Many people come to college unsure of what being in Greek Life actually entails. They come in with miscellaneous stereotypes, gathered from movies, TV, and the Internet, often representative of a Greek culture that is far from reality. It is not uncommon for students to come to Hopkins with no intention of becoming involved in a fraternity or sorority, and their minds are often changed by the time rush week comes along. In reality, Greek life at Hopkins plays an influential and positive role at JHU, and is far from the shenanigans of Animal House. The events range from socials with other Greek organizations to philanthropy and community service, and each adds to campus life. The fraternity and sorority community at Johns Hopkins is comprised of over 1,000 students, approximately 20% of the overall undergraduate population.
One somewhat unique aspect of Hopkins Greek Life is that rush occurs in the spring and freshmen are not permitted to rush in the fall. This allows for a semester of experience to really get to know the campus without the fraternity or sorority obligation. It builds a strong community outside of the panhellenic one, so that even when rush takes place, people still have connections outside of their organizations. It also provides time for students to informally experience what each group has to offer without the pressure of recruitment–simply being on campus and meeting people will give most people a good impression of what each group is like. This way, when rush starts, students will already have a general idea of which group they’d like to join, instead of having to make the same decisions right when they arrive on campus.
While joining Greek Life will definitely allow students to make friends and participate in more social activities, sororities and fraternities at Hopkins won’t define who someone is as a person. Most members join simply to meet more people and to get involved on campus. The organizations involved in Greek Life work together, and since there are events and activities offered exclusively to Greek Life members, each affiliate comes to know other members from other organizations as well.
Some philanthropic Greek Life events include Mr. Phi Mu (a talent competition between the Panhellenic fraternity brothers to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network), Alpha Phi’s Casino Night (a night of gambling, raffles, and prizes to benefit the Cardiac Care Foundation), Sorority Powder Puff Football hosted by Pi Beta Phi and Pi Kappa Alpha, a cook-off hosted by Kappa Kappa Gamma and Beta Theta Pi (all proceeds go to the Maryland Food Bank), and many more. During Greek Weekend, sororities and fraternities compete in friendly competitions designed to raise money for local philanthropies. The groups are awarded points based on how well they perform in the weekend’s activities, their team spirit, and their group’s attendance at various events. The winning organization gets a prize from JHU Greek Life!
“Greek life has helped me make so many great connections that I don’t think I otherwise would have made. I’ve been able to meet and get close with dozens of new people that I know I’ll be friends with for life.” -Greg, ’14
“Being involved in a fraternity has helped me to get more involved in other aspects of campus in addition to Greek life. Many brothers are involved in cool organizations on campus, and have gotten me to get involved in their organizations as well. It really has opened a lot of doors and given me so many opportunities.” – Tim, ’13
“Starting college, I had a very different perception of what sororities were, what they stood for, and the type of people that joined them. However, my opinion of them has completely changed since I’ve been at Hopkins. After going through the Recruitment process with a friend for fun, I realized how wrong I was. In the 2 months that I have been a part of Greek life, I’ve met many new girls who, under normal circumstances, I would not have had a chance to meet. Greek life is my home away from home.” -Aida ’15
“Being part of Greek life has helped me transition into my second semester of my freshman year. Having so many new older sisters who have taken so many classes is a huge help. My new sisters, not just those in “phamily,” are an awesome support system and keep are always keeping me motivated.” -Yemi ’15