Top Five Reasons Greek Life is on the Decline at Universities

The phrase “Greek Life” refers to fraternities and sororities that are associated with colleges and universities. The groups help provide members with academic support, and they help young college students develop social and leadership skills. 

At Concord University, Greek life represents life on campus by promoting scholarship, providing numerous leadership opportunities, and participating in a wide variety of community service activities. Students interested in joining Greek organizations may have been inspired to join since membership offers the opportunity to develop lifelong friendships that enhance their college experience, academically, personally and socially.
Concord has two fraternities and four sororities. The fraternities include:

  • TKE – Tau Kappa Epsilon

The sororities on campus are:

  • Alpha Sigma Alpha – ΑΣΑ
  • Alpha Sigma Tau – ΑΣΤ
  • Delta Zeta – ΔΖ
  • Sigma Sigma Sigma – ΣΣΣ

But the number of organizations is significantly less than it has been in years before. The reason for the decline of Greek life on Concord’s campus and campus across the nation may be the result of the  “Abolish Greek Life” movement, which started in the summer of 2020 as a campaign that sought to denounce the existence of fraternities and sororities. However, there are other reasons why membership may be declining.
Reason 1: Greek Life Faces Declining Membership During the Pandemic
Due to the inability to safely gather, many students were discouraged from joining the activities offered during Rush Week, otherwise known as recruitment week.
In light of COVID-19, fraternities and sororities had to re-strategize how they recruit students to join Greek life. Social aspects of Greek life also had to change to maintain CDC guidelines.
Reason 2: The Negative Preconceptions of Greek Life may Deter Individuals from Joining a Greek Organization
Negative preconceptions of Greek life often include their apparent lack of diversity and inclusivity as well as controversial recruiting tactics, such as hazing. These negative perceptions, often perpetuated by pop culture, have shaped first-year students’ opinions of Greek life.
Reason 3: Joining Can be Expensive
Students that wish to join either a fraternity or sorority are obligated to pay monetary dues, which may prevent members from lower socio-economic backgrounds from joining. However, many Greek chapters on campus offer fee waivers and scholarships to members that would like to join, but are unable to pay the necessary dues.
Reason 4: Students Worry About Their School and Life Balance
Joining Greek life isn’t just expensive, it can be time consuming. Many students don’t join a sorority or fraternity their first-year because they are concerned about time management, finances and balancing schoolwork.
With students hoping to participate in Greek life, they will be required to participate in the pledging process, which can last several weeks. Students will be expected to spend their free time attending meetings and events. After the pledging season is over, students accepted into Greek life on campus are required to attend house meetings, chapter events, and fundraisers throughout the academic year.
Reason 5: There is a Double-Standard Regarding the Treatment of Sororities and Fraternities.
Greek life has always been an extremely privileged institution in terms of race and class throughout their history, this according to the New York Times. The dynamics of power surrounding gender is often the most visible with gender double-standards being a prevalent issue in Greek life.
There are differences in how women and men that are a part of Greek life are treated and expected to conduct their sororities and fraternities respectively. These differences manifest themselves in rigid rules that organizations are held to on a national level.

For instance, the National Panhellenic Conference does not allow its sororities to host parties that provide alcohol. Since it is apparently cheaper to insure sororities if alcohol isn’t allowed in their houses with fraternity members paying $180, while sorority members only pay less than $50 for insurance (between $25 to $50 a year).

 The National Panhellenic Conference or NPC was founded in 1902. The NPC is an umbrella organization of twenty-six sororities across the U.S. and Canada. The organization provides resources and guidance for sorority members, and they represent more than four million women across 650 universities.

Currently, according to , at least 20% of students are fraternity members, and 25% of students are sorority members.

by Grace Watson

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