Page 6 --The Michigan Daily-New Student Edition-University-Thursday, September 9, 1993
Divergent views abound on Greek scene
System has supporters and detractors among University students
by J.B. Akins
Daily Staff Reporter
You heard about it at Orientation. You might have heard about it from your
friends or siblings here at the University. Whatever you've heard so far is just the
beginning of many discussions you'll have at the "U" about becoming Greek.
The Greek System is one of the diverse aspects of the University that will offer
you many opportunities to get involved and learn more about yourself.
Twenty-five percent of the student body is involved in the Greek System and
as an incoming student, you will surely be confronted with that all-important
question, "Are you going to rush?"
Ask any student at the University and they will give you 10 reasons why they
did or did not rush or join a house.
"I rushed because I went to an all-girls high school and when I came here I
missed that group of close-knit girls," LSA junior Jennifer Holowka said.
Some students find long-lasting friendships in the Greek System.
"I got along well with the guys from Rush so I joined," Tau Kappa Epsilon
sophomoreEd Shin said. "I also liked the fact that everyday I could go to the house
and have 60 friends right there."
Delta Upsilon President Buckminster Farrow was interested in joining an
organization that promotes values.
"I wanted to join a close-knit group of people who were active on campus and
who care about values and principles that were more important than mine,"
Zeta Tau Alpha senior Melinda Campbell wanted to have the social life her
friends were enjoying.
'Two of my best friends joined sororities my freshman year and they loved it,
so I joined my sophomore year,"}2ampbell said. "Now some of my best friends
are my sisters."
Many students agreed there are advantages to being Greek. They also said the
negative aspects of the system, such as alcohol abuse, elitism and rape accusations
overshadow the benefits of the system.
"I think the Greek System is great for new students because of the great social
life," LSA senior JudithFlynn said. "But I also think it's exclusionary in that there
are houses known to be predominantly one race or another."
Many African-American students also find the system to be segregated and
instead join black fraternities and sororities. LSA junior DeJuan Woods, a black
student, would not join a predominantly white fraternity because of fear of
rejection by his friends.
"The Greek System alienates you from the rest of the student body," Woods
said. "Once you're in, it's hard to be accepted by the black community."
Sororities are believed to be too elitist for some students.
"I saw the sorority rush manual. All the women were wearing the same thing,"
LSA senior Michelle Byrd said. "That's too conformist for me, no one is going to
tell me what to wear."
Byrd also admits she and her friends frequent fraternity parties for free beer.
Many Greeks are stereotyped based on their membership. Some fraternities
and sororities are labeled as jock houses or Jewish houses. Because of this reason,
many students opt not to get involved.
"I didn't want to be tagged as something," LSA junior Heidi Reftke said. "I
didn't want to have to buy my friends and have people like me because we belong
to the same organization."
Phi Kappa Psi senior Bill Mott doesn't agree with the stereotypes.
"I think that's unfair," Mott said. "People judge houses based on only a few
Many students who are actively involved in their respective house activities
said they enjoy the benefits of being Greek. Hovever, some members deactivate
after finding out the system is just not right for them.
Recent LSA graduate, Tracey Niergarth deactivated from Alpha Xi Delta
because she did not like the system as a whole.
"I thought I'd give (Rush) a try. And after I joined, I found (the system) to be
too cliquish and exclusive," Niergarth said. "People don't look at people for who
they are, just by what house they're in."
Ex-Alpha Gamma Delta member B randi Brilhart also deactivated. She felt she
was buying her friends and wanted to spend her money on better things.
The cost of being a Greek can be expensive, thus making the system exclusive.
Some students said this is the reason they didn't rush or join a house.
Many Greeks agree the system as a whole has flaws. But many believe the
problem is due to how they are perceived by non-Greeks.
"The problem with the system now is that the public only sees what goes
wrong," Farrow said. "They don't see the community service projects we do, our
influence within the community and the opportunities we give students to grow
and develop as individuals."
"As philanthropy chair, I got to see another aspect of the Greek System," Theta
Chi junior Robert Jasak said. "We also help out charities by donating money."
Anyway you look at the Greek System, you likely will find good and bad.
Become informed and make the right decision.
A member of the University's Greek System competes during Greek Week.
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