On Monday, I, along with hundreds of other sorority women on campus, donned a white V-neck shirt emblazoned with the slogan, “Add a Chapter to your Story.”
This shirt was supposed to be a symbol of unity in Greek life during one of the most stressful times of the year. I’m not talking about midterms or finals, but rather GW’s own version of “The Hunger Games” – Greek recruitment.
Hundreds of freshmen look to Greek life every year to help them find their home on campus. Last year, that’s exactly what I did. I painstakingly chose outfits, endured nights of nerve-wracking conversations and anxiously waited to find my place in the Greek community.
But what I didn’t realize then was everything happening behind the scenes.
It’s not surprising that members of Greek life are competitive at this time of year, with each chapter vying for the best recruits. But unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, this rivalry often spirals into gossip and trash-talking.
With the growing popularity of websites and apps such as Greekrank and Yik Yak, which enable members to anonymously post rumors and comments about their peers, the viciously competitive vein in Greek life communities across the country is more noticeable than ever before.
For example, several weeks ago, Tri Delta members at Louisiana State University wrote a song that slammed every other sorority on their campus. Someone anonymously posted the song to Greekrank, and it went viral.
LSU administrators have said they will take no disciplinary action against the sorority. The university’s director of Greek life, Angela Guillory, told LSU’s student newspaper that disciplinary action was unnecessary because “People already know that this is in poor taste.”
That school may have chosen not to take action, but we can’t assume the same would happen at GW in a similar situation. I would hate to see the University intervene in recruitment because of a headline-making scandal like LSU’s.
Individual chapters as well as the Panhellenic Association and the Interfraternity Council are trying to unite GW’s Greek community through joint recruitment workshops and social events that bring together members of different chapters. For example, Kappa Delta held an ice cream social Wednesday in Kogan Plaza with other chapters to celebrate International Women’s Friendship Month.
But superficial efforts like these, where the only goal is to show that Greek organizations are able to play nice in public, aren’t enough. Only a change in attitude among the Greek community can curtail the ill will among chapters at this time of year.
To my fellow members of Greek life: Don’t let the pettiness make you forget the values of our organizations. Don’t stereotype an entire chapter based on one person who is a member. Don’t put down other groups in the hopes that it will make more students choose your chapter. After all, you want someone to choose you because he or she truly wants to, not because it’s the least-defamed option.
It is time for the GW Greek community to remember the principles on which their chapters are based. Because, at their cores, each organization on campus has the same values: integrity, community and leadership.
Rachel Furlow, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a member of Phi Sigma Sigma and a Hatchet opinions writer.