Professor: “Did you just come from Bid Day?”
Me: “Yup! We did so well!”
Professor: “So you still pay for your friends?”
Bubble. Burst. Perhaps arriving late to my Middle Eastern politics class wrapped in letters and covered in silver glitter wasn’t the most unassuming of arrivals. While the sarcasm is something I’ve come to expect and even enjoy from political science professors, the words still stung.
I haven’t heard that particular line of reasoning since my freshman year. To me, it seems like the same shtick that’s been used as the battle line between Greeks and those we lovingly refer to as God Damn Independents since the fall of the Greek Empire.
As yet another record-breaking number of girls came out for formal recruitment last weekend, I once again donned the same whiter-than-white dress and sacrificed my voice and sanity for another recruitment weekend.
In 2002, about six years before I knew that the letters “∑-∆-T” didn’t just represent my favorite pastime, GW boasted a scrawny Greek life composed of a meager 670 women. As of last Tuesday, Greek life has nearly doubled. It now encompasses roughly 23 percent of the student body. The cause for the growth is unknown, but one thing is clear: The GW student body is experiencing a dramatic shift.
As a senior in a sorority who is also involved in other non-Greek activities, I pride myself on being a sorority girl who is well-rounded. Over the years, my closest friends in Greek life have always been the ones who kept one foot in a predominantly non-Greek world. I like to think a handful of us seniors represent that “Greek plus” contingent that keeps our organizations grounded by voting against declaring philanthropy weeks as campus-wide holidays.
As an old fart, I am beginning to think we’re losing our way.
“Go Greek,” the neon T-shirts say, but the two-word alliteration doesn’t even seem to be a question for students anymore. When one in five members of the undergraduate student body are now Greek, and countless student organization leaders rock some portion of the Greek alphabet, it seems to be the most suitable choice for many students.
Feeling wise and old beyond my years lately – think of a Greeked-out Gandalf the Great with more bedazzle – I continue to impart the same words of wisdom on potential new members of Greek life: Sororities and fraternities are great, but there is so much more to GW. As a proud sorority girl who falls into the patented sorority squat even while taking a picture with my club sports team, I worry that the future of this student body has more dividing lines than Joan Rivers’ face. In the coming years, I sincerely hope we don’t lose sight of the “Greek plus” principles I joined for.