To be Greek or not to be Greek at USD

By Taylor Washington
For many people striving to become a part of USD, it takes some time to learn the meanings behind the words Alpha Lambda Kappa Sigma Theta Omega Gamma Phi Chi Pi Beta Psi Delta. They become even more confusing when trying to decide between them.

However, before even choosing, many students wonder if becoming a part of Greek life is for them. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice, a different experience for everyone, and it comes with pros and cons. Upon asking a random sample of USD students their opinion on Greek Life and why they chose to rush or not to rush, the majority of them seemed eager to express their opinions. It seems that when it comes to this topic, few people are indifferent.

Kelly a junior and member of Kappa Kappa Gamma mentioned that while she was deciding to rush, she was drawn by the fact that she heard the sororities were not as intense as other schools where it consumes all aspects of life. Also, after rushing she realized that all of the negative connotations of the term “sorority girl” are insignificant compared to the positive aspects of being in Greek life, in that it brings people together and provides a support system.

Michael Tenerelli, a senior and member of Delta Tau Delta, mentioned how he was thankful for the semester break before rush as it allowed him to make a lot of friends who ended up outside of greek life or his specific fraternity. However, the biggest draw to Greek life for him was his ability to still participate in what he loves and the fact that it was a choice.

“I was and still am a member of the lacrosse team, but wanted to find a brotherhood outside of the team to expand my friends. The bonds made over the last four years are just as strong within the fraternity as within a team and that is something unique to Greek life that I don’t think anything outside of sports can boast,” Tenerelli said.

Valerie Teano, a sophomore and member of Alpha Phi, highlights that the social events are fun, but the relationships she has built are what she’s most thankful for.

“I have met a lot of awesome girls I would not have met if not for joining, as well as making great connections on and off campus. Anything I need from advice for a class I’m struggling with, finding a good nail salon, to getting a part-time job or internship is easy to find thanks to my sisters’ help,” Teano said.

Jake Leonard, a sophomore and member of Lambda Chi Alpha, says that the pros definitely outweigh the cons of being a part of Greek life.

“It is so much more than partying or paying for friends,” Leonard said. “The only negative is the poor image that media places on Greek life, and although there is a small amount of truth behind every stereotype, what is never noted is the history, fundraising, community service, leadership and success of chapters across the nation.”

This portion of the student body feels a strong connection to Greek life.

However, what about the people who chose not to become involved?

Sophomore Jamie Eddy chose not to rush her freshman year because she felt the need to focus on school, knowing she had the option of rushing the next year if she changed her mind. She now feels no desire to rush due to observing some of her friends who are in Greek life.

“It doesn’t hinder my ability to get to socialize or get to know new people,” Eddy said. “This school is already small enough, I don’t need people knowing too much about my personal life. People are very exposed in Greek life, where everyone knows what happened over the weekend.”

She preluded this statement mentioning that she’s not trying to offend sororities and that she realizes her statements are generalizations. She believes that it’s kind of nice not knowing as many people.

The first anonymous person I interviewed was not able to rush at first due to insufficient credits, and figured she could always participate next year. She was originally excited to join a sorority, but after hearing her Greek friends talk about their sororities, it makes her happy that she did not join.

“I do not have time nor do I have the desire to have more rules I have to follow. I want to have makeup-free days where I don’t have to worry about being seen by any sisters,” she said. “My non-Greek life has actually turned out really well. I do not think I would have time for the Greek meetings and events.”

Her advice for freshman is to be aware of how you feel as an individual, rather than going with the flow of the people around you. It’s easy to be pressured into the decision to rush because it seems as though everyone on campus is going Greek. Because of this, it’s hard for many students to express views against Greek life.

The other anonymous student I interviewed is a senior this year.

“I’m a naturally outgoing person and I can honestly say that [not being involved in Greek life] has taken nothing away from my experience here at USD,” she said. “My first year I was bummed at first that I couldn’t go to the dances, but every weekend I still saw all of my affiliated friends at the beach afterwards anyways. Many of my friends are in Greek life and I know that with everything else I’m involved in, I wouldn’t have time. Plus, it’s really nice not having my name attached with a reputation of a group of people who might not reflect who I am personally. When I introduce myself to people, there are no preconceived notions, I can purely be who I want to be.”

After examining both sides of the Greek/Non-Greek spectrum, it becomes clear that there are varying opinions on Greek life. Summarized, here are a few pros and cons to think about. The pros of Greek life include new friends and exposure to new people, a sense of belonging, an additional activity to add to your resume and fun weekends filled with events and service opportunities. The cons include spending a large amount of money on Greek events, automatically being associated with a group that may or may not accurately represent you and time commitments with mandatory meetings and events.

I believe that it should be possible to maintain your individuality, despite Greek life. If Greek life is going to change your core identity, then maybe a little soul searching should come first. As cheesy as it sounds, be who you are, despite whatever you are involved in on campus.