Decent Essays
How Fraternities and Sororities Impact Students (Or Do They?)
Drinking, academics, and social behavior under the microscope
Published on September 1, 2011 by Alan Reifman, Ph.D. in On the Campus
Right around now is the start of the academic year at American universities. Among the traditional activities accompanying the start of school is fraternity/sorority rush, in which students who wish to join a Greek-letter organization attend functions to learn about and select from the different houses and the fraternities and sororities decide which students they would like to invite to become members.

Exact figures for the number of college students nationally involved in these organizations are hard to pin down. However, from perusing
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320). Robbins lists several additional problem areas, such as an atmosphere of conformity, intolerance, and "constantly being judged;" a heavy reliance on men for social validation; and enormous time and financial commitments. In some sororities, members are officially required to attend a certain percentage of events and even when not technically required, many feel implicitly that they should attend sorority activities over important outside functions.

For some people, memories from the Greek years appear to have a special significance, even influencing behavior decades later. In his book, Beer and Circus about three A's of university life (academics, athletics, and alcohol), Murray Sperber writes about fraternity alumni seeking a little cross-generational bonding with current members through sharing memories of alcohol mayhem. "The main storytellers are often alumni, and they frequently gather in their old fraternity houses to narrate the tales and, on occasion, to try to relive them" (p. 152).

The overwhelming majority of academic research on Greek life appears to be on heavy drinking and other substance use, with studies consistently showing that Greek-organization members drink more heavily than matched non-members (here and here).
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