Greek life is a rather controversial topic, often under scrutiny on college campuses for incidents related to racism, binge-drinking, social pressure, general elitism and nepotism. A common counterargument to criticism is the charity Greek life provides. In this letter, I have presented some numbers to demonstrate why this is a flimsy counterargument and should not be used as a blanket justification for when Greek life comes under fire.
A December tweet in defense of Greek life shares philanthropy statistics from the University of Purdue for one year. Tri Delta leads with roughly $7.2 million, two other sororities follow with roughly $1.2 million, while three more follow with anything between $800k and $500k. Together, this makes a grand total of $10,350,000. For the sake of argument, let us say Greek life is genuinely concerned with generating as much charity revenue as possible, thus their defense of charity-work is valid if the numbers add up.
From what I have gathered from friends and online sources, sorority dues average to around $2,000 per semester. This does not include shirts, meal plans, fines, very expensive housing and other miscellaneous costs. On Mississippi State's campus, 20.5% of the student body is part of Greek life. Four thousand multiplied by the Greek population of MSU, 20.5% times 17,371, equals a whopping $14,244,220. This is $4 million more than what is being fundraised at Purdue. Mind you, Purdue is nearly double the size of MSU.
If Greek life members are truly concerned with charity, they could generate 50% more philanthropy by not joining Greek life and instead paying all associated costs to a charitable organization.
As such, I argue that this defense is a very poor one, and in consideration of controversies, higher rates of depression, lower GPAs and higher probabilities of sex crimes, I question the merit of Greek life at all.