The Hidden Benefits of Greek Life

By: Amanda

When I came to campus in the fall of 2017, I knew I wanted to join Greek life. The benefits of joining are endless: service and philanthropic events, social events with other organizations, a sisterhood that lasts a lifetime and a home away from home. Although I gained all of these through joining Phi Sigma Sigma, I found that the professional development opportunities nearly outweigh the social ones.

It is believed that there are currently over 9 million Greek members across the nation (source). On top of this, the first female senator and first female astronaut were Greek. And additionally, 85% of Fortune 500 executives belonged to Greek life. It goes without saying that Greek members are making an impact well past their collegiate years. When considering this impact, there are three main hidden benefits of Greek life: professional network development, resume crafting, and a job interview.

Image: desk top with pot with writing utensils, yellow coffee mug, back of computer monitor
Text: Hidden Benefits of Greek Life: professional network development; resume building; examples for job interviews.

Networking naturally occurs through Greek life in college, as all Greek organizations often have social events. Furthermore, individual chapters typically hold alumni events multiple times each year where active members are able to meet with previous ones. Although these are all great starting points, it is important to go beyond this. Consider checking out the LinkedIn profiles of alumni from your org. This is an incredible asset to find alumni who are working in your industry all over the world. A personalized LinkedIn invitation to connect can go a long way and show a lot about your character. One might consider conducting an informational interview with an alum. Oftentimes, Greek members from the same organization share similar values and traditions. This can be something to go off of when sparking up conversation. A few informational interview questions tailored to Greek life include:

  • How did your collegiate Greek life years help you get to where you are today?
  • What would you recommend I do in my time before graduation to expand my network and prepare my resume?
  • Are there any alumni or any other Greek members who you recommend I reach out to?

Resume building is the next advantage of Greek life. Think about starting an ongoing list of accomplishments you have had through your organization, both individually and as a group. Whether it be philanthropy, volunteer work, leadership, teamwork, or event planning, there are skills being developed every day that go unrecognized. An example for a leadership position on your resume could be as follows:

Public Relations Chair, Phi Sigma Sigma, Duluth, MN, Jan 2018 – Jan 2019

  • Wrote blog posts regarding informational and promotional events
  • Take photographs and post on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
  • Managed chapter website on the platform, Weebly, and ensured content was up to date
  • Designed graphics to be posted on social media and in print for events and fundraisers

The final way Greek life can aid in professional expansion is through a job interview. Answers to questions can often be pulled from leadership and learning experiences in Greek life. Here are a few examples of questions that could be applied to Greek experiences:

  • Tell me about a time that you had to work on a team
  • Tell me about a time you have had to use your time management skills
  • Tell me about the type of leader you are

Clearly, the benefits of being a Greek life member, go far beyond service and socials. Professional development can be found in all aspects of Greek life and it is time to start taking advantage of it today!

Of Possible Interest:
Building Your Resume – all our blog posts on the topic
Obtaining a Leadership Position as an Introvert
Boost Your Career in College – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Georgie Cobbs

Obtaining a Leadership Position as an Introvert

By: Heidi

Going into my Junior year of college, I was feeling rather content with where I was at starting a new job at Career and Internship Services as well as taking on a leadership role as the Volunteer Coordinator for UMD’s yoga club. During Junior year everything starts to become a little more real and intense. Running for a leadership position in my sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma was not something on the top of my priority list, but it was something that was fun and exciting to consider. As the applications were sent out, I started to think a little more seriously, “what position would I run for?”, and “could I really pull this off?” I personally have never held a high position in an organization let alone an executive board position of a chapter with 100+ women.

obtaining a position in leadership as an introvert

One of the main reasons I was so hesitant to running for a position is because I didn’t feel like I would be a good leader because I am introverted. What I needed to learn is that there is already a misunderstanding that introverts are shy, when actually we are great listeners, which is fitting for leadership roles.

For the longest time, I did not know or understand my own strengths. This is where I used my results from the CliftonStrengths for Students to my advantage. Everybody has their own strengths and in this process, I realized it was about time I stopped doubting myself. Ask yourself “would I be a good fit?” Now change the question to ask “why would I be a good fit?” to understand from a different perspective. The most important thing is to run for a position that aligns with you in which you could passionately contribute to your organization.

If you find yourself wanting to run for a leadership position but feel hesitant, that is natural! What do you have to lose? Take the time to understand what would make you a strong leader because chances are the answers are already there.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Kelli Tungay

Go Big or Go Home

By: Willow

I have an exercise for you, close your eyes and think about everything you’ve ever wanted to do in college. Think about the organizations you want to join, the classes you want to take, or if you want to study abroad. Think of all those things. Now make a list of everything you want to do or have ever wanted to do and come back and finish reading this when you’re done.

