Collins is a sophomore English major and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
While I normally write my column for those of us in the Greek community, this week I decided to reach out a little further. Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or that really, really heavy “History since 1776” textbook), you couldn’t have helped but notice the huge tour groups being guided through our campus. Full of prospective students and their overeager parents, they’re shown the ins and outs of the Meredith labs, Olmsted breezeway and Spike’s Spot study rooms. If you recently went on this tour and are reading this on your boring drive down I-35 back from whence you came, there’s an aspect of Drake that you might not have gotten the full tour of—for that, you’ll have to wait until Labor Day weekend.
Greek life at Drake is one of the things that attracted me to it in the first place. With over 34 percent of the student body in a social fraternity or sorority, we have students from every end of the Drake spectrum: senators, track stars, pharmacy majors, cheerleaders. Whatever you’re hoping to do here at Drake, you can do it in the Greek system.
Have your parents started reading over your shoulder yet and lecturing you on the dangers of fratting too hard? Don’t worry, they’ll come around. And, while we definitely frat as hard as any other campus, we work to make sure that Greek life really is our way of life.
From morning and sometimes long into the night, I work to maintain the ideals to which my sisters of Kappa Alpha Theta, and I have pledged our loyalty. Our friendship and love is a constant part of my Drake experience—who I grab lunch with between classes, my Zumba dance buddies or watching a sister get engaged during a ritual ceremony. While it might be true we have the most fun and throw the best parties, we also compete for Letters in the Library and Greeks in the Gym (programs designed to create some friendly, intense competition between the houses to be the smartest and healthiest on the street), raise thousands of dollars every year during each house’s philanthropy week, clean Des Moines parks and schools during service exchanges and invite alumni back to the houses they can still call their own.
Each of these things makes up a sorority, fraternity and Greek life as a whole and, while it’s easy to get lost in stereotypes, every Greek member is a proud and promising part of his or her house. Drake’s Greek life mission statement promises “scholastic excellence, leadership development, personal growth, service to the community and social advancement” and, as one of the many, many voices of Greek Street, I can promise you that we never fail to deliver.
On other campuses, Greek and non-Greek members hardly interact. But here, while our higher expectations and ideals bind our houses together, they don’t separate us from the rest of the Drake or Des Moines community.
For the past 100 years, Greek organizations have promoted social, intellectual and moral growth for the students of Drake University and, let me tell you, we’ll be doing it for at least another 100 years. While being in a frat or sorority might not be what you had envisioned you’d be doing, trust me and just give it a go. For less than $20 (and last year we threw in a bag and T-shirt to boot), you can meet people outside of your orientation group or first-year floor during fall recruitment.
Whether you end up an Alpha Phi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon or Kappa Alpha Theta, you’ll have figured out a little bit of what you want (or don’t want) in your next four years and, if you end up as nothing at all, you can still claim the title of GDI and wear it just as proudly as I wear KA?.