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Between the Lines: Greek life more in control than what media makes it

Greek life seems to come built-in to the college experience on many large campuses throughout the country, and Ohio University’s is certainly no different. Lately, whether it has been in Rolling Stone, ABC News or even The Post, greek life has received some bad press — sometimes deservedly so.

I am not here to defend any formal charges against any organization, nor am I here to promote joining a greek organization or even my own fraternal colony, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. I am just here to tell the other side of the story — that greek life can be a very productive and healthy experience if one joins for the right reasons.

As of Fall Quarter, OU documents show that 9.54 percent of students are involved in any one of OU’s 30 social fraternities and sororities. Greek organizations, through OU, are required to record two hours of community service per member. According to OU records, in Fall Quarter, there were 1,651 members of both sororities and fraternities combined.

By the end of the year, OU’s greek community will have served about 10,000 hours of community service in Athens. However, some organizations serve more than they are required to. Chris Blackburn, the associate director of greek life and leadership, said Phi Kappa Theta and the OU Police Department raised about $26,000 for the Special Olympics this year during its Polar Plunge.

Service is only part of how greek life can be a positive experience; the all-greek GPA is actually higher than the all-university GPA. The organization with the highest GPA is Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, with a 3.34, 0.23 grade points higher than the all-women’s average.

Please don’t just watch Animal House and think that the movie is an accurate representation of what I do. Fraternities and sororities, rather, are like any other organization — they are products of those who contribute to them. It is only logical to deduce that any group of genuine gentlemen or ladies, in the company of others of the same caliber, would form a high-quality group of individuals. The same goes for those who are in bad company; you can’t have an organization which is great if it is populated and run by pigs.

Greek life is certainly not for everyone. I personally was drawn to it because I have always been a part of a team, whether it was playing baseball as the ice-cream-faced kid that I was or serving as the captain of my high-school wrestling team. I have always enjoyed the camaraderie of struggling as a team, succeeding as a whole even when one fails, and finding comfort in others when we all fail. I realize and respect that not everybody thinks as I do, so I am not asking you to change the way you think. All I am saying is if you came to this university with stereotyped presumptions of greek life being populated by alcoholic frat boys and slutty sorority girls, give it a real chance.

Lucas Michael Daprile writes for The Post’s local staff. He is also an active brother in Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Does greek life get a bad rap?

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