Sorority and Fraternity Membership…



An interesting empirical study from 2007 concerning the role of Historically Black Greek Letter Organizations (HBGLOs) and class participation at PWIs. Prompted by debate over calls to abolish fraternities and sororities at the undergraduate level amid rampant incidents involving hazing, Shaun Harper examined the role that belonging to a Divine 9 Org can have on your in-class participation, specifically for those students of color at private white institutions. He concludes that ” given that educationally purposeful engagement usually leads to the production of measurable and sustainable outcomes among college students it seems reasonable to insist that BGLOs not be abolished at the undergraduate level. Sorority and fraternity members in the present study described how their affiliation led to productive engagement inside the classroom.”

As a member of a HBGLO (Alpha Phi Alpha) at a PWI (Gettysburg College) it was very interesting to see a study that looked to examine something that I could directly relate to. I feel some of the same feelings expressed by survey participants in terms of representing both my organization and my race but I also acknowledged how feeling that way can also be a burden. When I did my identity circles in class “Alpha” was one of my circles. My fraternity is something that I consider to be a strong part of my identity. Greek life can gain a negative reputation very easily and it has at many campuses across the country, however it’s benefits are numerous and it means something to me to be able to dispel misconceptions about what it means to join a Greek organization.


2 responses to “Sorority and Fraternity Membership…

  • The Professor

    It’s true, ‘greek’ on this campus = white fraternities and sororities. I often have to remind my students that such black organizations have and continue to have a very different role in society. From my external perspective, membership seems more to do with lifelong camaraderie and networking and support. Are there many folks involved on this campus? Do you often feel burdened by being a representative of Alpha?

    • tuckom01

      I don’t feel burdened because it’s a choice I made. This is to say that I wasn’t born a part of the Greek life system. I think this distinction makes it very different from other identifying characteristics. I personally feel if you join a Greek letter organization you should want to be a representative of that organization. Otherwise, why did you do it?

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