Last month one of our members, Steven Jackson, wrote couple pages about what you can get from being involved within a Fraternity? I will be post a couple paragraphs a week so be sure to stay in tune!
People constantly ask me, especially around the time of recruitment, what the point is of being in a fraternity, or what they stand to gain from joining a fraternity; more specifically they ask these questions about Alpha Gamma Sigma. Of course, there are the standard answers: Connections with members past and present; resources for academic success; being part of something bigger than yourself; you’ll regret passing such an opportunity; it looks really good on a resume; or one of my personal favorites, brotherhood. But what does any of that actually mean? What does one truly stand to gain from joining a fraternity, particularly Alpha Gamma Sigma? If a person wants to join to gain the things I just mentioned, they aren’t going to succeed in the fraternity. There are a million ways to gain those advantages, 99.9% of which don’t require one to join a fraternity. I would like to address what I personally see as real, concrete reasons to join a fraternity, and more to the point, to join Alpha Gamma Sigma.
Fraternity life has absolutely nothing to do with the things advertised. The advantages that are advertised as reasons to “go Greek” include social status, community betterment, connections that could lead to a career, opportunities for academic success, etc. Don’t get me wrong, Greek life provides all of these things, and they are all great aspects of the Greek community. But ultimately they are nothing more than fringe benefits. You can create a great network of friends in college, and be socially involved on and off campus. You can become involved in the community in many ways through volunteer work. You can network and gain post-graduation connections through both of the aforementioned benefits, and also through things like jobs, school itself, and clubs that demand much less time, money, and effort. Academic success can come through many of these same benefits; you don’t have to be in a fraternity to have a 4.0 GPA. Anymore, Greek life has gained a bit of a negative reputation in society, so while it may help on a resume it could just as easily be damaging to employment opportunities, depending on the type of employment and employer. None of these things require affiliation with a certain arrangement of Greek letters, but Greek life is certainly a good place to find them.
Being Greek and being an Ag Sig, one tends to gain so much, if we all truly realized it our heads would explode. But we tend to forget the most important parts, defending these other things when confronted by those outside the Greek community. Simply put, they just aren’t enough to make one want jump in and become a part of it. We overlook the inward gains as we reach out for the more tangible, material benefits. We forget that you come out the other side a completely different person with a different view of the world around us and the parts of life that actually make life worth living. I don’t know how else to really describe these inward gains without doing so from a very personal standpoint.
First and foremost, the letters AGS on my chest are merely a symbolic representative of what I hold in my heart. By themselves, they are nothing more than three letters from another language. To the man behind them they are the physical, tangible, recognizable symbols of what I feel whenever I see them, or whenever somebody speaks them. What I feel are senses of pride, inclusion, and a desire to improve not only myself on a daily basis, but the world around me as well. The pride that I feel isn’t a boastful, holier than thou pride. It’s the kind of pride that whenever those letters are presented, when they are spoken, I feel a sense of accomplishment. This leads me to my second point, which is inclusion. Adding to that pride is the overwhelming joy to know that I am a part of that. The best comparison I can make here is sports. When a baseball team wins the World Series, millions of their fans around the world are proud to claim supremacy. But the players themselves, the ones who physically put in the work on the field to achieve this goal, have
the honor and privilege to actually be a part of making it happen. Within the fraternity, the best example of this is through our annual philanthropy event, which brings to light my third point. Last year we raised more than $1000 in just one day to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. At the personal level, each and every one of us take pride in being able to come together and do our part to contribute to this event, which put our fraternity in a positive light. Better than that, we were able to take that positive, not for our own personal gain, but to give it directly to a community of men and women who have sacrificed more than we likely ever will, asking nothing in return. We didn’t do it for Alpha Gamma Sigma; we did it for the community.
Written By: Steven Jackson