Greek life has been under heavy review over the past few years, with tragic stories of hazing deaths headlining national media. The increasing frequency of these stories has put national organizations under a microscope, and has led many to call for an end to Greek life.
Does Greek life in the United States resemble the narrative set by pop culture staples, such as the 1979 film “Animal House” and social media gags like Total Frat Movement? Or does Greek life offer everything it idealistically promises? The answer depends on who you talk to, but the statistics speak for themselves.
Since the Kappa Alpha Society started the first modern fraternal organization in 1825, Greek life in the United States has boomed in popularity. There are 123 fraternities and sororities nationwide, with over 9 million members nationally, encompassing around five percent of the national population. While that might seem like a small percentage, it is important to note that only around 33 percent of adults hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to a study done by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2015.
“The overall results suggest that the Greek experience could be beneficial for the vast majority of those involved in it. Fraternities and sororities will continue to face challenges associated with the bad behaviors of some chapters and some members,” said Executive Director of Gallup Education Brandon Busteed in an introduction to a study done on Greek life outcomes.
Across the U.S., schools have been cracking down on rules and regulations surrounding Greek life in order to prevent the unfortunate incidences of hazing-related deaths. While these stories leave a bad taste in the mouths of those who read it, it is important to focus on the prevalent positives that Greek life offers, not only to individuals, but to the nation as a whole.
Over $7 million dollars a year are fundraised by Greek organizations nationally, and 85 percent of all student leaders on campuses are Greek. On average, the Greek community has a 20 percent greater chance of graduating school than non-affiliated members. Every President and Vice President save two since the fraternity system started has been Greek, 76 percent of all congressmen and women are Greek and 85 percent of Fortune 500 executives are Greek.
The statistics go on and on, but they show without a doubt that people who involve themselves in Greek life during their undergraduate experience are marginally more successful than those who don’t. The leadership lessons, lifelong connections, and organizational experience obtained through the Greek life system set individuals up for a lifetime of success.