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College students have created a division between people involved in Greek life and students who are not. Despite the unifying feature that we all go to the University of Colorado Boulder, students continue to succumb to stigmas that divide the school community.
The separation goes far enough to classify the groups into “Greeks” and non-affiliated students, or “GDIs.” Despite the ridiculousness of referring to someone as a “GDI,” most everyone on a college campus understands what this is and either embraces the title or looks down upon it.
College students seem to be missing the point of college — to further your education alongside both like-minded and diverse individuals. If we allow ourselves to only associate with either the 13 percent who are Greek or the 87 percent who are not, we hinder the breadth of our social networks. Separations go further with the various Greek houses that rival each other or various clubs or social groups. There are so many divisions of social groups that diminish your opportunity to meet other students.
Our instinctual human desire of belonging to a social group actually creates barriers that seem to be an unavoidable aspect of college life. However, the pride of non-Greek members in refusing to define themselves with a house and the superiority that Greek members assume over non-affiliates prevents friendships and hinders overall campus unity.
The two sides alienate each other based on the stereotypes of the groups that our environment perpetuates. One of the common assumptions students place on members of Greek life is that you’re paying to be a robot for your organization. Although unaffiliated students know wild parties and exclusive events come with the price of joining a house, they see this as a sign of weakness because you are supposedly paying for friends or a sense of belonging.
The counterargument to this is the genuine life-long bonds you can make through a fraternity or sorority. This benefit is often overshadowed by the negative reputation Greek life has because of incidents of hazing, illegal substance use and underage drinking. It’s easy to develop these connotations when it’s all people talk about in reference to Greek life, when really, we should focus on the sense of belonging that being a part of a house gives you. This feeling of inclusion among peers of the same values and interests is the same reason why non-Greek students join clubs.
The nature of the groups to automatically scorn each other discourages students from getting involved in the Greek community or other groups despite the support that social clubs and organizations provide. These are helpful resources for most students in easing the adjustment into college.
The gap between Greeks and unaffiliated students is only widening as Greek presence on our campus increases. This will only lead to a larger gap in our student population and more egotism around student’s affiliations.
Both Greek students and unaffiliated students write people off simply because of their association, despite never even talking to a student from the other group. I understand the importance of becoming involved in a larger organization while transitioning into college, but that shouldn’t be the definitive factor when forming your social circle. Being a CU Buff should be enough to connect us because there are amazing students in sororities and fraternities as well as those who are involved in other groups outside of Greek life.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Carlisle Olsen at firstname.lastname@example.org.