Greek life seemed like the best way to get involved at OU and make friends, until I found out about the thousands of dollars that I would be required to pay in dues every month. Greek organizations charge fees just to pledge, plus steep, and extra fees if you want to live in-house as an upperclassman.
As a self-supporting college student, not only do I pay my own tuition, but I am also responsible for additional expenses like rent, food, bills, clothing, gas, and textbooks. There was no way for me to support myself and pay the extensive sorority dues, while also being a full-time college student. Paying for everything on your own puts an unbelievable amount of stress on college students, and can lead to poor mental health outcomes and dropping out. Since many Greek organizations do not accommodate students with financial limitations, Greek life is cost prohibitive. Many of those with the ability to rush have parents who can pay their dues for them. In my opinion, the executive committees of sororities and fraternities use this system to single out the “best and richest” to keep their organization prosperous.
If it weren’t for the cost, I definitely would have rushed. I have many friends in Greek organizations, so I don’t have anything against them simply because I couldn’t afford to participate; They are great organizations with many benefits and can help you gain friendships that last a lifetime. However, Greek Life at OU comes at a very high price.
I later found a small sorority that is part of the Independent Greek Council. They still required dues every semester, but at a fraction of the cost of Panhellenic sororities, mainly because they didn’t have a house. They also offered scholarships for people who couldn’t afford to pay the entirety of the dues. I soon made many friendships with the girls in the sorority and loved being a part of the organization.
However, after a couple of semesters of being an active member, officers started limiting the availability of scholarships, and tried to get as many people off of them as possible, because they were losing money. Ultimately, I ended up paying more than I had planned, and decided that it wasn’t really worth the cost for me. I decided to go “inactive” in order to save money.
Though I’m inactive, I still regularly hang out with my friends that are still in the sorority, so I don’t feel completely disconnected from them. I do miss some of the events that I got to participate in, but still enjoy having more time and money to myself. Greek life is the best part of college for some people, but many of these same people don’t experience the financial limitations that students like me do. For those constantly managing their budgets and time, Greek life is not often an option.