Joining Greek life may not be worth the Rush


Brianna Edwards

At the College of William & Mary’s Day for Admitted Students, fraternity house Phi Gamma Delta puts up a sign welcoming the potential incoming freshmen of the William & Mary class of 2027.

Brianna Edwards, Staff Writer

A club where death is a potential side effect to join–wait, that wasn’t on the brochure. According to, one or more young men have died in fraternities every year for two decades. While the chance of this occurring is low, the fact that it happens at all is scary. Many high school seniors and college students face the same decision they did before their untimely death– of whether or not to join Greek life, or in other words, to rush. 

Greek life is composed of fraternities, a community of men, and sororities, a community of women. The institution has a history that dates all the way back to the founding of the second oldest college in America, the College of William & Mary.

According to Appalachian State, Greek life actually evolved from the formation of literary societies, with Phi Beta Kappa becoming the very first fraternity founded in 1776 at the College of William & Mary. Greek life, today, is now plentiful on college campuses across America and has even devolved to the founding of other Greek organizations including service and honoraries. 

Excluding the conversation of these other Greek organizations, fraternities and sororities have been prominent in the news for the danger some new members endure in hazing.

With the first fraternity being established in 1776, evidence of its hazing followed as soon as 1781, according to FraternalLaw. Hazing, according to StopHazing, is any activity expected of someone joining an organization that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them, regardless of a person’s willingness to participate.

Having Greek life on college campuses does have its benefits. According to MSUTexas, involvement in fraternities and sororities provides leadership opportunities, lifelong friendships developed with brotherhood and sisterhood, community service opportunities to build character, academic support and networking. Social and recreational involvement within Greek organizations also include events, such as formal dances, chapter retreats, winter and spring break trips and more.

However, the negatives of rushing into Greek life still outweigh the benefits, with the most glaring reason due to the emotional and physical abuse inflicted in hazing.

— Brianna Edwards

However, the negatives of rushing into Greek life still outweigh the benefits, with the most glaring reason due to the emotional and physical abuse inflicted in hazing. According to a 2008 national study cited in Eastern Kentucky University, over 73% of college students have experienced hazing in fraternities and sororities. Most common, the rituals include intense drinking games (such as binge drinking to the limit of being sick and passing out), singing or chanting in public, lineups for the purpose of interrogating, demeaning or intimidating, and being yelled, screamed or cursed at.

While 62% of students who underwent hazing (within any organization, from athletics to clubs) did report some positive outcomes after being accepted, 48% of students reported recurring bouts of stress, depression, and feeling humiliated and degraded by the initiation, according to a study sourced in PsychologyToday conducted at Ramapo College in 2019. Almost 30% of students reported issues with sleeping or academic performance associated with the hazing ritual. Most severely, at least one college student per year is reported dead due to hazing.

Joining Greek life, according to TheScholarshipSystem, is also a huge time commitment and can be very demanding. Those same benefits of being involved in social events come with negative consequences—volunteer hours and attending parties may not be optional, greatly disrupting time for academics and studying. 

Not only are time demands a huge factor, members are also required to pay dues and certain fees. Forget the monthly Netflix or Spotify subscription, the cost of a Greek life membership can cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars a semester. It seems unnecessary to spend that kind of money just to “socialize” when there are many other opportunities to do so for free. Depending on the campus, the cost of Greek housing can be even greater if the member is moving into the chapter house, adding on to the already high costs of college tuition and fees. However, this depends on the university, and in some instances may be cheaper.

Furthermore, potential rushers should be aware of the potential costs in addition to the aforementioned costs. Purchasing tickets to that formal, purchasing appropriate attire for that event and more– they all cost money, and they are not always covered by the Greek life institution. 

Although joining Greek life does have its advantages, the history of hazing as well as immense commitment of time and money argue against rushing. It is important to note, however, that hazing is an issue that extends past Greek life and occurs even in athletics and clubs. Thus making thorough research before joining an organization all the more crucial. 

At the end of the day, every organization is different and every single person’s experience in both rushing and time spent in their fraternity or sorority is different. The choice is up to the individual. Just make sure to do research, and be careful to not “rush” into it.