Updated: Sep 30
Many current fraternity members across the Ohio Wesleyan University campus admit that they never intended to pursue Greek life in the first place. Despite this, these men have found community and brotherhood in OWU's fraternities that they "wouldn’t trade for anything".
Pre-existing assumptions about fraternities, family members' poor past experiences with Greek life, and anxieties about not fitting in stop many from rushing.
In fact, of the fraternity members interviewed, many members from various walks of life were confident Greek life wasn’t for them until being at OWU for a few semesters, and in some cases, a few years.
Eddy Sherman, an OWU senior and the social chair of the Fiji fraternity, shared that becoming involved in Greek life in college was not his original intention.
Sherman's father, grandfather, uncle, and cousin were all involved in Greek life at OWU in the past.
"Things are very different now than it was back then, and all of the fraternities [my family members were in] are gone now," Sherman said.
He shared that it was the friendly and comfortable environment he experienced with Fiji that led him to complete his second rush after dropping his first.
Other track and field athletes and finance majors such as himself, along with kind upperclassmen, gave Sherman plenty of good advice and pointers about being a student at OWU and went out of their way to make him feel comfortable.
Considering his experience with Fiji, Sherman feels that fraternities at OWU are a welcoming environment even for men like himself who didn't intend on rushing.
"I think I kind of made [fraternity life] what I wanted it to be, I wanted it to be fun and welcoming, so I became social chair," Sherman said.
Daniel Eilert, a senior at OWU and the chapter president of the Chi Phi fraternity, shared that he hadn't even considered rushing a fraternity until his sophomore year.
"The image I had of 'generic frat bros' didn't align with what I took to be my identity at the time", Eilert said. "I honestly hadn't given the idea much thought at all during my freshman year at OWU."
Like Sherman, Eilert has family members that were involved with Greek life.
"My mom, and even more so my dad, told stories about their experiences in their respective sorority and fraternity that molded a stereotype of Greek life which I didn't have much interest in when I arrived at OWU," Eilert said.
Despite this, Eilert began finding a community within Chi Phi his sophomore year. Learning over time that many other members of his pledge class were surprised at finding themselves rushing a fraternity, Eilert said that he felt overwhelmingly welcomed by Chi Phi despite not originally planning on joining.
Conversely, senior Fiji member Garrett Collins knew from very early on in his freshman year that fraternity life was for him. His brother's experience as a Tau Kappa Epsilon at the University of Akron opened his eyes to the possibilities of Greek life.
Collins feels that not only Fiji, but many other fraternities around campus are very inviting to those who are not sure about becoming involved in Greek life. He has seen firsthand how many students rush Fiji who never expected themselves to join a fraternity.
"[Being in a fraternity] has absolutely lived up to my expectations," Collins said. "Living in a house with 30 of my best friends who will always look out for me no matter the problem is something I wouldn’t trade for anything."
Whether they expected it or not, it's clear that OWU's fraternity men are thriving within their communities and helping to define who a modern fraternity member is.