviest drinking fraternities, members in fact accurately estimate the normative drinking patterns of their fellow members and thus there is no misperception to correct.(Sher). Therefore stating that based on psychological studies conducted by Sher and his peers Greeks do not drink more than there unaffiliated counterparts because they accurate can measure the societal drinking patterns whereas unaffiliated members over estimate their peers drinking habits. Greek life provides students with many opportunities to meet many people. Many of which become lifelong friends as well as career connections. These interactions provide a positive environment for students that lead to happier people correlating into their school, personal, and academic achievements. Academics An example Ive been commonly falling on is National Lampoons Animal House, for those of you whom have not seen it toward the end of the movie these students and fraternity members are removed from school for their inadequate grades. However how true is this? Grade Point Average. A students GPA determines many things in their college career whether it be job interviews, studying abroad, membership, or even staying in school period. However luckily there has been a positive correlation between Greek students and their grades. A study published in Oracle a journal showed the correlation between, the relationship of fraternity/sorority membership on grade point average(GPA) and student

Greek Life and Its Stereotypes8 retention.(Nelson). This study was one of the few studies that allows people to numerically statistical data representation of the effect of Greek life on students. These results as stated before were positive. The study suggested that students whom are Greek are more likely to do well in college than their average independent counterparts. However, the results were not all positive the studies also suggested that students who first join in Fall semesters are more likely to do worst at first before they strive to do well. This statistical flaw could be contributed to a number of things; for example could hazing be the cause of this? Although inconclusive in the reasonings for the decline in grades the first semester of going Greek this study is beneficial in seeing the stereotypes versus the scientific studied results. Graduation. In addition to students having higher GPAs it is also shown that students who are Greek have a higher rate of retention, in other words more students who are Greek graduate college than those whom are not. we found that fraternity/sorority membership had a drastically positive effect on the persistence to graduation: 90% of fraternity/sorority members compared to 70% of nonaffiliated students were enrolled their senior year.(Nelson). Ergo students whom are Greek not only possess higher grade point averages but are also more likely to continue and to finish their college career than those who are not Greek. Thus ultimately could be stating that Greeks pursue the true reason we are at school, for an education, more thoroughly than non-affiliated students. Enter the Conversation In order to enter the conversation the easiest way, for me, to do so is to describe my personal experiences with Sigma Tau Gamma, Epsilon Tau chapter at UNC Charlotte. I began my journey with Sig Tau in Fall 2012 after my transferring from the University of South

Greek Life and Its Stereotypes9 Carolina. I as may had the original based stereotype given by years of word of mouth and cinema mostly. And more- the ever so popular 90s television show GREEK. My adventure with Sigma Tau Gamma began at fair in the quad located across from student union on UNCCs campus. Here, I met Conley Hicks a gentleman who would later become my big brother and mentor. At the time I had never heard of Sigma Tau Gamma let alone held any interest in Greek life. At this point in time Sigma Tau didnt exist on this campus aside from the Greek Offices high expectations for change on campus. Upon joining I began to go through a ritualistic journey lasting a few months referred to as The Path of Principles. Now this document is no secret and can be accessed numerous locations on the internet. This process was an educational process to instill six principles within myself and my associate, not pledge, brothers. These six principles were; benefit: to serve fraternity college and country, value: to enhance the worth of belonging, integrity: to perfect a structure of honor, leadership: to develop good leaders for America, learning: to afford the environment for learning, and excellence: to strive for superior performance. These six principles later lead me and my newly found brothers to achieve some of the highest honors on this campus. We achieved the highest service hours, grades, and various other awards. The Greek offices applauded us and told other fraternities to Watch your backs theyre coming for you and even received our national charter to officially be recognized nationally and at our university for our efforts. But what about the stereotypes? The hazing, the sociality, the academics? What influences did these have on my experiences? Hazing
Comment [MB9]: Good rhetorical questions. Be sure that you attempt to answer these later on in the paper. A good place would be conclusion. Comment [MB8]: Reword this to make a smoother conclusion to this paragraph.

Greek Life and Its Stereotypes10 Hazing: is nonexistent in Sigma Tau Gamma. Our founding president was at the end of hazing practices by Lambda Chi Alpha and therefore pledged to never uphold that traditional standard. Also nationally our organization has a zero hazing policy. Many organizations say they do not haze and I can merely say this as well. However we strictly enforce this. Even our new members are referred to as associates instead of the hazing terminology pledge. We hold no requirements of members that are physically or mentally detrimental. We uphold the belief that in order to call someone a brother you treat them as your brother. Humiliation, abuse, alcoholism is not the principles youd impose on your biological family therefore we strongly believe that these practices are appalling. Our members current and past we call brothers for who they or not for the people we try to create them into through hazing. Now, does hazing occur. Yes, it most certainly does. However not in this chapter. At East Carolina University we visited the local chapter and regrettably stumbled upon their lack of ethics and morals concluded they were indeed hazing new members. Upon discovering this we immediately contacted our national branch and reported the people we call brother for these acts. They are currently under investigation. Social and Community Interactions Social. Sig Tau provided me with many avenues to venture out socially. I have been able to meet many people I never would have otherwise. I agree I have partied and even have consumed alcohol sometimes in to large amounts. However these experiences have molded me into the person I am. Through social events such as mixers and philanthropy I have become a broader individual. Im more rounded and cultured and am able to see many walks of life and integrate with many different types of people.
Comment [MB11]: Maybe keep it more formal by not calling it by its nickname. That way a reader will not be confused if they no nothing about Greek life. Comment [MB10]: Rhetorical question?

