Saying Bye to Being Greek
Each year a small population of members within the Greek community disaffiliate from their organizations because the time commitments and financial burden can make it difficult for students to balance their academics and other extracurriculars.
Disaffiliation from a sorority or fraternity is not very common, but about a dozen people leave their organizations each year, Scott Mason, senior associate director of Greek life, said.
“Some people decide being in a chapter is not for them,” Mason said. “For some, they cannot afford to keep up with dues and other financial obligations.”
According to university statistics, about 25 percent of undergraduate students are affiliated with Greek life and 93 percent of those members stay with their organizations.
There is no extensive data kept regarding members who disaffiliate. Mason said part of the reason is that a formal procedure for disaffiliation occurs in sororities but not always in fraternities—most men just stop participating.
Sara Marin, a recent graduate, disaffiliated her junior year. She went through recruitment her freshman year because everyone on her floor did and she was still trying to find where she fit in on campus.
However, Marin was an accounting major, meaning at some point in her college career she had to get serious about her grades and internships. Juggling Greek life with her academics and other extracurriculars became challenging.
“It became a part-time job,” Marin said. “There were no optional events and it became a lot.”
As a freshman she loved being a part of Greek life and said she liked the opportunity to participate in social and charity events that an unaffiliated student could not have been a part of. By the end of her junior year, however, she said the commitment was too overwhelming.
Marin said her process included attending a board meeting with the president and vice president of the sorority, who tried to be supportive because they knew this was her decision. Then, over the course of a few weeks they had to contact the national offices and she was sent an application for resignation that clarified why she wanted to leave. Within 30 days she received a letter confirming her resignation and that she would no longer be accepting member benefits.
Most of the members of her former sorority understood why she left because they knew her mindset. Other members weren’t too enthusiastic about it but were still respectful.
“Originally I thought I was going to be hated but people were very nice and very open about my decision,” Marin said.
The process was emotional for Marin—all of her friends and roommates were still in the sorority and it was a very big part of her life.
“I just couldn’t see myself balancing everything,” she said. “At some point I was going to events but not even enjoying myself because I was worried about balancing everything.”
Marin said she does not regret joining her former sorority because she wouldn’t have her very close friends. She has great memories and even advises others to join because it’s a great way to make friends and do charity work.