If you come to Greek houses at Illinois Tech expecting muscle-bound “frat stars” wearing pastel shirts, Sperrys, and backwards baseball caps, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Leave all of the tired meathead stereotypes back in the state schools of the 80s. Rather, the fraternity and sorority houses located just south of MSV across 33rd Street host some of the most productive and positive communities on campus.
One positive: Greek life helps you get better grades! Clickbait-y claims aside, that is to say that the average Greek GPA at Illinois Tech is higher than the average GPA of campus-wide undergraduates. This trend holds true when applied to the whole U.S. college population. Further, Greeks boast a 20% greater graduation rate than the average student body across the country. For some supposed mix of jocks and trust-fund kids, how does this happen? Some attribute the success to houses cultivating a genuinely positive academic environment with plenty of access to mentors and resources. Freshman struggling with a course are practically guaranteed to find an upperclassman in their house who had been through that same class before, whereas an all-freshman circle of friends might not be so lucky. Many chapters also have incentives and scholarships, like a congratulatory plaque or preferential room placement. All chapters also require a minimum GPA for accepting and keeping members.
Greek life is also a phenomenal way to get involved and stay active on campus. The chapters are almost perpetually hosting events, organizing plans, volunteering, and being anything but stagnant. As student-led organizations, this means that your dream event is yours to plan, provided you get yourself out there. Even just being a member of such an organization is plenty involvement for many, without extra involvement. However, if you’re up for moving beyond just a member, run for positions and get involved in leadership! New members determine its shape and future, so go out and shape that future! It might start by running for a small role, like assistant-manager of kitchenware-procurement or house lawncare specialist. But, with time, you can work your way up to positions like treasurer, vice president, or even president and be an integral part of the chapter. But commitment is hard! There are other ways to help and more niche positions, like secretary or an academic-affairs director or philanthropy director. Whatever involvement level you take, Greek life has fantastic opportunities for leadership and testing yourself.
Lastly, on a totally base level, Greek life is fun! Living in a house with 20 or 30 other students forms some surprising bonds that could hardly develop in any other environment. While it’s far from the dangerous notion of “paying for friends,” because you probably won’t mesh with every single person, it still develops a profound community (even with the people you’re not so hot on). On top of this, Greek life has plenty of organized and plenty of more-spontaneous activities throughout the year! Events like Greek Week - think high school spirit week or homecoming week but ramp it up by a thousand-fold - Greek football tournaments, rush week, and smaller-scale activities make sure that there’s always something to do on the quad.
But as much as I would love to hype up the grand, some of the best parts of Greek life sprout from the mundane. The idiotic in-jokes over dinner, the lazy weekends, or pots of coffee split over a late night studying can be just as compelling as any of the ideals from above. So, come to Greek life, for whatever reason, regardless if it’s the grades or friends or boredom or ambition or even just wanting for a community. Head over to the quad sometime once the semester starts, and think about calling on of the seven Greek life houses on campus your home.