Greek life surprises freshman

Fraternities do more than throw parties on weekends.

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The definition of “fraternity” changes a lot depending on who you ask. When most people think of the word “fraternity,” they think of “Animal House” — out of control parties and too many illegal things. That perception of the college fraternity is grossly inaccurate and misconstrued to the point that many students who could benefit from joining a fraternity are discouraged from becoming a member.

As a pledge at Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, joining gave me the chance to gain knowledge that benefit me in more ways than one.

The spring 2013 fraternity and sorority grade report for UND stated that the average Greek GPA was higher than the total non-Greek GPA for undergraduates.

This may come as a surprise to some, but being a member of a fraternity is more than just having fun. As a member of a fraternity myself, I can speak from personal experience that joining a fraternity gave me the chance to gain knowledge that benefited me in more ways than one.

Even as a pledge, I have had more opportunities to learn and grow as a person, and I have gained more knowledge than I would have ever thought possible in my entire freshman year. I’ve made many close friendships, expanded my horizons and prepared myself for the future.

Much of this would not be possible had I not been willing to go out of my comfort zone. Before coming to UND, I had not even considered the idea of being in a frat. I thought a fraternity was no more than a “party club.”

I was wrong.

This Halloween, I participated in Pi Kappa Phi’s annual fundraiser for PUSH America — a foundation dedicated to helping disabled undergraduate Pi Kappa Phi members — our philanthropy.

“Trick-or-Treating for Push,” is the most profitable charity event we do, according to the head of my local chapter, and this year he said we collected $450. We even spent half an hour inside the home of a very kind woman who gave us a check for $20 and gave each of us her tasty homemade cupcakes as well. That money will be used to build wheelchair ramps and other handicap-friendly structures all over the country.

Both were bonding experiences that were enjoyable and charitable at the same time. These events brought my brothers and I closer together — as do all of the events we do as a fraternity — and helped to strengthen the friendships I have made because of my involvement in the Greek community.

A few weeks ago, I participated in a food drive collection, where we collected donations for St. Joseph’s Food Pantry. We accepted canned goods, cash and checks from many nice people from all over Grand Forks and were happy to do it.

And we are just one Greek organization. There are 13 fraternities and six sororities on campus, each with their own philanthropy. Together, we strive to help those in need and contribute to the community we call home. Each month, there are events that benefit the needy in one way or another.

I am happy to be able to give to people and organizations in need, and I feel Greek organizations are making a difference.

Fraternity is about helping others grow and prosper, while doing the same yourself.

Greek life has dramatically improved my college experience, and it can do the same for you.

Come next semester, there will be another round of recruiting, and if you get the chance, I highly recommend you consider Greek life and what it has to offer.

Dusk Crescenzo is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at dusk.crescenzo@my.und.edu.