With Greek life back on campus, the one thing nearly everyone can agree on is that, if Greek life organizations continue to exist, financial reform will be necessary. While houses have encouraged fewer money-centric events, dues are still strikingly high. Many students who have to pay these dues themselves face real financial and time constrictions, juggling part-time jobs on top of classes, schoolwork and every other extracurricular activity.
No matter how much someone wants to join the Greek community, for many students here, it just isn’t feasible. If Greek life is going to stay, students and the administration need to prioritize the creation of scholarships.
While some individual chapters have already taken it upon themselves to develop scholarship funds to ease individual dues, an all-encompassing Greek life scholarship currently does not exist. Many national chapters have scholarship opportunities, but these are nearly inaccessible. The Alpha Phi national scholarship, for example, has a tedious 18-page instruction guide. Even if you do finish filling out the application, the process for receiving scholarships is long, and your chances of receiving it are slim. This leaves some chapters virtually without any financial aid at all. Additionally, only current members or ones who were recently initiated are considered, further restricting the number of people who can afford to join to those who can initially afford being a member without support.
This problem is recognized among Greek life leadership. Specifically, the Panhellenic Council is considering the establishment of a scholarship fund to provide overarching financial aid for sororities, according to Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Su McGlone.
“The plan would be for my office to help administer the scholarship once it is active,” McGlone told the Daily in an email. “Students can apply and know if they have the scholarship before going through recruitment, without having to share their financial status with the organization they seek to join.”
Providing greater transparency to students before they begin recruitment would be a huge step toward demystifying the financial barriers of Greek life, as many organizations’ dues are not made clear at the start of the recruitment process.
While the university is getting involved in administering financial aid, the fundraising efforts still fall on students.
“It is going to be up to the [Panhellenic] Council to fundraise for such opportunities, but the university is providing them with the tools and resources to do so,” McGlone said.
Talk of using a crowdfunding site and other methods of fundraising is already in the works. The Panhellenic Council hopes these funds would be available by next recruitment cycle. While scholarship development is still underway, it will likely be allocated along a sliding scale, and the amount of aid would also be finalized before recruitment begins.
Clearly, chapters have their work cut out for them. Aside from working to lower dues whenever possible, houses will need to devote ample time to fundraising efforts. If the university cannot fund these scholarships themselves, they must work especially hard to facilitate fundraising efforts for Tufts Greek houses. No matter what side you are on of the Greek life debate, we can all agree that finances should not be a make-or-break factor.
According to the Student Life Review Committee, Greek life will be re-evaluated in the years to come. If Tufts and its local chapters do not make the Greek recruitment process financially equitable, Greek life does not deserve to stay.