Greek Life at W&L

What is Greek Life?

Greek life may be an unfamiliar concept to many international students, but it makes a significant impact on the social life of Washington and Lee University students, as more than half of the student body will join a Greek organization before graduation. Some international students choose to join a Greek organization, while others do not. The perspectives of several international students on Greek life at Washington and Lee are listed below. The Greek Life website maintained by Student Affairs has lots of information including frequently asked questions, fee information, a list of all Greek organizations active on campus, and more.

International Student Responses: 

Tanpreet Hunjan '19

Why did you join a sorority?

To be more involved on campus and meet new people who I may not have met otherwise.

What are the pros and cons of being part of an organization?

Pros: Great Philanthropy events, Fun Mixers with other organizations on campus allowing you to meet new people. Strengthens bonds with your friends.

Cons: Financial obligation, Mandatory time commitments

Do you think you have benefited from being part of your organization? How so?

Improved time management skills and working with others on a regular basis. Breeds a sense of pride when participating in some events.

What advice would you give an incoming international first-year students when it comes to rushing?

Be relaxed about the process. Get to know the members of the organizations and find out where you genuinely want to be in regards to a group who aligns with your beliefs and values.

 

Yexinyu Yang (Yolanda) '18

Why did you join a sorority? 

Because my best friends and I all got bids from the same sorority and we figured we wanted to do it together; also it was a very convenient way to meet new friends- being in sorority means I know 100 girls immediately when I become one of them and it's easier to make close friends/keep being close friends.

What are the pros and cons of being part of an organization? 

Pros: Making friends and networking. An alum from my sorority actually helped me to get many info for internship etc. 

Cons: Expensive. Another thing is since our school is so Greek, there are too many sisters in each pledge class so it's hard to build close friendship with every one of them.

Do you think you have benefited from being part of your organization? How so?

For networking, as mentioned above. I feel they are gladder to help after knowing I come from the same sorority.

What advice would you give an incoming international first-year students when it comes to rushing? 

During rush, follow your heart and instinct! Just be yourself during the week and see if you feel you belong to any of the sororities. However, sororities may have some stereotypes, but in reality, everyone is different even in the same sorority. Do not let "Greek or not" limit your choices when it come to making friends!

Muskaan Soni '19

Why did you join a sorority? 

It was a place to find more women who can inspire you and help you grow.

What are the pros and cons of being part of an organization? 

Pros: Food is great and your sisters will love you no matter what. 

Cons: It is a little time consuming to got to chapter every week.

Do you think you have benefited from being part of your organization? How so?

It has given me great networking opportunities and to bond with people outside of the classroom.

What advice would you give an incoming international first-year students when it comes to rushing? 

Do not do it just because everyone else is doing it. Think through, read about it and then decide to rush or not to rush. it is completely all right if you are an independent. you will still have a great college experience. 

Alejandro Panjagua Rojas '17

Why did you join a fraternity? 

I joined a fraternity my sophomore year because I wanted to get to know the school and people here better before making any decisions. This allowed me to know the guys in my fraternity better and develop meaningful relationships with them.

What are the pros and cons of being part of an organization? 

Pros: Having a safe space where you can feel comfortable, surrounded by people you like.

Cons: some people might feel "too comfortable" in this place and might not want to branch out causing a divide in the school.

Do you think you have benefited from being part of your organization? How so?

People in my fraternity have definitely challenged my views and I have challenged theirs leading to some constructive debate. I also found that having a physical space where you could always go and feel safe is nice in college.

What advice would you give an incoming international first-year students when it comes to rushing? 

I would say do not feel pressured about rushing your first year here, especially if you are not aware of the process and responsibilities of rush. Take your time and chose what makes you the most comfortable, without thinking of what people might expect from you. In the end, joining a fraternity is something very personal and you should do it if you believe it will improve your college experience.

Rajwol Joshi '18

Why did you join a fraternity? 

I joined a fraternity because it gave me the opportunity to expand my social circle and allowed me go get close with people I probably would not have got to now on my own.

What are the pros and cons of being part of an organization? 

Pros: You always have people to hang out with and you make friends for life. There is always something going on, which makes college more fun.

Cons: You mostly hang out with the same people and sometimes it gets monotone. It costs more and it takes up a lot of your time.

Do you think you have benefited from being part of your organization? How so?

In addition to making new and good friends, I think I have grown from more engaging in lunchtime debates with brothers who have differing perspectives than I do. It has also forced me to be more social and to get out of my comfort zone.

What advice would you give an incoming international first-year students when it comes to rushing? 

Do not feel forced to do anything. Greek life here can be quite a culture shock but it is a big part of W&L so I would recommend not dismissing it completely. Get to know as many organizations as you can (this should not be too difficult since they will probably be the first one to reach out to you) and take your time to choose the best fit for you.

Anukriti Shrestha '19

I decided not to join a sorority because after a couple of months on campus I realized that it wasn't my social scene. While I was initially overwhelmed by the strong presence of Greek Life, over time, I learned that there are many other extracurricular activities and clubs that I could get involved in without being in a sorority. I also found a strong sense of community amongst the independent people on campus and realized that I did not need to go Greek to "fit in". There are plenty of other opportunities on campus to meet new people and socialize.

Hammad Ahmad '19

It did not take me long to realize that Greek Life was not for me. Incoming students should know that although most people choose to join Greek Life at W&L, doing so is expensive, despite any (limited) scholarships or financial aids offered by fraternities to prospective pledges. Being independent does not mean that one will be excluded from school events. A large number of school events are open to everyone, regardless of one's inclusion in Greek Life. W&L provides a plethora of opportunities for students to get involved in activities and clubs. Don't be under the impression that since your friends are rushing and joining Greek Life, you must do the same. You can have fun during your four years at college and socialize without having to dedicate a substantial amount of your time (and more importantly, money) to a fraternity or a sorority.