Greek-letter life is misunderstood

On behalf of the Interfraternity Council’s executive board, I would like to respond to Joshua Isard’s letter “University rules limit rushees’ choices.”

In his letter, Mr. Isard scratched the surface of a problematic situation. The issue of a one-week rush period has been a topic of debate for many years, and not just at The George Washington University. This letter is not the place for me to wax philosophic on the length of rush, but I would like to address some of the misconceptions of fraternity life that Mr. Isard has raised.

First of all, Mr. Isard should understand the IFC executive board enforces the rules that individual member-fraternities adopt. The IFC works as a democratic organization – its constitution and bylaws, which outline specific rules, are voted on and approved by the fraternities.

What Mr. Isard describes as “a firm thrashing from the Interfraternity Council,” is actually the IFC enforcing the high standards the individual fraternities have imposed on themselves. A fraternity that decides to violate those rules does so at its own risk.

Furthermore, Mr. Isard reveals a common stereotype many people have of what it means to be a member of the Greek-letter community. The social aspect of Greek-letter life is important, but individuals who are interested in rushing a fraternity should not judge a fraternity by its social presence on campus.

None of the fraternities at GW were founded on the values of partying or promoting illegal activities such as underage drinking. They all were founded on values such as integrity, honor, compassion and duty. The challenge for rushees is to determine which fraternities best demonstrate those values.

Finally, I would like to point out that freshmen and other interested individuals have had several opportunities to interact with the fraternities through activities sponsored by the IFC and the coordinator of Greek Affairs and Spirit Programs.

The IFC hosted several activities during Colonial Inauguration, sponsored the Annual Freshman Residence Hall Move-In and helped coordinate the Greek Welcome Week event held on the Quad.

The best opportunity, however, for non-Greeks to experience an aspect of Greek-letter life was the Greek Community Outreach Day. Freshmen were invited to help Greek-letter members provide valuable community service to D.C. neighborhoods. These activities symbolize the broad range of experiences one achieves through life in a fraternity, from social to philanthropic.

Once rush officially begins, rushees will have many opportunities to meet the members of individual fraternity chapters. But there has been ample time and opportunity for freshmen to develop an appreciation for Greek-letter life at GW.

In the future, I would recommend Mr. Isard speak with a member of the IFC executive board before making up his mind about aspects of Greek-letter life. His experience with the Greek-letter community has been exceptionally brief thus far, and I encourage him to investigate further his misgivings about our Greek-letter community at GW.

-The writer is president of the Interfraternity Council.

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