For roughly 10% of UNCW’s student body, this week marks the beginning of one of the most hectic weeks of their semester, Greek Week. The 1,000 students involved in Greek organizations are paired off and participate in competitive events every night of the week. While this means that the students involved will have to spend late nights finishing assignments, practicing for the final event (Talent Show), and attempting to show the most “spirit” it also means there will be a great deal of brand association and personal marketing taking place as well that extends passed the PicNik-ed profile pictures and team boasting tweets.
Most fraternity/sorority chapters will put extra emphasis on going to class and events wearing letter shirts or something that coincides with their team’s theme. Although the UNCW Greek community prides itself on being founded on four pillars of Scholarship, Service, Leadership, and Friendship, those on the outside observing the brand may hold other preconceived opinions. Members of fraternities and sororities are often stereotyped and grouped into compartments of bias, whether it be from mas media such as reality TV shows, movies, or YouTube spoofs, some people simply write these organizations off as Animal House replicas. Even though this week includes charitable action and often the representation of the organization’s philanthropic endeavors, spectators have mixed judgments about the presence of such events. Broadcasting Fraternity or Sorority paraphernalia can link one to stereotypes of partying, vapidness, and frivolity but those who are more familiar with the UNCW Greek brand further than just the surface value of pop culture’s interpretation of fraternity and sorority life, find a much different meaning behind such rhetorical artifacts.
For those who are a part of a Greek organization, letters are more than a TFM (total frat move), they are the embodiment of their values and chapter standards. Wearing letters also comes with the responsibility of the individual to disprove such stereotypes and represent their brand well. UNCW Greek members, as a whole, are noted to have a higher GPA than non-Greeks. What matters more is that those members act in a positive manner that defies previous assumptions about fraternities and sororities. The key to personal branding is to know what message you are sending out and how to alter perspectives; if a faction of people judge the Greek brand as specific negatives, the best defense is to represent that same brand while doing productively positive things.
-Alexis Kapczynski, Sara Kaloudis, Josh Bowman, Kacy Cox