UFV has just built the wonderful Student Union Building as a space for students to gather — but in comparison to other universities, I still feel there is a social aspect missing. Even though I engage in conversation and new friendships every day on campus, I don’t think I belong somewhere within UFV yet. There are many clubs and teams available, but for students who do not have a specific skill or interest and just want to get to know other students on and off campus, where do they go?
I looked to other universities in BC, and I noticed something different: Greek life. Fraternities and sororities are generally associated with partying and seen as a childish indulgence, but from what I have learned from UBC and SFU, Greek life is not that at all. Some fraternities and sororities at these universities are strictly academic social structures for members only, and do not exist to host huge parties. In fact, in a 2012 Ubyssey breakdown on Greek life, Gene Polovy, president of UBC’s Inter-Fraternity council, said that they “don’t want to be taking people in who are just there to party.” It is a group of people that will support you no matter what, and are determined to keep up a high GPA as a group. They strive for excellence in the classroom and in the community, and that positivity shines through new and alumni members.
According to a general history of fraternities given by the San José State University website, they were often referred to as “secret societies” that got together to discuss and prepare for aspects of careers that their professors did not teach in class. Throughout the years these societies spread and became networks of supporters, with brothers and sisters that vowed loyalty to each other.
Although many years have passed, students who take their membership seriously are still equipped with skills that can be extremely helpful in their future careers. To be able to lead and work in a large group of people can sometimes be stressful, but Greek life teaches students to accept everyone’s differences and utilize each member’s unique skills. Even failing in these situations is useful; students are able to fall over and over again, and still have that support group to pick them up off the ground so they can begin again. Leadership and interpersonal skills are essential in today’s society, so I was confused as to why all universities don’t have this wonderful social network.
To have a large group of people who will always have your back through thick and thin is very hard to come across, and Greek life makes that easy. For students looking to enhance certain aspects of life such as the social, personal, networking, academic, philanthropic, and mentorial, joining a fraternity or a sorority can be a solution. With all of these benefits, UFV should most definitely partake in embracing Greek life to allow students to find their second family, turning the university into a home away from home.