Proud to be greek

Jennifer Bissell misunderstood key aspects of greek life in her column.

Brandon Walter

This letter is in response to Jennifer BissellâÄôs column, âÄúLetâÄôs be honest about greek life.âÄù As a proud member of a fraternity and an active person in the greek community, I would like to share my views on the value of being greek. First off, Bissell believes that students join fraternities and sororities out of high school because they want to âÄútake it easy and party hard.âÄù Do you think greek members are the only ones partying on this campus? Have you been down Como Avenue on a Saturday night? Dinkytown? Or even our very own University residential halls? Drinking happens everywhere at college, not just in greek life. In case you havenâÄôt checked, both fraternities and sororities succeeded academically in 2008-09. Members earned a grade point average of 3.14 (All-Fraternity 3.10, All-Sorority 3.21), which was higher than the all-University grade point average. If you think we joined fraternities or sororities to take it easy in college, think again. In fact, I am busier because I am in a fraternity. IâÄôm involved in our chapterâÄôs philanthropy events, community service projects, hold an officer position, and I am involved in Homecoming and Spring Jam and am a member of three other clubs on campus. I hold myself to high academic success, and I even have a job on campus. Yes, even greek members have jobs. If you want to get really crazy, most have even had internships. Next, Bissell talks about how she would expect fraternities focused on certain fields (like agriculture) be âÄúswarming with new recruits,âÄù but that âÄúthis does not seem to be the case.âÄù As a member of FarmHouse Fraternity, an alcohol-free house on the St. Paul campus, and as vice president of recruitment, I would have to disagree. For your information, FarmHouse currently has 13 new members for the fall semester (and weâÄôre not done recruiting), which is the biggest class since 1996. As vice president of recruitment, I am constantly asked by potential new members and their parents about what a fraternity is like and about all the stereotypes behind fraternities. My response to them is that itâÄôs not about the partying, and itâÄôs not all about the social aspect. In fact, the greatest thing that IâÄôve gained from being in a fraternity is how to challenge myself to become a better person and a leader in my community and, most of all, to learn the value of brotherhood. I canâÄôt tell you enough how great it is to have a group of brothers who you can always count on and who are always willing to lend a helping hand. You may say that you âÄúcan have something like that and not be in a fraternity or sorority.âÄù You are right, but IâÄôll tell you one thing that makes us greek members different than others; We not only show support âÄî we take action. For example, just a couple of weeks ago, our fraternity raised $4,500 for a brother who has been diagnosed with Lymphoma. Want to know where most of that money came from? Fraternity and sorority members within our greek community. That is what I call a real community, and that is what being greek is all about. In my mind, why would you not want to be a part of an organization like that? Maybe thatâÄôs why 85 percent of Fortune 500 executives and 48 percent of all U.S. presidents were once involved in a fraternity or a sorority. My message to the 2009-10 recruits of the greek community would be to get involved, stay focused and, most of all, be proud to be a part of one of most successful organizations on campus. Be proud to be greek. Brandon Walter University undergraduate student