PRESENTER (American): Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Mike Rogers and I’m a senior here at the University of California. I’m also the Greek life representative for the university and a proud member of a fraternity. Today, I’m going to tell you a little about Greek life on campus. Now, it’s only August, and I know that you’ve just started your first semester of college, so there’s probably a lot of new stuff going on for you. Still, I want to encourage you to look into joining one of the fraternities on campus.
To give you a brief introduction, Greek life is the fraternity and sorority community on our campus. Women, of course, join sororities and men join fraternities. Both organizations participate in social activities, but there’s a lot more to them as well. They are referred to as Greek chapters because they have taken on names according to the Greek alphabet.
Fraternities are highly successful organizations. Across the United States, there are 123 fraternities and sororities, totaling over 9 million members. That’s a lot, right? You definitely won’t be alone if you decide to join. Each year, members of Greek organizations contribute over 10 million hours of volunteer service. Recently, a government-funded study reported that over 70% of all those who join a fraternity graduate, while less than 50% of students who aren’t in fraternities graduate. Also, over 85% of student leaders on campus are involved in either a fraternity or sorority. Another interesting fact is that almost every U.S. President and Vice President that was born after the beginning of fraternities in 1825 had been members of a fraternity. In other words, a lot of successful people participate in fraternities and they’re a great source of community for men who’d like to be successful.
Joining a fraternity can be an involved process, but completely worth it. You have the option of applying to any of the fraternities on campus. The first step is to rush a fraternity. This involves attending different events at the fraternity houses during what we call Rush Week. This year, Rush Week will be Sept 10th to September 16th. You’ll have a chance to socialize with members of a fraternity and try to narrow down which ones you’ll apply to. There are eight different fraternities on our campus, so you have a lot of options. Each one has its own identity and character, so you should find one that matches with your own personal ideals.
The next step after rushing is to put a bid for a fraternity. If the members decide that you’re a good fit, they will then offer you the opportunity to become a member. If you accept that offer, you become a pledge. Pledging requires mandatory study hours, weekly meetings, as well as projects and assignments that need to be completed for the fraternity. The purpose of pledging is to get a feel for what life in a particular fraternity will be like so that you can determine if it’s the right environment for you. Pledging usually lasts six weeks long.
Finally, I just want to mention the cost of joining a fraternity. Becoming a member involves paying dues and the cost for each fraternity varies, but in general it is about $3,000 per year. Scholarships and loans are available for students who can’t afford the dues on their own. Need-based aid can save members 50% on dues each year.