Moment of Clarity: Choosing Season
It’s that time of the year again! Men shed ordinary garments and don dark suits and neutral ties. Women stand patiently outside classrooms and buildings, pretending not to be noticed. Programs start a few minutes after seven, although participants have been lined up silently since five. If you have not guessed by now, I’m referring to Greek pursuit season.
Fall semester is the time where Howard students traditionally express interest and pursue membership in Greek-letter organizations. Howard is home to the most distinguished chapters of sororities and fraternities, and these organizations can provide tremendous networking and development opportunities to members. Some students’ families have a legacy of membership dating back generations. In most cases, membership in these organizations is commendable, and even impressive. However, pursuit of membership in these organizations is often not, which threatens the rich legacy of the Howard community.
The focus during this season, for those interested in membership, should not be what is to be gained by joining these organizations. Rather, it should be evaluating what sacrifices are being made. Many prospective members hold leadership or service positions elsewhere on campus. All are full-time students. Everyone should have professional goals that require constant attention. On top of that, prospects will have to study information, attend events, and try to get to know the current members. Successfully handling these oftentimes competing priorities is commendable, however it is rare. Battling that rarity is the responsibility of both prospective and active members of these organizations.
To the prospective members, DO NOT neglect your previous commitments and priorities to pursue membership. Not only is this indicative of a lack of character on your part, it has an adverse effect on the other organizations that depend upon your efforts. Also refrain from slacking in your academic excellence; assuming you came to Howard to graduate, this pursuit, if handled immaturely, could be a hindrance to the overarching goal of college.
To the current members, please stress the importance of comprehensive quality to these prospective members. If the intake processes for your organizations are thirst contests, what will happen to your historic chapters when they are filled with people whose only accomplishment is pursuing membership? All of you (hopefully) had to go through this season, and you should be realistic in your expectations and strategic in your selections.
I am impressed when I see students who are already excellent augment their success with Greek membership. I am disgusted, and weep for the future of those very organizations, when I see the people whose academic and pre-professional journey was derailed by pursuit.
In order to feel gratified despite the outcome of your pursuit, you can not compromise your character for the sake of being chosen. In order for your chapters and organizations to continue building on their rich history, you should expect prospective members to embody the characteristics of holistic quality. In order for Howard’s legacy to improve, we have to expect excellence from our beloved Pan-Hellenic community.