Perception of Greek Life on Campus Not Always Positive

Priscilla Ortiz, freshman, looking uncomfortable while talking about Greek life. Photo by Sarah Self-Walbrick

Priscilla Ortiz was nervous to even talk about the subject in a public area.

With numerous students in Greek affiliated T-shirts around, Ortiz, a freshman biology major from Lubbock, was wary to talk about the pressure to join Greek life in mixed company.

“When I came in, I felt like I had a pressure not to join,” Ortiz said, “because of my own, I suppose, negative view of them.”

According to the parents guide to Greek life, there are over 4,000 students currently involved in sororities and fraternities on the Texas Tech campus.

College Prowler, a website that provides statistics about colleges, reported that 32 percent of undergraduate students are part of Greek life, compared to 17 percent of students at Texas A&M University.

“There’s more stress on it in the South, maybe too much,” said Meghan Taraban, a freshman nursing major at the University of Pittsburgh from Lubbock via a Skype interview.

Taraban went on to say that she has both friends that are and are not involved with Greek life. She said that students not involved with Greek life are not seen any differently than those who are.

Erin Willis, a junior journalism major from Ropesville, Texas, said she felt the pressure to join a Greek organization before she even enrolled at Tech.

“Every application that I filled out to come to Tech, there was something about Greek life,” said Willis. “There’s a bunch of Greek people on campus, and at orientation, they were pushing it.”

The Center for Campus Life website lists many ways that Greek life benefits both students involved and the community. Some of the benefits included are scholarships, learning leadership and team building skills, and philanthropic ventures. The website also reported sororities and fraternities host social events to help build lifelong friendships and connections.

Jon Key, a freshman computer engineering major from Katy, Texas, decided to join the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity to make friends and build connections. He said he was happy with his decision to join Greek life.

“We’re just a real close group of friends,” Key said, “and it’s a lot of fun.”

Ortiz said she would prefer a group with similar interests as her, rather than a group that has nothing but the organization in common.

“They have a stigma of letting people in based on looks, in a way, or if you fit a certain description,” Ortiz said, “and I don’t think that’s very fair.”

Willis said that she feels that Greek organizations are more independent from the rest of the college. She said organizations such as student government are more beneficial to Tech.

Taraban said at the University of Pittsburgh, Greek life organizes parties and social events on campus.

“I know Greek life is responsible for a lot of social events on campus,” said Taraban. “Weekend plans, people going out and stuff, that’s usually based around the fraternities and sororities.”

Although she appreciates the charitable work sororities and fraternities do, Ortiz said it is hard for her to not look at them negatively because of their partying reputation.

“It’s just not for me,” said Willis as she scrunched up her face in disapproval.

About Sarah Self-Walbrick

Graduate Executive Director — Mass Communication Graduate Student, Class of 2017
Sarah, a Lubbock native, has two bachelor of art degrees in electronic media and communication and journalism, and is pursuing a master’s in mass communications. She loves Texas, her husband and dog, and good storytelling.

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