Andy Wertz estimates having 30 brothers. Rachel Bradshaw probably has around 35 sisters. All of them are related through the Greek system at Queens.
"Greek life at Queens offers students the opportunity to form close bonds not only within their own chapters, but also within Greek life as a whole," said Rachel, who is serving as the president of the Panhellenic Council this year. "These close bonds allow us to step out of our comfort zones and try new things."
Participating in Greek life "opens many doors by providing leadership, academic, athletic, service and interpersonal opportunities," said recent staff Greek Advisor Zach Thomas.
The seven chapters on campus also uphold academic standards for every member. They often offer tutoring and hold academic study sessions.
"I've seen Greeks not only maintain a GPA, but also excel academically despite being involved with Greek life and other organizations on campus," said Rachel, a Summerfield, NC native majoring in English Literature.
"Greek Life has helped me develop my leadership style and my social skills. It has given me the ability to learn how to be an effective leader and how to deal with conflict as well as event planning. I think these are real-world skills that will help me once I graduate."
- Rachel Bradshaw
Challenging to be better
Making connections and being challenged to do more and be better are unexpected gains of fraternity membership, said Andy, past president of Phi Kappa Sigma. "Personally, Greek life has challenged every way I thought I knew myself. It taught me how to grow."
Greek students also focus their efforts on leadership and service. There are so many stories of Greeks contributing to the world around them that Dean of Students John Downey is reluctant to identify any one example. "If I did that, I would, no doubt, miss more than I mention," he quipped.
For instance, each campus chapter supports its own cause such as the Leukemia Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, or the Ronald McDonald House through fundraising and service. Dr. Downey said, "Collectively our Greek system raised over $16,000 in 2012-13 and offered over 2,700 hours of service to the community. Fundraising and service to others has consistently been a high priority for our Greek community."
Added Rachel, "Greeks love working towards making the world a better place, and I find that admirable."
Although Greek life nationally does face some misperceptions about hazing and "buying friends," the students involved at Queens counter those ideas. "The only way to combat preconceived notions is to live the ideals of our foundation in every action every day," said Andy, an aspiring English teacher from Clayton, NC.
Rachel, a transfer student, said joining a sorority helped her branch out and get involved. "Queens is my home now, and I see Greek life as a large reason for that."