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?