Greeks are an important part of Orientation — and not just to recruit

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It’s that time again. Orientation Counselors (OCs) are dancing around the Cut in their brightly colored tees, first-years are tracing their routes from Doherty Hall to the dorms, and campus organizations are kicking off their recruitment periods. But one faction of these student groups, sororities and fraternities, seems to be evaluated as separate from the rest.

We’ve all heard the stereotypes of Greek life: “All they do is party!” “Join a sorority/fraternity? No way! I don’t need to pay for my friends!”

But is that really all Greek life is — partying and buying your friends? As anyone involved in Greek life on Carnegie Mellon’s campus would tell you, the answer is a resounding “No.”

Orientation is the best time for students to learn about the variety of options that they have to get involved at Carnegie Mellon, and one of those options is Greek life. Fraternities and sororities have a lot to offer first-years. They offer new students the chance to get involved on campus and get leadership positions while still new to the Carnegie Mellon community. They also offer a great support system socially, emotionally, and academically while students are still adjusting to the independence of living by themselves at college and the increased workload they’re bound to encounter at Carnegie Mellon.

Despite these facts, “going Greek” gets a bad rap on a campus as academically and culturally diverse as ours — a place that can only benefit from more social interaction and support systems.

As a member of the Greek community, I maintain a sense of social security knowing that no matter what, my sisters are always behind me, and will always support me. Moreover, all Greek organizations offer some type of academic support program, and one can always look for help from older members of his or her house that share a field of study. By Greeks being involved in Orientation, first-years get the opportunity to learn about Greek life as a potential activity to become involved in on campus just as they are learning about other activities that Carnegie Mellon has to offer.

Contrary to seemingly popular thought, Greeks are not simply involved during Orientation because they want the PR that they get from being seen.

Greeks are involved on campus in a number of ways, and are thus involved in Orientation in a variety of ways too. They help with first-years move-in, and co-sponsor a number of Orientation events such as a Meet the Greeks event with ice cream, a Greek talent show and a comedian, and the Almost Midnight Breakfast after House Wars. Even if there were no Greek-specific events held, a large number of Greeks would still be involved in Orientation as OCs or RAs. Above all, however, Greeks are involved in Orientation because it gives us the opportunity to help out on campus. All Greek organizations are all founded on similar principles, one of which is service. By helping first-years move in, or co-sponsoring events during Orientation, Greeks are simply doing what they do — offering their services to the campus.

By getting involved in Orientation, Greeks have the opportunity to show first-years that sorority and fraternity members are some of the most involved students on campus, and are given the chance to dispel some typical Greek stereotypes — showing first-years, and the campus community in general, that fraternities and sororities don’t just party. It also allows us to attract the interest of others who want to do similar activities, demonstrating to them that sorority or fraternity life might be what they are looking for.

While the Greek community is always looking for interested men or women, simply getting our name out or recruiting unknowing first-years are not the reasons that Greeks are so involved on campus, whether during Orientation or otherwise. Just as students become OCs because they want to show their pride and love for our school, Greeks get involved in Orientation to show their pride and love for their sororities or fraternities, and the values and ideals that come with them.