I was not informed about fraternities and sororities, before I watched Monsters University. In that movie, stakes were high for the main character, so I didn’t question his desire to join the lettered community. Nor did I question the whole system of elite societies within the student body. Now I started reading about them on the web, and found a strange inconsistency between wiki and blogosphere. Basically, wiki says that membership reduces the academic performance, whereas the posts by sorority members claim increase in GPA:
The most impressive propaganda in the posts is that almost all politicians and CEO’s come from greek organizations. Indeed, in every motto they promise to make you a leader. If I have a kid, I would hardly worry about vanishing chance of him becoming a politician, unless my kid is an outstandingly bad person. My bigger worries would be if he will have disturbed sleep by parties around the house every friday night, and grow up into a neurotic.
Yesterday I was present on a charity walk against cancer that involved all the student organizations. Most had a little tent, some did fundraising, some just chilling. This is where they practice their leadership skills, I was told. The effect on the outside world is negligible, but the students get confidence that they can set things moving. They also want to be a role model, which is easy if you have so many lines about extracurricular activities in your CV. Circle K that I joined, however, was not in greek, open to everyone, and with events that do have an immediate effect on the outside world. Basically the local communities employ this organization’s volunteers, work-for-food workforce. I find the existence of always available volunteer worker pool here quite shocking, given the basics of economics supply/demand curves, wall between us and mexico etc.
So do elite greek organizations make themselves available as volunteers in that workforce pool? I somehow doubt that, they’re elite after all. I really look forward to be disproven, but my first impression is that the greek culture subtly encourages you to abandon any hope of becoming a professional, and work your way up using connections instead. That aside, I kind of like how one of the triplets had taken ‘greek’ literally and is living up to the tradition of having a perfect body (ancient athletes) and clear mind (ancient philosophers). I think there should be more of this.