The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is a collaborative organization of nine historically African American; international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. The nine NPHC organizations are sometimes collectively referred to as the “Divine Nine.”
Black sororities and fraternities have affected the lives of millions of college students both negatively and positively. Founded on May 10, 1930, at Howard University, the Council oversees the Divine Nine.
To fully understand the scope of their grasp on students, researchers took part in a survey to determine the number of students who join sororities. 5% of the students in most institutions are already involved in Greek life, and the number is soaring with every passing academic year. Let us take a deeper look at these societies.
Black Sororities and Fraternities:
The oldest of the black fraternity is Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, which was founded in 1906 at Cornell University. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA), the oldest Greek-letter organization established for African American women, was founded on January 15, 1908, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. The buck does not stop there. Both of the organizations mentioned above are also well-recognized members of the long-standing National Pan-Hellenic Council.
The Divine Nine are the oldest sororities and fraternities in history. They include:
i. Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
ii. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
iii. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
iv. Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
v. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
vi. Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.
vii. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
viii. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
ix. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Most of these sororities and fraternities have similar agendas, ranging from preparation for greater usefulness in society, intellectual status, encourage nobility, and helping humanity achieve a higher economic status. It is no wonder the owners of most independent and prosperous companies have links tying them to the Greek life while in college.
However, many students have failed to achieve their full potential in class as a result of the same. From initiation to taking part in rallies, step shows, demonstrations, and important meetings, a student might find it hard to focus on their studies and end up failing in college. At some point, separating the genders was seen as a way to curb the spread of these societies but chasing enlightenment, even the women formed their sororities.
Why Do Students in HBCUS join Sororities & Fraternities?
Historically Black Colleges and Universities such as Spelman College, Howard University, Morehouse College, and Tuskegee University, just to mention a few have a hand in the existence of most of these Greek letter organizations. Most students confess to attending these institutions not just for the Greek life but also because of the incredible achievements they claim to hold.
Such achievements include; the first female senator, the first female astronaut, astounding representation in government, and the over 9 million Greek members there are currently nationwide. Nonetheless, you have to be cautious and take a deeper look to see if they still have ties or help financially after graduating college.
Other reasons students join sororities and fraternities is the companionship they bring. These organizations have been known to create lifelong friendships that see alumni’s help each other once out of college to get jobs and share opportunities. Housing and social opportunities are the other main reasons that get students initiated into Greek life.
Finding a house might be hard, especially if everything is new to you; so when offered an opportunity to have a band of brothers or sisters that will provide a home and look out for you throughout college, who would decline? Still, most students do not realize what they have got themselves into before it is too late and they are off the wagon.
Faculty view on Greek life:
Some members of a fraternity at the University of Michigan were in the headlines recently for all the wrong reasons. They had caused an estimated $430,000 in damage in a hotel they were staying in through breaking furniture, vandalizing 45 rooms, and urinating on the carpet. While the fraternity involved liaising with the school on possible punishment, the money had to be paid for the damage.
The faculty had a hard time pinpointing the actual culprits as some students claimed it was only a few bad apples that caused the damage hence spoiling the bunch. Similarly, this is the same problem faced by faculties in Universities and Colleges with Black sororities and fraternities. Some students use these societies as a way to freely practice their vices such as underage/binge drinking, hard drugs, and sex.
According to most lecturers, a student’s will might be robust enough to help them avoid a drink when with a few friends, but sororities and fraternities increase those chances by at least 50%. As such, faculties should start by warning students who miss classes during the intake process.
While fraternities and sororities might have their positive sides, they tend to offer too much to a head that has just started making baby steps in a new world. Sometimes the cases reported are extreme, such as the suspension of all fraternity activity at John Hopkins University after a 16-year-old girl reported being raped during a fraternity meeting. As a result, many colleges and universities are re-evaluating their faculties’ involvement in these societies.
Pros and Cons associated with Greek Sororities and Fraternities:
In her book, “Pledged”, Alexandra Robbins admitted to having mixed feelings after the series of interviews, undercover observations, and material from member-informants; this is rightfully so with fraternities and sororities. While you might have a chance of making lifetime friends, you might end up being lifetime drunkards.
It all begins when students stop attending classes or sleep during the lectures, after a late night meeting. Alternatively, one may choose not to drink but still lack concentration due to sleep deprivation and fatigue. Both scenarios result to poor grades, which in turn contradicts the whole point of being in college.
Poor attendance of lectures and exhibitions takes much valuable information away from a student. Proper time management has helped some students overcome sleeping through lectures, but it takes commitment to handle both the Greek life and still perform in your studies. The problem is, most students enter these societies as a way to have fun and experiment, the outcome, in most cases is often a catastrophe.
Black sororities and fraternities have provided very many students with a sense of belonging and for those who overcame the peer pressure, valuable lessons to carry through life. At the same time, they can destroy a young person’s life before it even starts if one is not careful enough.
To conclude, joining a sorority or fraternity can be a rewarding experience. However, it is not for everyone, especially the faint of heart. Potential members should do their research and make sure they are joining one of these organizations for the right reasons.
Also, a level of maturity is needed so that students do not get side-tracked with the partying, drinking, and skipping class. Keep the main thing the main thing, since, at the end of the day, the purpose of going to college is to get a degree, not be a Greek.