Thursday, October 04, 2007

UIC Greek Speaks Out

Greek life enhances UIC college experience
Brian J. Egerton

When you hear the word "fraternity" or "sorority," what is the first thing that pops into your head? Unfortunately for many, the Greek System may have a negative stereotype. Some negative stereotypes or Greeks are perpetuated through films like "Animal House," "Revenge of the Nerds," to the more contemporary films such as "Old School," "Van Wilder" and "Sorority Boys."

College Students may see these media creations and believe that Greeks are either "frat boys" or "preppy sorority girls" who are primarily preoccupied with throwing wild parties. Very few people ever hear of the positive things one gains from joining a fraternity or sorority.

Fraternity men and sorority women have used their Greek college life experiences to become presidents, sports casters, business moguls, Olympic Medal swimmers, astronauts, war heroes, famous lawyers, United States senators, engineers and intellectual authors.

Interestingly enough, my experience in the Greek System is blatant evidence of how joining a Greek organization can help make one a better person. It seems from my own experience that I learned the truth about the Greek system, and it is very different from Hollywood's stereotypes.

Greek system participants are some of the most accomplished and well-rounded individuals. From my experience I have found that Greeks spend countless hours doing philanthropies and serving others. Most Greeks are bound by a code of honor to help others and to improve themselves academically, and many of these organizations were created on the basis of the great joy of serving others. Greek organizations are a breeding ground for the future leaders of America.

When I first came to UIC I was extremely shy and introverted ? I came to school not knowing any other person. One day, in attempt to get some free food, I wandered into the Quad event "Meet the Greeks." While I was eating my hamburger I started talking to several fraternity members. I was surprised to learn that one frat man had a high GPA and was successful engineering student. Later I met another student that was the valedictorian of his UIC graduated class and was now a grad student at the University of Chicago.

Later that year I pledged and became a member of a fraternity. I have found the Greek life rewarding in many unique ways. It has helped me achieve more academically. Furthermore, it has given me a chance to learn and implement interpersonal leadership skills.

My outlook on Greek life has definitely changed on how I view Hollywood Greek-themed movies. Since becoming a fraternity man, I have grown from a shy, awkward person to an extroverted, poised and confident student leader.

Joining a Greek organization has made me learn how to plan events and communicate effectively with others. I have traveled to foreign countries for Leadership Academies, and acquired life-long friends in the process. In short, I found joining a Greek Organization to be a priceless college experience.