By EDITORAL BOARD
Editor’s Note: The Editorial Board of the Cento is composed of members of the staff and does not reflect the opinions of any one individual on the staff. The Editorial Board represents the voice of the Cento.
At Centre, the Greek system has a rich history and presence with almost exactly 50 percent of the student body participating in the Greek system. With a campus split nearly down the middle in terms of participation, this leads to a great deal of scrutiny about the place of the Greek system and how it functions. It is not uncommon to hear students on one side of the system complain or critique the attitudes of the other side.
With this in mind the Editorial Board would like to present an unbiased examination of perspectives on the Greek system, taking into account the opinions of those who are affiliated with the system and those who are considered to be Independent.
In doing so, we hope to present a clearer picture for everyone on the many differing perspectives that will broaden the conversation and elucidate the facets of both sides for their respective decisions.
For some of the Independent population the Greek system can seem like a damaged one. In some cases it can appear like the system only posesses exclusive friend groups with forced philanthropic events that divide the campus.
Independents sometimes view the friend groups formed inside the Greek system as exclusive, causing an unnecessay division in campus life. It is difficult to create and sustain friendships when a large portion of Greek members’ time is automatically dedicated towards one group. This issue becomes even stickier when these groups create socially exclusive events for their own members, further isolating the Independent population. Many Independents view dues as “paying for friends.” While this might be an unfair judgment, parties and friendships exist on campus without a required fee.
However, if you do not pay the fee to be in a Greek organization, exclusion from specific events can occur. Social life can sometimes be restricted to those who do not join Greek organizations, as they are excluded from solely Greek events. Parties can also be difficult territory.
Despite the fact that many fraternity parties are open to the majority of campus, the men involved in the fraternity are in control; it is their house with their music and their rules. Due to this the behavior within the houses is also primarily dictated by the fraternity.
Another issue that has recently come into question is the problem of vandalism. Many argue that the vandalism rate increases on nights when fraternity parties are held.
A large portion of being involved in a Greek organization includes work for a particular philanthropy.Independents also criticize the philanthropic events advertised by the Greek system.
Many feel that the only difference between the Greek philanthropy events and the events that happen outside of the Greek system is that the Greek events receive more PR. There are service groups outside of the Greek System like Centre Action Reaches Everyone (CARE) and Bonner who do their own service activities, though they fly largely under the radar.
It is also often been argued that philanthropy would occur on campus without Greek influence and that forcing members to complete service hours takes away some of the meaning and benefit behind the service.
One of the more subtle points that Independents tend to make is the difficulty that comes with trying to compete for leadership positions on campus as well. SGA provides an example in which the majority of the members are affiliated with a fraternity or a sorority.
The Greek system can act as a built-in voter base that can dramatically swing an election in favor of a fraternity or sorority member; having an extra fifty or more votes never hurts. Independents state that it is more difficult to compete on an equal playing field with the Greek members because they do not retain an immediate and large voting pool.
In this way, the existence of the Greek system can shut out the Independent population from holding and maintaining some of these leadership positions.
In conclusion for many Independents, Greek life is an American thing, largely unfound in other regions of the globe. Universities and places of higher education get along just fine in these places, so do we really need it?
For the Greek organizations on campus, the system that offers the campus many opportunities and advantages including powerful friendships, regular community service, a chance to develop leadership, and host campus-wide social events.
One of the main purposes for the social Greek system is to provide a strong brotherhood or sisterhood based on friendship. Fraternities and sororities state that their respective organizations provide a firm foundation for social networking, not only for campus life but also on a regional and even a national scale.
These connections not only forge long-lasting friendships of support for fellow brothers and sisters on campus, but also create a national network to help members secure jobs after graduating. Greeks claim that the relationships between brothers and sisters are different than simple friendship.
Dues, for the Greeks, are not seen as a means to purchase friends. Instead, they see it as a contribution toward the strong foundation of brotherhood or sisterhood that will last far beyond their time at Centre and serve more than just themselves.
Dues go to organizing and hosting social events such as formals and philanthropic events, budgeting, and maintaining the houses and property used by the organization.
For Greeks, the argument is that Greek organizations’ funding and larger network of people permits them to organize and host larger and more frequent philanthropic events. Also, fraternity and sorority members are generally required to complete a certain number of service hours. This ensures that service to the community and philanthropies is being performed constantly.
Several Greeks argue that being in a Greek organization provides an extra layer of motivation to serve more regularly. This regular service helps create close relationships with community and philanthropic organizations, creating the opportunity for bigger and better service events.
The Greek activities and parties on campus offer the same consistent relationship with the student body. Fraternities host parties that are usually available to the entire campus, and see that as a service that they enjoy providing to the campus. All fraternity parties are required to have sober monitors who keep an eye out for anyone who is dangerously drunk or is causing disturbances. Greeks also have people working the doors, keeping out anyone who appears too drunk or who looks like they do not attend Centre. These all come together to create a safe and fun party environment that is generally open to the entire campus.
Their funding and networking allow them to host larger, more dynamic social activities that can include more people than Independents could achieve. Greeks also argue that vandalism and disturbances that occur because of parties or drunken behavior cannot be pinned solely on them. Parties will happen in a college environment and often do in dorms across campus. There will always be parties regardless of the Greeks’ presence on campus, and fraternities see themselves as a facilitator for a safe, controlled party culture on Centre’s campus.
Greeks also host many other social events beside fraternity parties. While some social activities are intra-organizational, many welcome the entire campus to participate. Sororities host events such as DHOP and Piesta, which are not only fun social events hosted for the entire campus, but also serve a philanthropic purpose as well.
Greeks state that their programs are responsible for creating many of the leaders on campus. Several organizations mention creating future leaders in their mission statements, and Greek members are constantly pushing encouraging their respective members to take roles of leadership and become an active participant in society.
The idea of driving your fellow brother/sister to achieve their potential is something organizations hold dear.
The increased opportunities for leadership roles in Greek and inter-Greek organizations provides members with more leadership experience, making them attractive candidates in campus-wide elections.
Several fraternities and sororities provide special programs designed to help members improve leadership skills. These aspects of leadership make Greek life much more attractive to potential leaders.
The purpose of the Greek community is not to be elitist or exclusive, but rather to improve the lives of its members and its community through social and philanthropic events.
In conclusion the Editorial Board merely wishes to present these two perspectives that are often unheard by the opposing sides so that Greeks and Independents can see the thought process of the other side.
The Editorial Board itself contains exactly 50 percent Greek-affiliated members and 50 percent Independent members. With this in mind, know that we are not advocating a push for or against Greek life on this campus.