Has the Media Molded the Way We Perceive Greek Life on Campus?
Throughout time the Greek community has had to put up with the assumptions that society has about them. Stereotypes include partying until the break of dawn, drinking like there’s no tomorrow, and hazing their new members in order as a requirement to join. Watching movies over the years that are about Fraternities and Sororities put that image about Greek Life into my head, because most movies interpret them to act a certain way. Yet not many know that Greeks each have their own philanthropy, a charity of their choice, to which they raise money for. Is Hollywood part of the reason why Greeks have fallen under that cliché? This is why I decided to look further into this topic due to the fact that I wanted to see if Hollywood has this ability to have a negative outlook on Greek Life. Coming into The University of Texas – Pan American (UTPA) I didn’t even know we had a Greek Life on campus, until a sorority came up to me and asked me to join. At the time I said “No” in a heartbeat, but as the first weeks of school passed other sororities caught my eye. A friend of mine said she was looking into joining a sorority and said that I should do it with her, so I decided to look into some sororities with an open mind, rather than a bias opinion. Going to different informationals one particular sorority caught my attention, they were community and academically based, meaning that they focused a lot of their time on community service and on academics. Since these two issues are something I take to heart, I decided to continue to look into this particular sorority. As the semester went on, I was lucky enough to receive an invitation from the sisters to continue on with the process. The process consisted of learning their values, purpose, and other required material. By the end of the semester I could call myself a sister of this sorority. Since I worked so hard to be able to receive my Greek letters I was eager to show them off, so I would wear my letters every chance I got. Since Greek Life isn’t big at The University of Texas – Pan American as it is in other campuses, many people would ask what the letters meant. When I would tell them I was in a sorority they would automatically make a disgusted face and the first question that came out was “Do you guys party all the time?” I had to explain how the sorority I was in does a lot of community service and that it is nothing like what they see in movies such as, The House Bunny, Animal House, Sorority Row, and many others. Once I do explain this concept, they have somewhat of a confused look such as they can’t believe that Greeks do things other than party and get wasted.
Many students don’t put aside their opinions about Greek Life, which can cause them not to want to join a Greek Org, or just look into one for that matter. Hollywood has incorporated this image of Greeks being nothing but party animals. This is why I decided to conducted a survey around campus targeting both Non-Greeks and Greeks, to see if their opinions about Greek Life have been molded by “Hollywood Perception.” And if so what can Greeks do in order to pull themselves away from the “stereotypical Greek.”
As Swales puts it, a discourse community consists of six characteristics and all must be met in order for a group to be considered as a discourse community. Swales states that a discourse community must obtain “Agreed set of common goals, Intercommunication between its members, Provide information and feedback, Contain one or more genre, Acquire some specific lexis, and New membership” (471-72). All these requirements come together to make sure that an organization or a simple work place can function properly.
Believe it or not getting into a sorority or fraternity isn’t as easy and some may believe. Newman states “Membership for many chapters is first based upon a previous high school or
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