Saving Fraternity/Sorority Life with Strength, Patience, & Passion
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”Harriet Tubman
Attending college, for many, is a dream. It is the time in your life to explore and find your true self. You figure out that all the stuff your parents or mentors told you, even if you don’t want to admit it, is true. There are many people to meet and friend groups to form. This can be from the people who live in the same dorm as you or maybe from an organization you join. You are venturing out on your own and making your own path. This is the dream; this is what we have all hoped for. Unfortunately for some, this dream has been cut short due to unforeseen circumstances. This is not their fault, and they would have never put themselves through it if they could see the result. My dream, along with many others, is to simply keep our brothers, sisters, and siblings safe.
Although the unfortunate reputation currently impacting the fraternity/sorority system is not reflective of the majority of members, it is going to take a lot of strength to persevere. The fact that people are afraid or apprehensive of fraternities and sororities is hard to accept, but it is completely understandable. If the only thing you ever saw coming out of organizations were their members going to hospitals for alcohol poisoning and deaths due to hazing, it would be very scary.
As members of these organizations, we can see the good things that come from being in a fraternity or sorority. Undergraduate fraternity/sorority members put in 850,000 service hours and generate over $7 million dollars towards philanthropies each year. Also, you will meet some of your best friends who will be with you forever. These measurable things don’t even begin to consider all the amazing memories and experiences that will be gained. However, despite all the positives, we will need a lot of strength to fight the reputation and stigma surrounding our organizations. It is not going to be easy, but I think it is a very worthwhile fight.
We have all heard the saying “Patience is a virtue,” countless times. More than ever, this applies to the current situation within fraternity/sorority life. It sucks that we can’t just change everyone’s opinions overnight, but it is very important for us to always keep their perspective in the back of our minds. If we do, it will always drive us to do better and show the world what good we can do. The biggest struggle I see is that it is going to take patience to get there. Fraternity/sorority life has been known for certain things for a very long time. If people have had the same opinions for over 50 years, those opinions are not going to change any time soon. It is also going to take some patience to convince the chapters that still haze how we are going to disappear if we don’t change. Recruitment numbers have been struggling for years, and they are going to get worse. Gen Z is completely different than other generations. We are going to have to change as a community if we want to keep going for more than the next 4 years. There are a lot of things that need to change, but eliminating hazing is for sure a needed change. Patience is hard and can be very frustrating at times. It can cause us to think there is no hope for changing our reputation. For our reputation to change, it is going to take a lot of hard work, dedication, and most of all patience.
With the strength to fight for our reputation and the patience to work and make it happen, our true passion for fraternity/sorority life will show. This passion is what is going to be our biggest asset when we are trying to break the stereotypes. I believe the current undergraduates can do anything they set their minds to, which even includes changing the minds of millions of people. There are so many ways we can start to shift the mindset of people, which can be anything from social media or just sitting down and having a one-on-one conversation. If we are truly passionate about our community, then we are going to do anything that it takes to fix it. There are a lot of unique challenges our communities face. Some solutions will work across all campuses while some are more specific to campus size, institution religious affiliation, etc. No matter what the difference is, there is always another campus out there very similar to yours. Attend conferences, talk with your nationals, and most of all network. It is amazing what you will find out just from a simple conversation with someone else. With the passions to make a difference, there is no telling how much different our community could be.
Strength, patience, and passion are the foundation to making the change we are looking for. Many of us know the dire situation we are in as an overall community. Across the country, fewer and fewer students want to join fraternities and sororities. It’s because they don’t see the value of joining a community that is known for drugs, alcohol, and hazing. We all know this is not what being a fraternity/sorority member is about. It is about finding those people who you love and making a difference in your community. We all know how invaluable this experience is, and that should be something available to people for many years to come.
Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, one of the world’s leading executive educators and coaches, once said, “One of the most important actions, things a leader can do, is to lead by example. If you want everyone else to be passionate, committed, dedicated, and motivated, you go first!” So, are we just going to sit around and hope things change, or are we going to get out there and do something about it? I’m going to do the latter, and it is my hope that everyone with the drive to do good will do the same.