Greek life is a popular part of the college experience that many students look forward to in their college life. At Hope College, Greek life started in 1890, as the first fraternities formed. Greek life is often portrayed as taboo or not academic, especially in the media. However, “Greek life essentially is a place where one can build sisterhood and brotherhood and long life networking,” says Ellen Awad, Student Life Assistant Director.
Greek life enriches the lives of Hope students by providing faithful student leadership, academic and social accountability, as well as service commitment. We aim to promote holistic personal development and long-term relationships and connections.
Ellen Awad, Assistant Director of Student Life, defines greek life as a close-knit community made up of fraternity and sorority organizations. Awad says, “Historically, Greek life has been around for a long time, allowing people to form close friendships with others creating a family.”
At Hope College, most of the organizations are unique to the school and rooted in the Hope community. These organizations are beneficial to personal networking as many alumni still engage with the organization, which is essential later in life.
Getting Involved and Benefits
These fraternities (male organizations) and sororities (female organizations) are centered around creeds, or mottos, that bring them together through a belief. Along with the many fun things that these organizations offer, there are also leadership involvement opportunities. Awad mentions, “They are engaged in philanthropy or community service, so if you are in a fraternity or sorority, you will probably hold a leadership position that allows you to be on different committees around the campus.”
Every spring semester, Greek life begins its recruitment phase known as “rush”. Interested students attend a series of different events hosted by the organization to get to know each other and active members of the organization. After that, the organization contacts the individual interested in their fraternity or sorority to get to know them better.
Unlike many student organizations, Greek life does not automatically accept members by their attendance. Students that are interested in Greek life have to go through the rush process. “Once the rushing process is over, an individual gets a call back from student life regarding whether or not they got in”, says Awad. If the student is accepted into the organization, the student must then complete an initiation process called “pledge” in order to officially join the sorority or fraternity. After initiation, the student is finally an active member of the organization and might have the opportunity to live in a cottage with other members.
Depending on the institution, living in a sorority/fraternity house can be expensive. However, at Hope, the price of living is the same as residing in a cottage house. However, Greek life members have to pay dues “because they don’t get funding from student congress because they are selective.” Although students might be deterred by the thought of paying dues, Ellen Awad notes that Greek life is an investment that can change a person depending on what they make of it.
Ellen Awad also mentions that, as alumni of Greek life, she has made long-time friends, especially since there were not many student organizations at that time.
Overall, Greek life is a good experience if one finds an organization that speaks to them and their beliefs. However, Awad says, “there are many other student organizations that one might find a better sense of belonging to than Greek organizations.” So, don’t feel pressured to participate in Greek life if it is not for you, as Hope has various other organizations that one might enjoy.
For more information visit: https://hope.edu/offices/student-life/greek-life