by Aero Cavalier / Staff Reporter
Roosevelt University has quite an unorthodox Greek life. Historically, being a member of a fraternity or sorority was considered to be a general part of the college experience. Movies and TV shows depicting frat parties and sorority drama were by-and-large, but brothers and sisters of these organizations believe there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Greek life on college campuses dates all back to the 1800s, when some of the first universities began to pop up on college campuses across the U.S. Roosevelt University currently has five sororities, one co-ed fraternity and one special interest sorority for music majors.
Fraternities and sororities have been repeatedly been under fire due to harmful stereotypes, hazing scandals and a general bad reputation in the eyes of the public. However, brothers and sisters of Roosevelt’s Greek life find that there is a healthy emphasis on leadership, networking and philanthropy that is often overlooked by students.
Because of Roosevelt’s unique campus and diverse student body, a significant amount of the philanthropy work being done by these organizations is performed off campus. One such example is the South Loop Community Table Meal, which Alpha Phi Omega (APO) members try to attend every Sunday.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to join Greek life before college,” said Jacqui Smith, a junior early childhood education major. “However, at the involvement fair, I learned more about Alpha Phi Omega and decided it was the perfect fit for me. I loved that service was something we were heavily involved in. I also like that there were plenty of leadership and fellowship opportunities.”
Since Smith joined APO, she has risen up the ranks and now serves as the vice president of the fraternity. Besides the benefits of career development and community service, Greek life also allows people to create bonds with their peers around the university. “I have grown tremendously as a leader and I have met incredible people who I know will be lifelong friends,” said Smith.
“I would highly recommend Greek life to other students. You will make more connections with people on campus, you make a ton of new friends, and you basically have one big family,” said Jasmine Jathool, a sophomore psychology major.
Jathool is now a pledgemaster, an older member of the fraternity who educates and holds responsibility of the pledges. As a pledgemaster, Jathool takes great pride in the opportunity to recruit new members and lead them through the triumphs and tribulations of college.
When considering joining a Greek organization it is important for people to familiarize themselves with the goals of the house and make sure you feel comfortable with your brothers or sisters. “When deciding on what type of Greek organization you want to be a part of, make sure they accept you for who you are completely,” said Phylicia Richardson, a senior majoring in psychology.
However, some people involved in Greek life at Roosevelt are beginning to struggle as they are both under-advertised and under-appreciated. Nationally, many fraternities and sororities are starting to shut down and lose members due to allegations of severe hazing, alcohol and drug abuse and discrimination. The brothers and sisters at Roosevelt say that Greek life is different at the university, and think that the bad reputation is not deserved.
“People usually have this schema about what fraternities and sororities do, which isn’t true,” said Richardson. “My hope is that Roosevelt will help with displaying what Greek life is really like on campus.”
Others involved in Greek life, like Jathool, think there is a need for better advertising on campus. “It’s dying semester after semester and we don’t want it to die.”
In the end, brothers and sisters involved in Greek life seem to be looking for more understanding about what being in a fraternity or sorority is all about.