Ahead of the rushing process in the spring semester, various students are going online to learn more about the numerous Greek institutions on campus. One of the most popular sites they turn to is Greek Rank — a website where anonymous users rate fraternities and sororities by the criteria of “looks, popularity, classiness, involvement, social life, and sisterhood/brotherhood.”
On the site, fraternities and sororities are given a number grade that classify them as an “upper,” “middle” or “lower tier” organization. There is also an anonymous discussion board where users post opinions and rank Greek institutions often by describing recent parties and general stereotypes of the group.
President of the Interfraternity Council and College senior Bradley Freeman said that while the site is “entertaining” to read, it is not a reliable source and Greek leaders don't concern themselves with it.
Nico Andrews, a College sophomore and member of Alpha Chi Rho, agreed, adding that he “looked at [the website] once or twice,” but mostly for amusement rather than for information.
Andrews added that the site may have had "good intentions" to provide a useful overview of Greek life, but devolved instead into "a place where everybody either just makes fun of each other or writes stuff about themselves.”
While both Freeman and Andrews described the website as a “joke,” Penn’s page on Greek Rank is visibly active. New posts appear on the page every week, and during some periods, everyday. With nearly 800 posts, the oldest dating back to 2012, the page is currently more active than usual, likely due to the start of the school year. There were at least 5 new posts on Sept. 8.
According to a poll on the website, the largest proportion, nearly 31 percent, of the site's users are freshmen. Sophomores make up the second largest group at 23 percent.
“I think it’s definitely true that people rank houses in terms of preferences and ideas they have. That’s always going to happen; each house has their stereotypes,” Freeman said.
Andrews said he thinks the concern with reputation in Greek life at Penn is exaggerated.
“A lot of people have this idea that fraternities or sororities fit into different tiers, but I feel like anybody who’s actually in a fraternity or sorority don’t really think like that. More people outside Greek life thinks everybody’s about image and popularity but people in Greek life actually just stick to themselves,” Andrews said.
Eddie Banks-Crosson, the director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said he does not concern himself with websites like Greek Rank, recalling similar anonymous websites such as Juicy Campus and College ACB that were popular years ago.
“I can’t give credence to people creating ratios, dynamics and oppressive systems for my students and their organizations,” Banks-Crosson said. “Anything you can do anonymously has no credence with me.”
To counteract the tendency of Greek chapters to compare and compete with each other, President of the Panhellenic Council and College senior Caroline Ohlson said organizations like Omega, the Greek leadership society, are focusing on “fostering inter-organization relationships."
For freshmen or students seeking information about specific fraternities and sororities, Freeman hopes that they reach out to members of chapters themselves to truly get a sense of the organization.
“Check out houses for yourself, because if you only go off of what other people are saying and stereotypes and crazy stories, you aren’t going to get a feel for what houses are actually like,” he said.