Greek Life: Letter-less Loser or Superficial Student?

Posted: October 23, 2011 by jerkmag in ZONE -- syracuse
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

After being on campus for only a couple months, it is clear to me, a freshman, who runs Syracuse University. But, then again, it’d be just as clear to a detached and completely uninterested bystander because it’s that obnoxiously apparent. It’s not the world-class professors, the generous alumni, the smarty-pants Newhouse students, or even the famous Division I athletes. Instead, it’s the “sisters” and “brothers” of the school.

Those who participate in Greek life here at Syracuse are at the top of the totem pole, and they are not discrete in proving this. Walking through the SU campus is like taking a lap around the “It’s a Small World After All” Disneyland ride, our student body is just that diverse. There is, however, one thread of commonality that’s visible on the ‘Cuse campus–an aspect of college culture, made obvious by its loyal society members: letters.

Big, flashy, printed, sneering letters–in Greek, of course. These letters of the Ancient Greek alphabet are used to mark the dozens of different fraternities and sororities here in the 315, and are seemingly everywhere on campus. They are staring you in the face as you make your way to class or grab a bite to eat, a brutal, stuck-up and unfair reminder that whoever has those letters plastered on his or her chest is part of an elite association that you are not a part of.

They wear them proudly, and, if they belong to the sororities that think the letters are not obvious enough without being cheetah, neon and sequined, act as if they are the only accessory necessary for a Greek life member. These letters walk around this private school like the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt would their kingdom–above the rest, the best of the best. Who or what gives these students the right to be so vain? Well we, their peers do, of course. We beg for entry into their nightly sticky, sweaty, smelly parties, and endure alcohol poisoning, self-esteem deterioration and six weeks of insomniac Hell to be a part of their little club. But why?

Because they are the richest, or prettiest, or “in-est” on campus? Whether or not that’s even true, Greek members seem to think so, as do most other students. It’s sad that at such a big school with so much talent, fame and, frankly, fortune, determine whether or not you’re Greek or geek. Maybe to break this superficial stereotype we should look not at what the sweatshirt says, but who’s wearing it and focus less on the letter-embellished tote and more on who’s carrying it. Are these Greek gods and goddesses the worthy upper class of such a prominent university, or have we all fallen victim to their rhetoric-rooted ways of persuading those considered beneath them?

What do you think?

-Deanna Viel

  1. Brittnee says:

    The only people who think Greeks are Gods, are Greeks.
    And, maybe you.


  2. Not Greek says:

    You bring up a couple of valid points, but, it is also to note that you are referring to a very specific type of Greek. There are a BUNCH of orgs on campus and not all are regarded in the same way. There’s a big difference between the orgs that are professional, academic, social, service oriented… and an even bigger difference between the different councils (Panhel, IFC, NPHC, NALFO, MGC). I agree that the orgs with the biggest chapters (coincidentally, the ones with actual houses) are highly visible and unfortunately, in some way or another, support the Greek stereotype. An even bigger question to consider is: Do people go Greek to seem more visible on campus (potentially raise awareness for their org & its cause, stand as a shining example and exude strong leadership qualities) or are they more visible on campus purely because they are Greek?

    Membership, the feeling of belonging, seems to be big on the campus… But you, by no means, HAVE to go Greek to get shit done.

    Seriously though, what do the Panhel/IFC organizations DO on campus aside from throw parties and fundraise for their causes once or twice a year?

  3. Brysan Brown says:

    I agree with some of your points, but you should take your own advice and look at the individual person. I am not a big fan of Greek life on this campus and what it often represents, but I always remind myself that I need to judge that person on their own merits not the organization they may or may not belong to.

  4. Julianna says:

    I think this article is a little bit unfair, as you clearly have a bias and deep rooted dislike for those in the greek community. The way I see it, if you’re proud of something you’re a part of, whether it be a sorority, fraternity, marching band, jerk magazine, theatre, or what have you — and you have some kind of way to show it, by all means — do it. You make all members of greek life out to be these super-humans walking across campus. I think you need to spend a little bit of time getting to know people in all kinds of organizations before you write something that gives into a negative stereotype. I’m sure you’re a great girl, and you ARE a great writer, but this article is simply unfair.

  5. Haley Schluter- Author says:

    This piece is simply an exaggeration. It is intended to be a satirical piece, and is obviously entirely a hyperbole. This is one way to look at Greek life here, but is in no way exactly how I feel. I am in Danceworks with ALOT of girls in sororities who are all nice, wonderful girls. This article was written simply because I have a sarcastic voice i writing, and I do actually like to “snub the status quo” as the Jerk editor put it. I don’t feel I need to defend myself at all, I just want to be clear this is not my exact thoughts and feelings on Greek life participators, its just a sarcastic viewpoint!

  6. Tim says:

    It doesn’t come across as a satirical piece, but more so exactly how you feel, under the cover of having to write something satirical to meet a deadline for a snarky blog. If it isn’t how you’re feeling, don’t write it.

  7. Omar says:

    I think you are just mad cause you havent joined greek life yet…