At the core, we are all the same. We all state we’re Brothers or Sisters for life. We reinforce that point by all having some eternal “Chapter” that we pass into upon our death. We all go through some form of education to better understand the origin and nature of our Order. Whether public or private we all have a form of initiation. We all give of ourselves to better the world. We all state an oath, committing to the communal success of our organization.
Sure, one organization may use “Truthfulness” and another will say “Honesty”, but in the end, its meaning is the same. Organization “1” may be professional in nature, while Organization “2” may be religious minded. The majority of us have different philanthropic preferred partners, but we all do have philanthropic partners.
One needs to look no further than their own Society’s mission statement and contrast it to another’s. “Life-long bond of sisterhood”, “brotherhood”, or “friendship”, “academic excellence”, “developing leaders”, “shared values”, “committed to building better”. Character. Leadership. Service. Cultivate. Growth. Any of these ringing bells? It’s all the same. No matter how you dress it, how you say it, we’re striving for the same goals. Taking the same path. Forging the same life-long bonds.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. That doesn’t mean we should all hold hands and sing. It simply means we should give each other the mutual respect we all deserve.
I’ve seen the Greek community rally together to support each other. Whether it’s coming together in times of great sorrow, a Brother or Sister dead or dying from some horrible disease. A house burning to the ground. A philanthropy event that will aid or bring some relief to suffrage. Even the smallest gesture of positive enforcement that lifts the spirits and comforts the soul.
Unfortunately, I’m not naive to the other side of the coin. We put each other down in the foulest of verbal assaults. Take that one step further, the majority of us will witness an example of this disgust and turn their back on the situation, leaving one of our own to confront this onslaught alone. We put our Brothers and Sisters into compromising settings or in impossible circumstances without a care about the repercussions.
Case and point; how many times must we compete on an intramural field and not shake hands after the encounter. How many more times do we have to hear of a break-in or during a social event something priceless to the Chapter went missing, only to find our it was another Organization. How many more tailgate fights have to occur before we start exemplifying the values and principles we’re supposed to be emulating?
Why do we do this? Is it simply the mentality of the modern day collegian student? Must we always play into the stereotype? Our Alumni Advisors and headquarter staffs battle day in and day out to combat the biases that surround our letters. If you think I’m full of it, you better take a long look in the mirror.
There is nothing wrong with being joyful for another organization’s success. If one organization succeeds, we all as a community succeed. The advancement of our own accomplishment shows others the path they can take. Remember, we’re all striving for the same ideals. It’s only the literal words that are different, not the Mission.
On the other hand, when one organization stumbles, we all stumble. This is yet another theme most of us discuss; we’re only as strong as our weakest link. Generally, we look at this in a micro-environment, typically in the setting of a Pledge Brother or Sister. What about on a larger level? Over the past several years there have been several high profiles and countless less known examples of a single Society on campus having a transgression and the entire Greek community is under the microscope. From the administration to peers, alumni to outsiders, everyone is looking to see if this is a trend and if we’re more of a liability to the institution than an asset. We’re labeled as a whole. It wasn’t Sorority “X” but Greeks that did it.
What about a struggling Chapter or perhaps just a smaller Chapter? What’s the difference if they only have “X” number of members? Some Chapters artificially cap their membership numbers. They’re looking for a more exclusive experience within their Chapter, which translates to narrower prospective new member pool. They end up being more selective for one reason or another. Could be something as simple as a minimum CGPA or complex as to a points system over a period of time.
These Societies might not be our day-to-day “competition”, but they are still Brothers and Sisters to all of us. Support them, for the good of the Mission, your Mission and the encompassing Mission of the Greek-Lettered World. We must make the effort to rally together as a larger community and support the principles that founded us all those years ago.