It’s all Greek to me and maybe it shouldn’t be


Photo credit: Briana Mcdaniel

Editor’s note: This article was updated to reflect funds spent on dues.

When media depicts college, typically the Greek system is right up there with wacky philosophy professors and toga parties.

Every year hundreds of men and women at Chico State dedicate a week of their life to impress older students in various houses to be chosen to be a part of a “sisterhood” and “brotherhood” during Recruitment.

They shouldn’t.

The Greek system is completely outdated and has very little benefit to students in the short-term and definitely has very little benefit to the university as a whole now.

At their origin, the Greek system was developed as a way for men (because women weren’t allowed to go to college yet) to get together and discuss politics, books and other things that weren’t allowed in their curriculum.

Later on the fraternity and sorority system became more organized. Graduates would be major donors for the university and being apart of these organizations was a great networking opportunity for graduates and was a prestigious honor.

That all seems to have gone out the window.

Yes, all of the recognized sororities and fraternities are involved in specific charities that they donate to or do various volunteer activities for but they seem to be few and far between.

I hear Greek members complaining about the various activities they are mandated to participate most of the time.

Actually, there seems to be a lot of complaints from sorority and fraternity members all over the board.

These students are paying $2,570 on average a year in dues to fund a house they probably won’t live in, to go to an overfunded “adult prom” and to socialize with people they end up arguing with.

The university has been hard at work trying to mend the long-standing party reputation and serious ground really won’t be covered with a Greek system affiliated with it.

The Greek system at Chico State has been a long train of troubles for the university.

Chico State gained national attention in 2005 because of a hazing scandal that took a tragic turn. Matthew Carrington and a fellow pledge were forced to chug water for five straight hours while being doused with freezing cold air. Carrington died from the experience.

Currently, two Chico State recognized fraternities are on probation and one is suspended for hazing.

There are a lot of people that argue that the Greek system is important for students to gain lifelong friends and networking contacts.

Yet, with the great invention of Linkedin and every other social media site and regular clubs that align with specific interests and goals, I have the exact same possibilities open to me—just with lot more cash in my pocket and less drama in my life.

When I started at Chico State, before all my friends had attached themselves to Greek letters, I loved how inclusive everything was. Everyone was welcome, everyone’s stories were encouraged to be heard.

It seems like Chico has gone completely Greek. Houses with prime real estate are only passed down to the worthy “brothers” and “sisters” and to attend a party you have to be in the right Greek House.

The Greek system has developed an Animal House-like debauchery—without the charming antidotes of the Delta Tau Chi boys and that epic John Belushi speech of course— so maybe it’s time to ax the exclusive organizations and walk through the Gauntlet worry-free.

Whitney Urmann can be reached at [email protected] or @WhitneyUrmann on Twitter.