At a campus the size of Alma’s, Greek Life has an impact on students, whether that impact is intentional or not. Many non-Greek students have opinions on Greek Life due to their observations, and much of these opinions are informed by media.
A recent 5300 article satirically addressed Greek Life, comparing it to a cult. This 5300 article has stirred up a lot of conversation about fraternities and sororities on campus, and is informed by a larger national conversation surrounding the need for these social organizations.
“I think that Greek Life can be a good thing, but I definitely think that it depends on the person and the organization,” said Nathan Fetter (’22). Fetter also said that a lot of the conversations about Greek Life relating to these issues is due to culture and personal experience.
“The media doesn’t focus on all the good Greek Life is capable of, like philanthropy and sisterhood,” said Kara Tredway (’22).
With Central Michigan University less than twenty minutes away, it is hard not to feel the repercussions of their Greek system, too.
In the past several years, as many as eight organizations have been suspended or disbanded on CMU’s campus due to hazing, sexual misconduct, and other dangerous behavior.
These kinds of actions taken against Greek organizations call into question how Alma’s Greek system addresses these issues.
“I think there are some frats that promote a culture of sexual assault and alcohol abuse, and then there are other frats that promote healthy social connections outside of partying,” said Fetter.
Some students, though, think that the good outweighs the bad in Greek activities on campus. “I’m not Greek, but I have a lot of friends who are. Greek Life at Alma seems to be a bit more wholesome – the people involved in Greek Life here seem to have a purpose, not just to be a part of something that has status or parties,” said Bridget Flanery, (’20).
For first year students at Alma, Greek organizations have already made an impact. “Greek Life at Alma seems really welcoming, and a lot of my friends who are first years are planning on rushing next semester,” said Tredway.
The opportunities for networking are incredibly enticing to a lot of students, as well as having a family on campus. “They want to be a part of Greek Life for the family,” said Flanery.
The Greek community at Alma sees mixed feelings from campus, but ultimately argues for the importance of Greek Life both in college and life after.
“I think that Greek life is an awesome tool to further oneself. Alma College provides us the opportunity to join Greek life and uses it to help us network, travel, take on leadership opportunities and make friends. Attitudes toward Greek life on campus is ambivalent. There are some students who see it as just a way to party, some who see it as something useful for philanthropy and service, and those who see Greek life as just ‘paying for friends,’” said Panhellenic Council Vice President Alyssa Mohr (’19).
The 5300 article has since been removed from their website. The story in question had some errors and lapses of judgement in it. Originally meant to be a satirical piece, something The 5300 does a lot, it had poor construction that made it seem like it was disparaging Greek Life on Alma’s campus specifically.
As a media writing course, this has proven a good teaching moment: we’ve discussed the errors leading up to the article’s publication and learned from them. The article was never intended to reference any specific Greek Life at Alma College; we’ve since apologized that it could have been read as such, and we’ve pulled the article,” said faculty advisor Professor Matt Cicci.