Greek Life and Its Stereotypes11 And more- this has provided me with a fun college career one Im proud of and can say I made the most of. Community. As stated previously Greek organizations deal heavily in the community and Sig Tau is no different. I have participated in Habitat for Humanity, helping homeless, the Boston bombings victims, Special Olympics, the Starsky foundation, and so many more. I have been able to help people in ways ranging from reading to the children of Moorehead academy in Charlotte, NC all the way to feeding, clothing, and even giving shelter to those who have none. I am proud to say Greek life provided me with the avenues I needed to become a better person for myself as well as my community. And more- these experiences have aided me in my pursuit of being a M.D. and have also humbled me as an individual. Our personal Philanthropy is the Special Olympics of NC and nothing is more rewarding then coaching a game with these children so full of life and love and knowing you were able to touch them equally as much as they have touched you and that in one day you changed the life of someone who needed your help. Whether its swinging a hammer or waving a sign everything I do for my community, brotherhood, and country has made me into the man I am today and Greek life has given me those tools. Academics As for academics: I was always an A student, I never struggled much in school and never had to study much either. However when coming to college the task increased in difficulty and magnitude. Sig Tau provided me with resources I needed to excel. I have a reason to keep my grade point average high aside from my aspirations but for my own personal growth for wanting to better myself and fraternity. When I struggle with subjects or task I have 70 men willing to

Greek Life and Its Stereotypes12 help me in any way they can. A prime example in my Assignment one when I needed interviews every brother immediately offered to take my survey in an effort to help my academic goal. Lastly, as a fraternity we have established study hours based on grades. We as a group voted and elected to require our members to study a certain number of hours based on their previous semester GPA. Granted this is mandatory it also pushes us to be better students the reason we are at college to begin with. These hours are also a guideline because every brother meets and excels past the hours assigned. This leading us to have a higher group and individual GPAs than the average of the student population. So What: Stereotype and Truths The idea of Greek life is a stagnant stereotype in todays society. However with the right approach and understanding this can change. We analyzed how hazing negatively effects people and is taking place in Greek societies however we also learned all the strives many organizations take against these actions. Likewise we analyzed the numerical impact Greeks have on the community and country at large through community service and fundraising practices. Lastly and in the same degree we saw both the positive and negative impacts Greek life holds over its members. As we close I can only help but wonder where Greek life will go from here. Will it continue to be a stereotype or can we prove all the wrongs right? Will hazing progress causing more harms or will the strives state, school, and Greeks make help put an end to these practices entirely. And lastly, will the correlation between Greeks and academics continue to be positive and what other aspects affect these results. In all, I feel my research help shed some light on the overall outlook of Greek life the good and the bad.

Greek Life and Its Stereotypes13 References Alpern, D. (2013, September 21). Assignment One- UNCC Tailgating. Retrieved from https://moodle2.uncc.edu/mod/assignment/view.php?id=127442 American Magazine. (2013, May 7). True Brotherhood. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from https://www.americamagazine.org/issue/5139/editorial/true-brotherhood Becker, M. (n.d.). UNCC fraternity accused of hazing after teen lands in... | www.wsoctv.com. Charlotte News, Weather, Breaking News, Panthers, Channel 9... | www.wsoctv.com . Retrieved October 4, 2013, from http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/unccfaternity-accused-hazing-after-teen-lands-int/nbByP/ Consulation Report. (2011, April 27). UNCCDSO. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from s3.amazonaws.com/os_extranet_files_test/11716_19540_2011OFSLConsultantReport.p df "Fraternity and Sorority Life - UNC Charlotte ." Dean of Students Office - UNC Charlotte . N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2013. <http://unccdso.orgsync.com/org/ofsl/Resources>. "Fraternity & Sorority National Statistics."University of Missouri - Kansas City. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2013. <http://www.umkc.edu/getinvolved/fsa-national-statistics.asp>. " Greek Life Statistics | The Fraternity Advisor." The Fraternity Advisor | Make Your Fraternity the Best on Campus. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2013. <http://thefraternityadvisor.com/greek-life-statistics/>. Nelson, Suzy, Silas Halperin, Timothy Wasserman, Corinne Smit, and Peter Graham. "EFFECTS OF FRATERNITY/SORORITY MEMBERSHIP AND RECRUITMENT SEMESTER ON GPA AND RETENTION." Oracle: The Research Journal of the Association of Fraternity Advisors 2.1 (2006): 61-73. Print.

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"Hazing Prevention." Hazing Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2013. <http://www.hazingprevention.org/>. News. (n.d.). 7 Considerations When Thinking About Greek Life - Twice the College Advice (usnews.com). US News & World Report | News & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, and more. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/twice-the-college-advice/2011/09/20/7considerations-when-thinking-about-greek-life Sher, KJ. "Short- and long-term effects of fratern... [Psychol Addict Behav. 2001] - PubMed NCBI." National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2013. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11255938%3>. UNC Charlotte Fraternity & Sorority Life Spring 2013 Grade Report. (n.d.). UNCCDSO. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from s3.amazonaws.com/os_extranet_files_test/11716_47122_Sping2013CommunityGradere port.pdf Wallace, W. (n.d.). Faculty and Fraternities: Organizational Influences on Student Achievement. JSTOR. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2391080?uid=2&uid=4&sid=21102718504187