Are you done?
Ok, good.

Look at your list, you now have a roadmap of all the things you should do.

Make a roadmap for your life

I know it’s not always that simple, you have to have to have time for your classes, your job, occasionally sleeping. But this is a list of all the things you should give an honest try to doing.

I am about to graduate, and I realized there are so many things I wanted to do that I never did. There’s an old Iowa State University commercial that shows how all the little things in your college career can help lead you to where you’re meant to go. I encourage you to check it out.

Basically, what I’m saying is make the very most out of college, and that’s way easier said than done. Go to at least one meeting of every club you’re interested in. Take classes just for fun. Go out with your friends.

If you are already in groups at UMD, make sure you’re making the most of them. I am a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma, the National Service Sorority at UMD. I was in it for a year before I tried for a position, a year and a half before I applied to be a big, and I still am working on getting to know the other members. I used to not be as interested in getting to know everyone in my sorority. I thought there were some nice women, but I already knew which women were my close friends and everyone I just kind of knew who they were but nothing more. I finally started to really get to know as many members as possible and realized, they are wonderful people. If you’re not really putting yourself out there in your groups, you’re not getting as much as you could out of your experience. And honestly, you’re missing out.

I know this post is short, but the message is simple. You only college once (YOCO) so don’t live with regrets. There is a lot of sweet stuff that you really can’t do outside of college, so go live a sweet life.

One last thing, a quote from one of my favorite professors Dr. Cyndie Rugeley, “Do it all now, because you’re never going to be poorer.”

Of Possible Interest:

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Photo Source: Unsplash | delfi de la Rua

Greek Life at UMD

By: Logan

At most college campuses Greek Life is a big topic. Every movie about college displays Greek Life in one way or another, for better or for worse. These organizations are as old as the University itself and the traditions continue to strive. In this post you will learn how Greek Life organizations help improve the campus and surrounding community, and how joining a Fraternity or Sorority can help you and your college experience.

First, let me give some background on fraternities and sororities as a whole. Greek Life systems have been around since the 1800’s at many universities around the world. The basic concept of a Fraternity or Sorority is a unified body of students dedicated to service and making long lasting relationships. Many people get the impression that Greek organizations are strictly devoted to partying and nothing else. This persona is usually displayed in college movies such an Animal House and The Neighbors. It is disappointing that people have this expectation for Greek Life because there are many benefits and experiences that can be had by joining one of these organizations.

UMD’s Greek Life consists of five fraternities and four sororities. The Fraternities list as follows: Phi Kappa Tau (which I am currently a member of), Tau Kappa Epsilon, Phi Kappa Psi, Alpha Delta, and Alpha Nu Omega. The sororities are Phi Sigma Sigma, Gamma Sigma Sigma, Beta Lambda Psi, and Kappa Beta Gamma. I have been involved with UMD Greek Life since Fall of my freshman year and I have had many great experiences from it. Greek Life has 3 main areas of focus: Social, Service, and Philanthropy. This means that our organizations are involved in Social aspects, such as meeting and getting to know other Fraternities or Sororities; Service, which involves our volunteering and work hours; and Philanthropy, which is the raising and donating of money to charitable organizations.

The media only tends to show the social aspect of Greek Life, but they never talk about our service and philanthropy events. Most organizations have their members complete a certain number of service hours per semester to show that they are doing volunteer work in the college or community. Another stereotype of Greek Life members is that they are not as involved in their studies and academics. This is very untrue. Almost all of the organizations require everyone to have a certain GPA to join, and if their grades fall too low they will be put on probation or even kicked out of the group. This holds members to a higher standard and requires them to concentrate on school before concentrating on other Greek Life events. Fraternities and Sororities are also a great way to get involved in leadership positions. Each Greek Organization has multiple positions that the members can run for, almost like Student Government. So any member can gain great Leadership skills by running for and being a leadership position holder. Fraternities and Sororities are also great for networking. Since many Greek Organizations on campus are very old, some members still live in the area and can help by donating money or just from networking. Larger organizations have multiple chapters across the country which is also very beneficial for networking. To help with this, the organizations plan big leadership events that all chapters can attend. There members can learn valuable leadership and networking skills that can benefit them in the future.

As you can see, there are many benefits to joining a Greek Organization. It can be helpful for building your resume, or just making your college experience more enjoyable. I strongly recommend any student that is interested in leadership, service, and brotherhood (or sisterhood), to come meet the Fraternities or Sororities and learn more about them. You can also learn more about the organizations by looking under Student Organizations in Campus Life on the UMD home page.

Of Possible Interest: 

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