Greek Life, Greek Week

Kaitlyn Kocsis, Writer - The Reporter

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Within the college community, there is a specific group of people assumed to live within a bubble of stigmas.

I began this piece like I do all the rest — nothing like a hot cup of joe at 2:00 a.m. and an hour of mindless research to get the ball rolling. Well, when I typed “sorority girls” in my Google Chrome search bar, I was instead taken aback.

These are the chatty and high maintenance balls of energy often found in groups of nearly identical clones. Over time, they develop skills that allow them to simultaneously spew out their distinctive and primal pheromones in order to lure in the next hunky Ken doll. These are the muscles, the testosterone filled spigots looking for their next estrogen-enriched fix. This is what popular culture teaches us, from movies like the cult classic American Pie to the online haters on Urban Dictionary.

The beer pong and bass enriched music that most people associate with Greek life: reality or bullshit?

What is Greek life?

Most would agree that it is a culmination of tragically ironic misconceptions of how a specific group in a social hierarchy should interact within a stressful, college environment. Here at Stetson University, Greek life makes up a third of our population.

Personally, I used to think that Greek life was ridiculous, and I often condescended those who chose this lifestyle. I thought that every sorority girl had to represent the image of a beautiful and heterosexual Barbie. On social media, I only paid attention to the pictures of the smiling, bright eyed girls with hand signs shared between sisters on the glistening beaches. Sunny smiles during the day and short bodycon dresses paired with tall, blocky heels at night — this is the lifestyle that I thought every sorority girl lived, or at least the image they aspired to achieve. However, now that I find myself in a sorority, I can humbly recognize that these stereotypes do actually exist along with many other types of women that exemplify almost none of these attributes.

The real problem isn’t that these stereotypes exist, no. It’s the fact that according to society, being rich and beautiful must automatically make you a bad person. Sure, it can make you bitchy and/or ignorant, but coming from me — someone who isn’t wealthy– it’s important to at least respect the next girl who is. If I can find it in my heart to respect the girls who have to face these criticisms from a heavy set middle-class based society that ridicules her for the way she grew up or for who she simply is, then why can’t we all?

Lindsay Gerard from the University of Washington writes for The Odyssey saying, “I know we sorority girls are much more than a pretty face, but so often we find this stereotype stigmatized, as if being confident, beautiful, and happy is a bad thing,” and that “underneath our letters are many hearts full of dreams.” So now that we’ve addressed your prejudices, we can skip on forward to my next question.

What does this mean?

One point of view would say that it means that one out of three Hatters are dumb enough to waste their money on bought friendships and social events catered towards philanthropies most sisters or brothers know little or care very little about. The other might say that one out of three Hatters have chosen to affiliate themselves with a group of people who share common goals, values, and interests. Ultimately, however, this just means that before you make any quick judgments, maybe you can take the time to educate yourself by sitting down with a Greek affiliate and having a real conversation, because those in Greek life are real people, just like everyone else.

Interested in Greek life?

What you’ll find in Greek life is a minority group specifically catered to those who carry a strong urge to find group belonging and are looking for more excuses to get lit on a Thursday night. How does one accurately represent their sorority or fraternity amongst the plethora of social activities on campus?

  1. Most importantly, you need to organize yourself. Think of your priorities. Write down all of your class times and due dates for the next 3 weeks.

  2. Follow up by writing down your work schedule, or if you’re like me — your work schedules.

  3. Write down all Greek related events for the next 3 weeks you wish to attend.

  4. Take a look at all the windows you have left and fill in time to eat, sleep, and feed your cat. This will most likely be limited to 30 minute intervals that you will inevitably use instead for a 20 minute power nap.

  5. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Enjoy!

The Bigger Picture?

I was going to write this article about how Stetson’s Greek life is, from what I can tell as an initiated member myself, completely different than the life you might find or would expect at a larger institution. In most ways, Stetson’s Greek life is very healthy and is good at its overwhelming ability to successfully lay a foundation of positive support structures for those who seek it. However, over time I have found that this life is not as squeaky clean as our front door images might make it up to be. After Greek Week’s last minute cancellation and the results from Delta Sigma Phi’s Queen of the Nile philanthropy week, I was left with the feeling that maybe Stetson’s Greek community wasn’t as progressive as I first thought.

But let’s get real. Though it would be ignorant to deny the few exceptions, this one third of Stetson is far from the most prevalent stereotypes that have caused schools like Florida State University to completely turn its back on this community. For that, ladies and gentlemen, we can proudly wear our letters here amongst the mighty green and white.