Greek life at Eastern: More than just stereotypes

By Nathan Peters, Managing Editor

Transferring from community college to Eastern was a culture shock for me. The amount of events and groups on campus to get involved in is still overwhelming. I have joined a few other campus groups along with The Easterner, one being Sigma Phi Epsilon – one of 10 fraternities at EWU.

Joining the Greek community can be a great experience, but taking that first step may be difficult for some new students. With Hollywood dictating the perception of the stereotypes associated with fraternities and sororities, movies and stories of hazing rituals for new members create an unpleasant image of Greek life.

“You get assumptions regarding a certain lifestyle … based off three Greek letters,” said Cw Twohy, Eagle Entertainment special events coordinator and Sigma Phi Epsilon recruitment chair.

I mostly think of “partying and good looking people” when I think of fraternities and sororities, said EWU junior Carsten Neumiller. The most widely applied stereotype to the Greek community is partying.

Do you ever go out on a Friday night to the bars with a couple friends? Partying as a fraternity is basically the same thing, nothing remotely close to a “Project X” movie scenario happening.

Every Greek house requires a GPA standard for new and current members; if your grades dip too low, you are out. Finding balance between enjoying time with your friends (drinking or not) and schoolwork is something every student goes through. Finding that balance as a member of a fraternity or sorority is no different.

SigEp is a larger fraternity that is second in grades for the EWU Greek community. Twohy said, “You cannot walk into the gym or library without seeing a member of my fraternity.”

My decision to join a fraternity was based off opportunities for leadership experience and surrounding myself with a brotherhood. Fraternity life is so much more than the stereotypes associated with the Greek community.

Some people assume “Greeks think they are better than other students on campus,” said Ashley Mac, Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority member.

“I get to know people before they find out I’m in a sorority, they learn it doesn’t define who I am as a person,” said Kimmy Betzina, Alpha Phi Sorority member. She said people assume girls in sororities are stuck up and most people are surprised when they learn she is in a sorority: Many people probably “wouldn’t want to approach me if I was wearing my [Greek] sweatshirt.”

Many members of the Greek community hold leadership positions on campus. According to Twohy, seven of the 12 ASEWU officers and three out of the five justices of the ASEWU judicial court are Greek members.

If you are a new student, be sure to check out the Greek community. Do not let the stereotypes surrounding it hold you back from at least learning more. Going Greek benefits students with friendships, leadership experience and opportunities for personal growth.