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Columns Votes - September 2006

When Columns asked alumni in September to rate the Greek system at the UW, the majority of respondents were members of fraternities and sororities.

Here were the results:

Were you a member of a fraternity or sorority while you were a student at the UW?

Answer Frequency Percentage

What kind of impact did fraternities and sororities have on your student experience?

Answer Frequency Percentage


A great way to gain a sense of community at a bigger school

A home away from home. Felt like family.

A lot of my friends joined the Greek System and then you never see them again. I more have a problem with sororities, many of the members of these houses seem more concerned with appearance and image more than anything. Perhaps as it gets harder to get into the University, this directly correlates with Greek-enrollment? Just a thought. I wouldn't mind if there was no Greek-system.

Absolutely the most positive impact on the social and philanthropic atmosphere the University of Washington can have.

According to some of my "greek" friends, a lot of study time was lost to the weekend partying.

All I thought about Greek Row was that they had parties going on all the time with underage drinking. Nothing positive.

All my so-called brothers were blossoming future alcoholics. The whole system is medieval and the "Hell Week" is barbaric. I went through it and then quit the fraternity. I never missed it because I moved onto a houseboat on Lake Union. That was such an interesting experience that I soon began to think that the university classes were interfering with my real life education. What I noticed about my frat brothers was that they were focused on how they could most easily skate through college doing the least ...copying old papers from their files of previously submitted bro's papers, finding the easiest classes to fulfill requirements, and paddling each other's asses at the demeaning meetings. "Line up!"...(so we can ridicule you!) The cook was a drunk and hence, the food sucked, too. "Good-bye, Theta Chi!" Thanks for asking.

Always felt like an exclusive, non-integrated part of the U. No real effect on my student life—even though I didn't want to join, probably missed out on an opportunity for interaction because of the "closed" nature of the system.

Amazing experience. Learned a great deal about leadership and how to work and live with others. Philanthropic side of fraternities are often overlooked due to a few bad apples out there that ruin the overall image of Greek life. When fraternities and sororities are committed to developing and recruiting the best possible members, both the university and the student community benefit. I highly recommend fraternities and sororities to incoming freshmen who are interested in the complete university experience.

As a very shy person from a small town, my fraternity experience was the perfect answer in learning how to cope and fit into this large university in a metropolitan environment.

As an alumnus, my experience with the Greek system at the UW has been overwhelmingly negative. As a Seattle Police Detective I have investigated rapes, assaults and even homicides involving Greek members. What is worse is that the atmosphere of the Greek system was a major contributing factor in all of these crimes. In fact, if the Greek factor were removed, most if not all, of these crimes would not have occurred. I know this sounds strong, but it is true. I even have a rape suspect on tape telling me that he had to have sex with X number of women during the fall quarter to be admitted into the fraternity he was pledging. A system that promotes such a low opinion of women and even causes a homicide is embarrassing. Fortunately for the UW, and unfortunately for UW students and alumni, this dark side of the Greek system is mostly hidden. That's why many who read my comments will think I'm exaggerating. I'm not.

As an out of state student at UW I found an immediate family in the fraternity. 22 years later I met my wife through a fraternity brother, have done business with several fraternity brothers, started a company with fraternity brothers and retired at 35 with fraternity brothers. I have been both the best man and pallbearer for fraternity brothers. Show me a "Dormie" who gets together with 20 of his friends from college once a month and I will show you a liar.

At the time I thought they were frivolous—taking time from studies. Now with two sons at UW, if they wanted to join a Frat to gain connections (personal and business) I would not discourage them.

Being a fraternity member kept me involved. If I had lived off campus I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been as good a Husky. I obviously loved the social side of it, but there was much more to it than that. I loved the friends we made, the road trips we took, the random Tuesday nights watching movies and eating leftovers. I loved playing basketball in the parking lot on a sunny day and I loved knowing that whatever day it was, no matter the time, there was always someone there who was willing to do whatever it was you were doing. That's pretty cool when you really think about it.

Being a member of a sorority at the UW had tremendous influence and impact on my life. The positive experience of living in a house with 100+ women gave me the tools necessary to enter the working world with grace and tenacity. Twenty years later, these women are still my close friends, business associates, and confidantes.

Being a member of a sorority truly enhanced both my academic and social experience while attending the UW. The student population at the U is huge and being a member of a sorority not only made the size more manageable, but it also gave me a close group of friends and a sense of community. It was great.

Being a member of the Greek system shaped who I am today and provided life long friends.

Being a part of a Sorority isn't just about the college experience. It's a lifetime membership and I am still friends with the woman I knew in college that were in my sorority.

Being a part of a sorority was the best choice I ever made at UW. I made countless friends and memories I will treasure forever. I would recommend it to everyone who wants to be part of a large group of wonderful people!