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Life and Religion

Going Greek? What a pledge should consider before joining
Examine personal goals and experiences
Published Thursday, August 23, 2018 9:39 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Know yourself before you consider going Greek.

It’s hard to set foot on a college campus and not encounter sororities and fraternities. Some seek letters, while others run from them like the plague. Regardless of which side of the spectrum you choose, social organizations offer more than the stereotypical spring formal and “Animal House”-style parties.

“I personally never thought that I would be a sorority woman,” said UNC Charlotte Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Michelle Guobadia. “I was a tomboy. I was an athlete. All my friends were guys in high school. There was no way you were going to sign me up for makeup and hair and glitter and being in a sorority. That really was ignorance on my part. I didn’t realize that not only was it not those things, but it was much more than that.”

Guobadia’s experience with Chi Theta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority proved to be anything but the stereotype.

“Here were a group of women who were going to be my cheerleaders, and a group of people who were going to hold me accountable now, because I belong to their community,” she said. “Here were people who were going to challenge me to be my best self. Here were people who said, ‘you said this. Your actions don’t match it. Go ahead and match those actions to your words. That’s what fraternities and sororities really gave me as a woman who never considering joining coming out of high school. It’s shocking, because it’s what I do for a living today.”

For UNCC graduate Daniel Watson, Greek life wasn’t a foreign concept, as his older sister Brittany had been involved during her time at North Carolina Central University. While the exposure to fraternities and sororities on an HBCU put him on a path which he intended to join an organization in college, his arrival at UNCC initially took him in a different direction.

“My mindset changed a little bit,” said Watson, who graduated in May. “It was, ‘I don’t want to have to pay for friends. I’ll be cool without letters.’”
However, a campus yard show changed his mind.

“Every year, there is a big yard show,” Watson said. “It’s where your historically African-American fraternities and sororities who stroll and step to basically welcome all the new students to campus. I was sitting in the crowd, and I saw Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity next to the stage.”

Impressed by their academic standards, Watson decided that if he ever chose a fraternity, Alpha would probably be it.

“It was kind of hard to walk anywhere on campus and not see them doing different things, whether it be an orientation counselor or a residential advisor,” said Watson, who joined the Mu Tau Chapter in 2017. “I have an older sister, but I don’t have any biological brothers. I played on sports teams growing up, but I never really had that connection of someone I could call when it’s 2 a.m., and I have a flat tire.”

UNCC has a student enrollment of over 29,000 and 42 Greek organizations. Joining means an opportunity to make a difference.

“I wanted to show people what it’s like to be an African American on our predominantly white campus, and I wanted a band of brothers,” Watson said. “One of the big things we tell people is that before you go Greek, it’s important to know who you are as a person, because a lot of people can get consumed in this whole Greek world, and kind of lose themselves in the letters. Thankfully, I knew who I was, and joining Alpha allowed me to solidify who I was, and I learned skills about myself that I didn’t know how that I had.”

Said Guobadia: “If you had asked me 20 years ago, I would have been like, ‘no, I just want to make tons of money,’ but now it’s, ‘I want to make a difference.’ There’s a difference in helping students become leaders through the lens of fraternity and sorority life, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Students cannot join a culture-based group during your first semester.
“They want to see one academic semester of performance under your belt, as well as some leadership opportunities,” Guobadia said.

Research the organization beforehand.

“If you don’t have any experience with fraternities and sororities, the internet is a beautiful thing,” Guobadia said. “Really Googling the organization, whether at the local level or the national level, understanding what their philanthropy is, what their service is, what is their stance on accountability measures with the organization and with individuals is very, very important. The cool stuff that we have here with UNC Charlotte is you can go on our conduct website and see if any groups that you are interested in have a conducts history. If they have been in trouble recently, or in the past couple of years—they have a pattern of behavior, and they’ve been held accountable, it’s up there.”
Curious about an organization’s grade point average?

“On our website, the fraternity and sorority life website, you can see the grade reports going back to the spring of 2008,” Guobadia said. “If you want to see how well or how poorly academically our groups have done, just go there.”

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Nice article. I agree with Daniel about knowing yourself.
Posted on August 29, 2018

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