Editorial: Greek life numbers sad sight for all

Greek life participation at Eastern has seen a dramatic dip in the last five years.

It used to be a big part of the Eastern community, and now less than 10 percent of the enrollment population is in either a fraternity or sorority.

We at The Daily Eastern News think there are a few reasons why there has been such a dramatic decline in Greek life.

For starters, in the Fall of 2017, Eastern put Sigma Chi on suspension until Fall of 2020. Sigma Pi and Lambda Chi Alpha saw a dramatic dip during this time as well.

In the Fall of 2016, Sigma Chi, Sigma Pi and Lambda Chi Alpha had a combined chapter membership of 150. 

By the time Spring of 2018 rolled around, Sigma Chi had been kicked off campus and Sigma Pi and Lambda Chi Alpha had both suffered decreases in membership. The combined total of the three fraternities for Spring 2018 dropped to 40 members, a decrease of 110 students across just three fraternities.

Student apathy also plays a part in the decline of Greek life involvement. Students are caring less and less about participating in on-campus events, let alone getting involved in fraternities and sororities.

Additionally, we’ve seen plenty of unflattering news stories exposing horrible hazing cases in the past few years. These stories are necessary in uncovering heinous Greek life practices, but they also can contribute to an unhealthy stereotypical image of what fraternities and sororities are like, regardless of how unrealistic that depiction may be from university to university.

College values have also changed drastically in the past decade.

Ten years back and earlier, Greek life was seen by many students (and the public at large) as a college rite of passage. If you weren’t in Greek life, you weren’t getting the full college experience. 

Today, students are both finding more economic value in living off campus altogether, by either living at home or renting. 

And while getting involved in Greek life opens up so many opportunities to make new friends, network with professionals and give back to communities via volunteerism, students understand that there are other ways to do that which don’t involve establishing themselves in Greek life. If students want less restrictions while still taking advantage of these opportunities, they may opt out of Greek life.

And let’s face it; dual-credit enrollment gives the appearance of a clear increase in enrollment. In reality, we all know that isn’t totally the case. The fact is: On-campus headcount is still down, so that may have some role in the decline in Greek life participation.

We at The Daily Eastern News care about Eastern, and we care about Greek life. We understand the benefits that come with being a part of a Greek brotherhood or sisterhood. We want to see the numbers go up again.

We hope Greek life’s recruitment is a success. We know the leadership can put in the work necessary to see things turn around.