The negative effects of going Greek outweigh the benefits


By Jack Baker

Fraternities are just not for me. In my time at NIU, I have never once considered joining one.

Sure, a lot of people see them as a way to make new friends, have fun or get more out of their college experience, but I just do not see the appeal.

I have always believed that everything that fraternities and sororities offer is available in other places and that the drawbacks of going Greek far outweigh the benefits.

First of all, you don’t need to rush a fraternity or pledge a sorority to make friends. It is not hard to meet people, especially when you consider that there are some 20,000 other students that go to school here with you. Whether it is the people you live with in the dorms during your freshman year or the students you share classes with, you are bound to find a bunch of people that you share some common interests with.

If that doesn’t work for you, there are also a ton of other student organizations at NIU, covering everything from the Aikido Club to the Women’s Rights Alliance.

Whatever your interests are, there is probably a student group on campus for you to get involved in and make friends with the other members.

Another thing to consider is the houses. Many of the fraternities and sororities require members to live in their house for some time.

This would be a huge problem for me, because I have never gone inside of a frat house and thought, “Wow, this would be a nice place to live.”

While the sorority houses seem nice from the outside, the frat houses here are pretty much all disgusting. They are dirty, loud and seem like a miserable place to live.

The parties in them would probably be fun, except when you have to work security or clean up after them.

I for one would much rather just have the option of going to one of their parties and forego the cleaning up afterwards.

Finally, the biggest reason why I never joined a fraternity was the effect that it would have on my academics.

A recent sociological study conducted by Richard Arum of New York University and Josipa Roksa of the University of Virginia found that students that joined the Greek system showed a decrease in learning.

Now some of the Greek organizations do require study tables in order to help keep their members’ grade point averages up, but the study also found that students perform their best when they study on their own. This could be problematic when living in a loud house with so many other people.

Some might think that spending your time in any student group would have the same negative effect on academics that joining a Greek organization would, but the study found that students that joined on-campus clubs, volunteered or had an off-campus job did not have the same decreases in learning as students that joined fraternities or sororities.

For students looking for ways to get more out of their college experience, there are so many better alternatives to the Greek system that don’t require you to live in a dirty house with a bunch of people that you may or may not like and that won’t hurt your academics.

So before you go out and go Greek, look at some alternatives first.