The Daily Evergreen

Greek houses promote unhealthy conformity

System creates callous social attitudes, reinforces in-group, out-group stereotypes, destructive values

Financially+insensitive+recruitment+tactics+and+often+unreasonable+expectations+about+dress%2C+attitudes+and+behavior+contribute+to+a+loss+of+individualism+and+reinforce+discrimination+between+Greeks+and+non-Greeks.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Greek houses promote unhealthy conformity

Financially insensitive recruitment tactics and often unreasonable expectations about dress, attitudes and behavior contribute to a loss of individualism and reinforce discrimination between Greeks and non-Greeks.

Financially insensitive recruitment tactics and often unreasonable expectations about dress, attitudes and behavior contribute to a loss of individualism and reinforce discrimination between Greeks and non-Greeks.

RYAN PUGH | EVERGREEN PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

Financially insensitive recruitment tactics and often unreasonable expectations about dress, attitudes and behavior contribute to a loss of individualism and reinforce discrimination between Greeks and non-Greeks.

RYAN PUGH | EVERGREEN PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

RYAN PUGH | EVERGREEN PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

Financially insensitive recruitment tactics and often unreasonable expectations about dress, attitudes and behavior contribute to a loss of individualism and reinforce discrimination between Greeks and non-Greeks.

JULIANNA MAGEE, Evergreen columnist

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Greek houses are a blight on the safety, humanity and critical thinking skills of college students. It’s a system structured around arbitrary exclusion as well as in-group favoritism and has become a trope of the American college experience.

“In the Greek system, some conformity pressures might be even stronger than rules on how you behave and certain roles in the house,” said Paul Kwon, WSU social psychology professor, “and certain unspoken rules [that] might change your behavior.”

The nightlife of Greek culture glorifies gratuitous binge drinking and other drugs — one house is colloquially referred to as “The Cocaine Castle” — and takes part in avoidable premature tragic deaths, dehumanizing ritualistic behavior and alarming sexual assault rates.

Things like weekly blackouts, stomach pumps and having a member do a bro-favor and making sure you don’t choke on your own vomit are considered part of the culture. A sorority rite of companionship is getting a drunk pep talk in a stranger’s bathroom while sh-tfaced.

But your liver won’t be the only thing scarred. There’s a structured system in which 18-year-old women are endlessly handed free drinks by frat guys influenced by a culture that values sexual “conquests.”

“[I am] secretly wondering why women even go to college with the chances of sexual assault being so high,” said a fraternity member who wished to remain anonymous.

Underage drinking is inevitable under some circumstances and is not a problem unique to Greek life. It happens all over college campuses, so it doesn’t appear to raise any alarms that there is such a precise danger zone for these emergency incidents.

Much of the daytime side of the culture revolves around social categorization. The process begins with recruitment.

One member of the Greek system believes their recruitment methods are justified and effective at selecting members in a fair, balanced way.

“I think [the system] is pretty effective considering we place hundreds of women every year, the best way we can,” said Kamryn Froehle, Panhellenic vice president of standards and accountability. “And there’s also informal, to help the women who are not as open or chit-chatty.”

Freshman women pay to be drill-sergeanted through houses for round after round of icebreakers. Although formally disclosed as “ritual,” the process differs from house to house and is said to be kept a secret among each house. Sorority recruiters are generally advised to guide conversations away from anything that could cause conversational friction.

Houses use a “values-based” selection system where potential new members are evaluated on whether they have worthy makeup, outfit, hair, an immediate faux enthusiasm and an ability to regurgitate bland repetitions of the sentiment: “I’m looking for a sisterhood and a home away from home.”

Recruiters could possibly rate potential new members on looking put-together, their GPA and a nepotistic familiarity of knowing someone in the house. This is combined with Panhellenic’s matching system so there is mutual selection between potential new members and houses.

Masses of mostly freshman girls are funneled into this system and it is an extremely popular extracurricular on campus.

There are expensive member dues, costs for social events, fees slapped onto everything from no-shows to incomplete volunteer hours and, of course, expenses related to looking “put-together.”

This myriad of expenses tabbed onto the already high price of tuition filters out lower-income students.

“Once you define yourself as an in-group, like a house, you’re most likely to have more positivity toward the people in it … [and] negative attitudes toward other groups on campus might be seen as out-groups,” Kwon said.

The divisiveness between Greeks and non-Greeks promotes isolated, incestuous social bubbles with literal geographic boundaries.

On Greek row, people follow an implicit code of conduct that governs everything from vocabulary and the way they dress to the way they spend their time. Sororities have been compared to a summer camp, with uniforms, crafting, bunk beds and sneaking out to see the boys being commonalities between them.

The value of the group’s reputation supersedes the individual’s reputation and members are constantly reminded they are always wearing their letters and a member’s actions could look bad for the chapter. This results in a loss of identity.

If you want a visual example of the loss of individualism, Victoria Valentine, an art photo student at Syracuse University, made an illuminating viral video entitled “RECRUITMENT 2016” splicing sorority recruitment videos with a how-to cult video, which is free to view on Vimeo.

I am not advocating for a campus shutdown of all Greek events, nor do I believe the Greek system should be removed altogether. However, students seeking a social connection or activity on campus should be directed to one of the 300 other student organizations and clubs on campus. They provide a method of socializing that is more authentic, long-lasting and less “streamlined.”

Leave a Comment

Comments are closed.

Navigate Left
  • Greek houses promote unhealthy conformity

    Columns

    UREC should beef up outreach on campus

  • Greek houses promote unhealthy conformity

    Columns

    Stores should offer students healthy food discounts

  • Greek houses promote unhealthy conformity

    Columns

    WSU buildings should protect birds

  • Greek houses promote unhealthy conformity

    Columns

    WSU, Pullman needs to reform recycling system

  • Greek houses promote unhealthy conformity

    Columns

    Stress during finals shouldn’t be handled through food

  • Greek houses promote unhealthy conformity

    Columns

    WSU should keep fluorescent bulbs in dorms

  • Greek houses promote unhealthy conformity

    Columns

    Include partial WSU parking prices in tuition

  • Greek houses promote unhealthy conformity

    Columns

    WSU needs specialized mental health programs

  • Greek houses promote unhealthy conformity

    Columns

    Environmental science should be a UCORE requirement

  • Greek houses promote unhealthy conformity

    Columns

    WSU should emphasize writing skills, courses more

Navigate Right

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Every student. Every story. Every day.
Greek houses promote unhealthy conformity