- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 08 April 2015
I live with the president of a sorority on campus. Next year, I’m living with two girls in that same sorority. So let me preface this by saying that I in no way, shape, or form, am knocking Greek Life. Instead, I propose this: It’s very possible to get through your undergraduate years at Monmouth without being involved in Greek Life.
I transferred schools and I was in a sorority before that happened. I know what it’s like, as most of Greek Life has the same rituals and processes (loosely said). You go through recruitment for girls or rush for the boys, you then pledge for the sorority or fraternity you want, you get initiated and boom: you have fifty close sisters or brothers that you can never imagine your life without. Or can you?
After transferring schools, the 126 girls that were in my sorority disappeared. Except for one or two of the girls, nobody spoke to me. I didn’t get asked how I was doing or if I was coming back (even though I made it pretty clear I wasn’t). Those girls who I had been so close with seemed to evaporate in thin air just because I was not involved in the sorority anymore.
Was my pledging, my time, my effort, and my money worth it? No. That is why I fully decided when I came to Monmouth that I was going to be a GDI (also known as a “g*d d*mn independent,” a sarcastic twist on the slang for fraternities and sororities).
I thought it was going to be difficult – I mean with Greek Life, it’s like an instant set of friends. There’s always someone to get lunch with or go to the mall with. However, being a GDI has taught me a lot in the six months that I’ve been here. For example, I have time to explore interests that I wouldn’t have time for.
Greek Life is demanding. Not only do you have weekly chapter meetings and sisterly bonding nights (for sororities, from what I’ve observed) but you also have dues to pay and philanthropy hours to fill. You’re also expected to support other Greeks’ events so as to create your Greek community and on top of that you have to keep up your grades and maintain your relationships with all of the members of your organization – it’s a lot. So much, in fact, it’s almost difficult to be a part of another organization that isn’t Greek Life.
When I ran for executive board for a club, I was more likely to be considered than someone who was involved in Greek Life or planning on being involved simply because I was going to have more time.
Without Greek Life, I have been able to work five days a week, write articles for The Outlook, and even have my own radio show. Being a GDI enables me to do the things that I want to do as an individual while still being part of a group – WMCX is a great example. Through this organization I have been able to have my individual show all while being a part of a great club. Do I have 50 built in friends? No. But maybe it’s better that way.
Ultimately, I’m not saying Greek Life is bad – but what people who are so consumed by this often forget is that there is an entire other side to Monmouth. It’s almost impossible to walk through the Student Center and not see a Greek organization fundraising, doing sign ups, or advertising for an event. I’m not even involved in Greek Life and yet I still know all the fraternities and sororities on campus.
It’s nearly unavoidable to go a day without overhearing a sorority girl speaking of last night’s mixer in class. And while Greek life might seem to maintain a great presence on campus, surprisingly, the GDI presence is stronger – we just need to make ourselves as known as our Greek counterparts.
Instead of laying back and letting Greek Life be the domineering aspect of Monmouth social life maybe the alternative group of people should get involved. Join a club or audition for theatre. It may seem overplayed and cheesy, but if the GDI’s don’t maintain a presence on campus, what does that say about Monmouth? It will only have a growing effect on Monmouth Greek Life.
Going Greek may seem like the social norm, but sometimes being an outsider is that much better.
IMAGE TAKEN by Urban Dictionary