National Greek Survey: What Do Greeks Need?

Tyler Zach

Working with Greeks as an advisor now for the past three years, I have often thought about what Greeks need. What do they think about? What do they want to learn? How do they want to grow?

In the quest to find some answers, I developed a Greek Needs survey that was taken by more than 130 students from over 100 U.S. college campuses. While the sample may be small in comparison to the total number of Greeks across the nation, I believe that these results will get us going in the right direction.

In the survey, I asked students “What do you think about the most?” This question was asked four times, each time giving them an opportunity to select an answer from one of the five levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow suggested that as the lower needs on the pyramid are met, the individual moves up the pyramid and seeks to fulfill the remaining needs. However, if some of the lower needs are not met, the individual’s progress will be temporarily interrupted until those needs are met. For a further explanation of Maslow’s theory, go here.

Maslow Pyramid Greek

What Do Greeks Need

Greek students by far appear to have most of the lower pyramid needs met. According to the results, 39% of Greeks’ current needs fall in the Self-Actualization level, which is the highest on the pyramid. Here are four of the Top 10 Greek Needs that fall within this top level:

  • Discovering my skills and talents
  • Reaching my full potential
  • Figuring out what I’m the best at
  • Wanting to learn, explore, create, or discover things

Top Ten Greek Needs

Number six on the Top 10 needs list is “not getting enough sleep.” This is rather surprising because sleep would fall under the lowest level, yet it appears to be a very crucial need to these students. According to Maslow, this lack of sleep that the students are experiencing might indicate a huge problem for Greeks as they try to progress in other areas. Perhaps it is the pursuit of the very top level that is causing them to fall behind on one of their most basic needs of all.

Number two on the Top 10 needs list is “being able to graduate and/or get a good job.” This need would fall under the second level, still very low on the pyramid like the need for sleep. From my own experience, this need for security or future security really affects a student’s decision and growth in college. I have seen many fraternity and sorority students leave the Greek system or become very inactive in their chapters because they want to succeed academically so that they can get a good job in the future. Or perhaps they have to leave the chapter to work more so that they can be more financially secure. This is one example of having to temporarily remove yourself from one of the higher levels to take care of a lower need first.

One problem with the survey is that it asks Greeks what their top needs are, assuming that they are in full knowledge of what those actually are. Sometimes, we might be deceived as to what we need in the future as opposed to what we need right now. For instance, a Greek student may want to “discover a talent” but in reality they may be spending two hours per day on Facebook because they are trying to meet a level three (belonging) need.

Nonetheless, most Greek students, from the results of this survey, appear to be at least pursuing or thinking about the highest level of needs possible. This is a good indicator of the caliber of students drawn to Greek life. This might explain why there is such a high percentage of Greek leaders on college campuses as well as the culture at large – especially in the business world and in the government.

Hopefully, these survey results will help you to serve Greek students more effectively.

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