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The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Greek life: a buoyant yet bloated Banana Republic

Photo+by+Liv+Klassen+%7C+Photo+Editor
Photo by Liv Klassen | Photo Editor

Before I ever decided to attend Drake University, I questioned going to an institution where Greek life seemed front and center. Or one that allowed Greek life at all. The tour guide on my first visit when I asked them what percentage of students were involved in Greek life responded with one-third. A pretty substantial portion. 

Alas, I arrived on campus not exactly open to joining in but not unwilling to hear the Greek leaders out. I wasn’t dead set on throwing rocks, but I didn’t feel the need to be in on their secrets. However, now, I have some things to say. 

Of course, I’ve heard stories in the news over the years, as I’m sure many people have, where young women continue to be sexually assaulted and scarred at the hands of their fraternity counterparts and sorority sisters. Where charters are shut down and things get out of hand. Where things are shiny on the outside but a Melanie Martinez song on the inside. 

Just to name a few instances in recent years, think of Phi Delta Gamma’s permanent suspension from their University of Nebraska-Lincoln charter after a gruesome rape allegation and the infamous death of Tim Piazza at Penn State during a Beta Theta Pi fraternity pledge.   

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Yet, why do we still continue to seek them out? Why are we still eager to lay down our lives in the name of defense of these Greek letters, whose meaning is enshrined in good messages but are constantly overshadowed by the actions of those who carry them?

It’s pure nepotism. Greek life is nepotism. Based only on name recognition. Plain and simple.  

And side note: I most certainly will not allow myself to be told by anyone what I can and cannot wear, post online or simply speak about.  

Having received an email at the start of the spring term asking if I would be interested in learning more about a certain sorority on campus, I’ll admit, I was intrigued. And yes I understand that many people received a similar email, but as it goes with anything, it’s nice to be asked and sought after. 

But I ignored the email.  

The many advantages of being involved in Greek life are not lost on me. Arriving on campus for the first time, feeling out of place, the welcoming sense of community is not one you want to initially discount. The opportunities for leadership are abound, and guidance available from older members, all wrapped up together in one neat-looking package could comfort anyone. And let’s not even mention the professional networking opportunities found not only in Des Moines but the rest of the country.  

Except that I am going to mention it.  

I do not want any person to accuse me later in life of only being where I am due to my affiliation with a specific organization. I want to be able to make my own name, not have it overshadowed by Greek symbols that are so often stained in truly awful occurrences. 

If you want to make connections, learn small talk. If you want to get an internship, talk with your advisor. If you want to make friends, go make them, don’t pay for the opportunity. 

To be clear, I am in no way accusing Drake University or the Greek life on campus of anything wrong. I only claim to say that maybe their time would be better spent participating in other events on campus instead of alienating themselves only within their own privately-selected sector.  

Like the British monarchy, the time of sororities and fraternities is coming to a close. It’s becoming less and less common that students want to be involved in them. Like any overbearing institution, they’ve grown a little bit too comfortable with their power. Remember, sovereignty is only as legitimate as we make it. 

Greek life, you can keep your secrets. I really don’t feel the need to be in the know.

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  • J

    John AgliataMar 10, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    One-third is a “pretty substantial majority?”

    Reply