Approximately 22 percent of this campus is Greek. That means that one out of every four or five people that you pass on a given day while walking to class is a member of a fraternity or sorority.
When you think about it, Greeks comprise a rather large contingent on this campus and play an integral role in the state of the university community as a whole. Greek organizations perform large-scale community service events, coordinate events open to the entire campus and provide the campus with a social backbone. More than enough students traipse out to the Fraternity Quad — or other fraternity parties — each weekend in hopes of finding a little fun at the end of another dreary week.
Despite the ubiquity of Greek life day-to-day, from the letters students wear to the paintings on the rock outside of Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls and in the tunnels, the individual voice of the Greek community seems to be grossly underrepresented in the UR community as a whole. In response, I introduce to you, the student body, this column, which will be printed regularly, intended to address issues that affect similarly both the Greek community and the university community as a whole and perhaps to help reduce the gap that seems to exist on this campus between the Greeks and the rest of the student body.
As a member of a Greek organization, this gap never seems greater to us than when an event that we hold for the campus is vastly under-attended by non-Greek students. Perhaps it is a lack of advertising — an inability of the Greeks to alert the campus of their upcoming events — that causes this dilemma, but based on the number of flyers for these events that I often see scattered across campus, I don’t think that this is the problem.
Perhaps this reticence to attend Greek-run events stems instead from a misconception of what the event will be like. Just hearing Greek letters associated with a program might conjure up images of “Animal House” and leave you wondering exactly what kind of event this really is. Each Greek group on campus is different and certainly different perceptions of each exist among the student body, but each group is equally capable of running a good event.
It may seem daunting to attend an event run by a brotherhood or a sisterhood, because it means that there will be 40-plus people there who all share a tight bond of friendship, 40-plus people who you might not typically associate with — and then there is you, left feeling like a potential outsider.
However, if you come by, you’ll find Greek groups are typically quite inviting, especially when holding a campus-wide event. We have more than enough internal events that we hold so we can hang out with each other. When a fraternity or sorority holds an open event or philanthropy, we are holding it for the campus, with the intent of getting you involved in things that we do.
That having been said, I encourage everyone to attend the multitude of events coming up this week alone.
Tonight, Thursday, Kappa Delta is hosting their annual philanthropy, the Shamrock Project — all proceeds go to Mt. Hope Family Center and Prevent Child Abuse America — featuring comedian Steve Hofstetter. Hofstetter is the author of the hilarious — I should know, I own a signed copy — humor book “Student Body Shots: A Sarcastic Look at the Best 4-6 Years of Your Life” and author of the collegehumor.com column “Observational Humor.” You can check out his work at collegehumor.com or at observationalhumor.com.
On Friday, Phi Sigma Sigma, Alpha Delta Phi, Chi Phi and the Pride Network are all sponsoring a party over at the ADF house with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. Each of these events are open to the entire campus and are bound to be fun.
In the future, this column will highlight upcoming events sponsored by Greek groups, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Look out for future articles addressing subjects affecting the Greek and university communities, such as the Greek response to help save D-Day — the annual tradition is under intense scrutiny from the administration and the Greek community has been asked to help make this day safer for the campus — and about the upcoming push from the administration to move fraternity rush for freshmen to the spring semester only.
Chesney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.