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Letter to the editor:
Every fall and spring, the posters break out of their hibernation with slogans such as “Go Greek,” “Meet the ‘Brothers,” “Meet the Sisters,” or “lifelong friendships.” Many students attend the dry, on-campus rushes with dreams of this eternal friendship and brotherhood. However, the process to get to know over 50 students in 5 days of rush is a tough one, especially for students whose tenure at Quinnipiac has not spanned a lengthy period of time. Most of the rushers are freshman, but some sophomores and the occasional junior attend the festivities.
However, only a select few will win bids, and in turn, a far better break socially, having an instant “clique,” or social circle, and will reap the fruits of this “lifelong friendship.” Attending the formals help them befriend and attract the opposite sex more efficiently, wearing eye-catching sweatshirts which scream their “social status,” and therefore are more likely to sit high and proud in the QU social hierarchy. Moreover, as the recent SGA election shows, Greeks are more likely to be high in student government. They will be seen around campus in events, as a “Sig Ep,” a “Theta,” a “Phi Sig,” an “Alpha Chi,” or a “Teke” person to boot, giving them an instant sense of belonging at Quinnipiac. Oh, did I mention the weekend parties instead of New Haven forays every Thursday and Saturday night?
Unfortunately, for the many who rush and fail to gain bids, the sting of rejection can be very cold, as the prospect of making many more lasting friendships becomes harder and harder. Not to mention their self esteem can be greatly subverted by not being one of the “brothers” or “sisters,” leading to feelings of inadequacy and a lack of confidence in themselves. With only two fraternities and three sororities on campus, over half who of people who would like to go Greek do not receive the opportunity to do so, which I feel is highly unfair. This contrasts greatly with most colleges with Greek institutions. Greek life should be inclusive, not exclusive, and should not exist to affirm one’s social status, but to indeed be home to “true brothers or sisters,” social opportunities, lifelong friendships and fun. Most schools similar in size to Quinnipiac, such as Lehigh University, for example, which has 30 Greek organizations, or Villanova, which has 18, have far more than 5 Greek organizations. This translates into a total of 36 percent and 20 percent of all students at these two universities in Greek life respectively, compared to 2.5 percent at QU. One must also factor in that not everyone rushes. Clearly, one has a better ability to rush with the intention of meeting new people, rather than to rush with the intention of affirming social status and the requisite of being “popular,” as is done here at Quinnipiac.
I believe a Greek organization should be able to have any criteria it so desires, but I do not believe the Greek scene should be so exclusive that only half of the actual rushers ever get to don the letters. I’ve talked to people in administration, one of whom said the school doesn’t want Greek life anymore. They say “there are so many activities” on campus that meeting people shouldn’t require the ancient letters alpha through omega. Unfortunately, such a retort does not sit well with me. The many other clubs and organizations are great to meet a few new people, but they do not help form as strong social circles as Greek organizations do. The lack of more Greek options, I feel, is what fosters the ultra-exclusivity and thus the rigorous, and sometimes shallow criteria to be in one. This results the exclusion of many amiable, intelligent, and able people from ever achieving their social goals, which can affect mood, self esteem, or academic performance. It also increases the gradient of the social hierarchy, a trait which is not good for any campus.
It is my firm belief, that should Quinnipiac continue to lack in Greek options, discontent with the system will continue. Many will ridicule the system and consider it as “paying for friends,” which in many cases is actually jealousy of the brotherhoods and sisterhoods. Moreover, more Greek life would increase desire to be in them, which could be highly enriching for the Quinnipiac social community. Such a move could dramatically boost school spirit. Contrary to the movie “Animal House,” Greek life generally does not include motorcycle rides up staircases, kegs flying out windows, or crashing parades. Rather it involves philanthropy, friendship, and a sense of belonging. For these reasons, I advocate Quinnipiac adding more fraternities and sororities to the social scene, because New Haven gets old, campus can get boring on the weekends, and above all, this step will decrease the steepness of the hierarchy and greatly increase the sense of inclusiveness of this campus.