Greeks vs. non-Greeks

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I’ll admit the only reason I went through sorority Recruitment in fall 2004 was because my mother wisely suggested it. I had no intention of joining a greek house, but I went through Recruitment intending to make some new friends before the school year started.

I came in with some horribly stereotypical images of what greek life was like. Fortunately, the greek community at K-State does not reflect all of the negative stereotypes that might exist at other universities. One exhausting but successful week later, however, I found myself a part of the greek community.

Members of sororities have the best of both worlds, because the majority of them live in the residence halls their freshman year and then can choose to live in their respective greek houses for the following years. I made quite a few friends with other greeks and non-greeks during my freshman year and participated in activities with both. There really isn’t a rift between greeks and non-greeks; we like to mingle.

Contrary to popular belief, joining a greek house is not akin to “buying your friends.” My greek experience at K-State has been voluntary, fun and less expensive than living on campus.

According to K-State’s costs analysis, students living in the residence halls, even with the cheapest 10-meal plan, pay $5,772 for an academic year on the Manhattan campus. Living in a fraternity costs, on average, about $4,500 for the academic year, plus a one-time initiation fee that runs about $370, depending on the chapter. Put those two numbers together and in-house fraternity members pay only $4,870 per academic year. If they live-in during their sophomore through senior years, they pay even less for those academic years.

Sorority members, for their freshman year, pay dues on average of $545 per semester while living in residence halls. Including the payment of a one-time building fund fee and intiation fee, they pay an average of $4,860. Even if the freshman year out-of-house dues are added to the in-house costs, sorority members pay only $5,605, and the price drops below $5,000 if they live in-house their junior and senior years.

Beyond the numbers, the experience is the most important aspect of greek life. Living in the residence halls can make it tempting for some who are timid or shy, as I had been, to stay in their rooms and remain disconnected from campus life. The close friends made in the greek system are made for life. The men or women who live in your house know you and know you well enough to say more than just “hi” in the hallway.

In my sorority, everyone’s doors are usually always open, and everyone welcomes visitors to watch a movie, study, vent or just relax. The men or women in your house will know more than just your name and major, and they care about you. I’ve had many experiences of being treated to Call Hall ice cream or Dara’s soda by someone in the house who’d been thinking about me or knew I was having a rough week.

Greek life doesn’t just allow for some opportunities to make friends and get involved on campus and in the community, but it immerses members in them. There are many greeks who are volunteers, leaders on campus, members of SGA, the Collegian, and even work at the residence hall dining centers. Being greek also facilitates a connection with members of other chapters on other campuses and networks you with alumni of your fraternity or sorority at K-State and nationwide.

Not everyone will find greek life appealing, but you’ll never know for yourself until you give recruitment a try. The worst that can happen? You’ll make some really great friends in the process.

Christina Forsberg is a junior in economics and English literature. Please send comments to opinion@spub.ksu.edu.

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