I was giving a tour a few weeks ago and got the question from a prospective student’s mom, “Wait there is Greek life here? How can a Christian college have fraternities?” I love these questions because I am heavily involved in Greek life at Grove City College My typical response follows a pretty specific outline that details the key differences with Greek life at Grove City College.
First, there are no National fraternities at Grove City. This means that all Greek groups are considered “local,” which allows the college to more closely monitor the Greek system and ensure it is aligned with the college’s standards. As local Greeks, we lack the association with National Greek life which has its positives, as well as its negatives. However, one of the benefits of this independence is that each fraternity has the ability to set its own standards in a constitution and is chartered by the college.
Second, there are no off-campus Greek houses. This certainly changes the dynamic of Greek life in comparison with other institutions. All students are required to live on campus during their 4 years at Grove City. Instead of houses, Greeks live on fraternity halls in our residence hall buildings. This provides the communal living aspect of fraternities while removing some of the negative connotations that come with Greek housing. In order to live as a group, each fraternity is required to meet the “Community Living Privileges,” or CLP, standards. This a review panel that each fraternity is required to go in front of on a 2 year basis, and present why they should continue to be able to live together. Fraternities usually share about various all-campus events that they hold along with different ways the group is growing in a positive manner.
My experience at Grove City College would not have been anywhere near the same if not for my fraternity. Being a part of my group has allowed me to make friends both in my group and become friends with other Greeks. The extra community has provided me with great opportunities to reach beyond my group and become friends with more people on campus. It must be noted that most students are not in Greek groups and are considered “independents,” they also have great opportunities for community on campus with Greeks and other independents.
To me, being in my fraternity has provided me with the greatest experience of my college career. I have made lifelong friends through being a part of group that represents our brotherhood. In my group I have served in different capacities and have learned a great amount through each of those experiences. In my most recent position, I am currently serving as President of our group. As you can imagine being in charge of a group of 18-22 year old guys is just about impossible. However, it has been an invaluable experience as I have learned more about leadership, service and patience than I ever have in my life.
As I move through my senior year at Grove City College, I have had the opportunity to reminisce on my experience these past 4 years. I will certainly miss this place as I have grown more than I could have possibly imagined and owe more to this institution than I thought was possible. In looking back on my years in my fraternity I have become extremely appreciative of all those that came before me, and made the opportunity to join a group that I fit so well in available to me. My only hope is that those that come after me will be able to experience even better opportunities than those that were provided to me.
So the next time someone asks about Greek life at Grove City College hopefully you will be equipped with a new perspective…Grove City’s Spin on Fraternities.
James Plante is a Grove City College senior and the current President of the Beta Sigma Fraternity. Upon graduation he will be awarded a degree in Entrepreneurship with a minor in Political Science. Hailing from Harrisburg, PA, James chose Grove City College because “there was no other place like it. It felt like home.”