By Maura Driscoll
Let me preface this by acknowledging that I am well aware that Greek life at Union is not for everyone. Not because it is inherently flawed and “filled with fake smiles, false kindness and constant condemnation,” but rather because it simply does not necessarily offer everyone the same incentives to join as it does others.
It has the stigma of conformity and that we have purchased our friends, with sorority girls often being mocked and belittled for being a part of something that unites them. This is unfortunate, but it is a reality of life — not life at Union. I simply aim to offer some clarifications to some rather disdainful accusations.
To borrow a term from Hughes’ own article: Don’t knock it ’til you try it. Yes, you rushed. Rushing is not the same as being initiated into a sisterhood with bonds of perpetual friendship, as corny as we all know it sounds. Rushing means next to nothing in the grand scheme of Greek life at Union, and it is not petty, nor is it cruel. In what way, shape or form is visiting a sorority house every night for a week to learn about philanthropies or chatting with sisters eager to share with you why they chose their affiliation while watching the girls dance and sing like lunatics “petty, cruel and superficial?”
The concept of rush is to entice potential new members to want to join a particular sorority — being “cruel, petty and superficial” is entirely counterproductive to that process. Rush is not sisterhood, and someone who has never experienced such a connection with 100 other women has no right to pass judgment on relationships she has never experienced firsthand.
To be frank, we do not “[pay] hundreds of dollars for a ‘once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Sisterhood is for life, not three years while on campus. Yes, we pay dues while at Union and that is no secret. Yes, it can be rather pricey, that is also no secret. Call me crazy, but paying dues for three years is perhaps the best investment I have ever made in exchange for a lifetime of support and camaraderie with not just my own chapter, but also all the sisters in the country.
In the interest of full disclosure, I wanted nothing to do with Greek life upon matriculation at Union. I envisioned Greek life on campus as what I saw in the movies: Sorority girls turning their noses up at any person who did not share their affiliation, misogynistic frat boys and the crippling feeling of judgment from those who perpetuated the stereotype of being airheads with no concern other than the theme for their next frat party.
However, by the end of my first term at Union, I was confident that Greek life was nothing like the stereotypes and that it was definitely something that I wanted to be a part of. Unlike the impression that Ms. Hughes seems to be under, when I walk into Reamer, I am not overwhelmed with whale logos from Vineyard Vines, but rather overwhelmed with the mix of all kinds of Greek letters sitting together at tables, unburdened by whether or not their friends share their affiliations.
I do not wear my letters on “Wear Your Letters Wednesday” because I like to rub in every independent’s face that I am in a sorority and she is not. I wear my letters because I am immensely proud of what I represent, and those with whom I share that representation.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you were likely well aware of Union’s deep, historical connection to Greek life not just when you arrived on campus three years ago, but when you applied in the first place. In fact, chances are your tour guide was a Greek who, if prompted, would have discussed how the Greeks play an important, and sometimes dominant, role on campus.
There is a reason that the Greeks make up such a dominant part of Union’s life, which is a fact tactlessly overlooked. We are Minerva Fellows, committee members, scholars, Student Forum leaders, athletes, artists and philanthropists. We are not the mean girls of Union, as we have been so undeservedly labeled. Being a member of Greek life has pushed me to be a more driven, dedicated and hardworking individual, opening doors for me that may have remained locked if I had not become a member of such a truly rewarding and genuine organization.
Despite my dedication to my sisterhood and all that we believe in, I am not defined by my affiliation, and I believe you would be hard-pressed to find a single individual on this campus that is. Greek life should not define you, and, frankly, you should not let it. One person’s distaste for a tradition and its principles that has been established for centuries does not devalue it, nor does it tarnish what we as Greeks stand for.
Delta Delta Delta