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Greek Life is about helping others, finding opportunities

Joining Greek Life is hands down the best decision I have made in college. I never thought I’d be the one to say it, either.

My high school impressions of Greek Life was limited to the movie “Animal House,” or those Greeks that made the negative evening news. Once I stepped on campus, however, I realized that Greek Life is much more than just socials.

For me, it is about helping others and opening the door to life’s boundless opportunities.

When I rushed back in spring 2016, I went to many different events at all kinds of fraternities. In the end, I accepted my bid from Alpha Sigma Phi, a place that I now call home.

I was not looking for the fraternity with the most popularity, nor the one with the most awards. I was looking for people I could connect with. The guys that I now call brothers are my best friends at Central Michigan University. I would rush Alpha Sigma Phi if I had to all over again.

This week is Rush Week, giving prospective brothers and sisters a chance to find out what Greek Life can do for their lives – on campus, and well after they graduate. It’s a time to take stock of the good that Greeks can and often do for their communities.

It is evidenced by typically overlooked stories Greek Life philanthropy.

Just ask Danielle Schmidtman of Alpha Gamma Delta. She said the best part of joining Greek Life was having someone to look up to. Most fraternities and sororities give new members a “big,” a brother or sister who helps guide you as a parental figure. Schmidtman’s big helped her adjust to schoolwork and the responsibilities of being on your own for the first time.

“(My big) was always someone I could go to if I had questions about anything, and that meant the world to me,” Schmidtman told me.

It’s about helping those involved in Panhellenic activates, but especially those who are not pledged and bid Greeks. Supporting the broader community is the charge of each fraternity and sorority member at CMU. Each group has their own philanthropies which raise money to donate to good causes.

The brothers of Tau Kappa Epsilon create and run events raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The hospital was founded to help parents of patients pay for their treatment. It is funded primarily through charitable donations.

“Knowing that our donations help give these children a fighting chance, without hurting their family’s financial situation (in the process), is a really cool feeling,” said brother Drew Van Hees, of Tau Kappa Epsilon.

Fraternities and sororities represent being a part of something bigger that the individuals involved. They help you find friends that you will cherish for a lifetime. Garrett Ritterhaus of Phi Kappa Tau described the experience better than I ever could.

“Honestly, the things that make Greek Life worth it aren’t the huge events,” Ritterhaus said. “It’s the 10 minutes you have in between classes where you see everybody you know through Greek Life.”

Forging bonds. Upholding community values – that’s what it means to be Greek, despite all of the negative stereotypes that plague us daily.

To my fellow Greeks: stay safe, make good choices, and have fun this week. To any Chippewas who are interested in or become new members: welcome to the family.