So you’ve been accepted to college and you are getting ready to hit the campus for the first time and immerse yourselves with everything that is college life.
You have heard that there are black fraternities and sororities on campus and you know that you want to be in them and are eager to join. Well we at WatchTheYard.com want to give you some advice on best practices for joining an org so that you don’t screw yourselves over before you even get a shot at becoming greek.
This information is coming from experienced members of black fraternities and sororities and should be shared with as many freshmen as possible. If you are a member of a black fraternity or sorority please share this on your personal Facebook and chapter Facebook page.
Know the meaning of “DISCRETION”
You have heard and maybe seen the greeks on campus at your orientation and they are everywhere but the Golden Rule about joining a black greek org is that you do not make it public that you want to join a black greek org. That means that you should not walk up to the first person you see with letters on and tell them that you want to join their org. It sounds crazy right? It might not make sense to you now, but the longer you are in college, the more you will understand how this works. For now, do not tell people other than your very closest friends that you want to be greek. Running around campus saying things like “I’m gonna be an AKA” is probably the best way to make sure that you will NEVER be an AKA.
Greeks will often say “use discretion”, here is the dictionary’s definition of the word discretion:
In easier terms, the whole campus does not need to know that you want to be greek. Don’t be thirsty. NEVER talk about your aspirations for Greekdom on social media. TRUST US. Keep your greek aspirations off the internet.
This brings us to our next point…
Do not stroll, throw up the hand signs, or try to copy Greek related dances or calls in public EVER.
Greeks on your campus have worked very hard for their letters and do not take other people copying them lightly. Do not ever copy strolls, shimmies, hops, or you could be blackballed from greek life on your campus altogether. You may personally want to show the greeks that you would look good in their org because you can do their moves or look good in their colors but do not do it! Think of it like cultural appropriation. The greeks see their signs as a part of their culture and when you copy them and you are not a part of their culture, they will get mad at you and you could end up never getting the chance to be greek.
Greek calls are also mesmerizing to incoming freshman. A call is when someone makes a distinct noise or chant and other members of their fraternity or sorority scream them back very loudly. These may sound funny at first to anyone who is first encountering greekdom but the more you hear them, the more you will want to join in on them and give them a try. DO NOT GIVE THEM A TRY EVER. DON’T DO IT.
Never break a stroll line.
At the first party you go to, you will see greeks lined up and moving through the club dancing. This is called a stroll and strolling is a big and fun part of greek life. You are going to want to join in and try but do not do that. Again do not do that. Stick with the dances the rest of the freshmen are doing. This is not the electric slide at your cousins wedding. Save yourself and don’t do it.
Stroll lines circle around the dance floor and move through the crowd of dancers. A general rule of thumb is that if you see one coming, you move. They will not stop for you and you WILL get run over. It does not matter if you are looking cute with your friends or a giant incoming freshman football player who is physically larger that everybody in the stroll line. It is a rule that like you would not stand in front of an oncoming train, you should not stand in front of an oncoming stroll line.
If you get pushed out of the way by one do not think they are trying to fight you, they are just trying to dance and you are in the way.
Most important of all never try to walk between a line of people strolling. This is called “breaking” a stroll line and is one of the worst things you can do. I don’t care if you are President Obama, do not break a stroll line.
Take Your Time Before You Make A Choice On What Org You Want To Commit To Trying To Join!
First thing is first, you cannot join a black fraternity your freshman semester. Point. Blank. Period. They could not even take you if they wanted to, you have to have grades first.
When you first arrive on campus you might see an org you want to join because you like how they look, step and stroll but you should remember that these are brotherhoods and sisterhoods. Committing yourself to try to join a certain sorority or fraternity based on their appearance is like trying to bet on who will win the Super Bowl by how their uniforms look or trying to pick the winner of a boxing match by the color of gloves they wear. It does not work like that.
The first thing you should do when you get to college is be observant of the fraternities and sororities. Watch them and see how they interact with each other, find out how active they are on campus and attend their events, try to find out how much mentorship these members are receiving from graduate members in their org. Not all chapters are the same and some chapters, although they look like they would be fun to show up to a party with, look good on the outside but are messy, lack leadership, and are in general turmoil on the inside. Try to figure out which chapter is the best for you by meeting the members, talking to them and learning what they do. If all goes well, you will become a part of their family. You really do not want to make the wrong choice and join the wrong family.
Take your time. Learn them.
Do your research.
I the writer of this article, have been given the final vote on choosing who was allowed to join my org, as the president of my undergrad chapter. One thing that I would always do was make sure that anyone who wanted to join my org had also hung out with and attended the events of other orgs on campus. I knew that my org was the best fit for me and my brothers, but I also understood that not everyone fits every org. Sometimes people think they want to join your org but have not done their research to find out if other orgs are the right fit for them. I encourage everyone who wants to join an org to also have a good understanding of the rest of the orgs on campus so that they can definitively say, “this is what I want to join, this is the perfect org for me.”
While looking at an org on a campus level is very important, it is also important to look into what the org is doing right now on a state and national level. Some chapters are a certain way on your campus but might be totally different in other states and it is important to know what you are getting into because you will be in this org for the rest of your life. This is a big decision and you really need to do your research.
Also you should be reading as much as you can about the history of all of the Divine 9. Luckily WatchTheYard.com has got you covered.
Join student groups that are not greek.
Every black fraternity and sorority member knows that the most valuable pool of possible members are always found leading or involved in other student groups on campus. They are showing the greeks that it does not matter if they become greek or not, they are leaders and it would be a privilege for the greeks to be able to add them to their brotherhood or sisterhoods.
Be this person. Get active in as many student groups as your homework and grades allow. If you have a lot of stuff going for you, greeks will be more inclined to want you to join their orgs. Show that you have tangible skills to bring to their table!
Not everyone needs to be greek.
You do not need to be greek. Greekdom is not for everybody and that is perfectly cool. You can have an AMAZING time in college without trying to be greek. Be sure of yourself, it is not for everyone.