For more than half of a century, Greek organizations have existed at TCU. Since 1955, these groups have been here to facilitate the school’s social happenings. They provide a safe haven for students who feel an urgency to get involved and meet people. They give students a sure route to making friendships and being a part of a group. Unfortunately, they can also generate a sense of exclusion and alienation in students who decide that it is not for them.
Greek life, encompassing nearly half of our student body, is a huge part of the social scene. As stated by collegeprowler.com, “With 28 Greek organizations and nearly 40 percent of students involved in Greek life, fraternities and sororities definitely stake their claim at TCU.”
Many students would argue that Greek is the only way to go. I beg to differ. Although it may be too soon to tell, I have not at all regretted my decision not to rush this year. I understand that fraternities are a great way to meet people, providing an incessant flow of social events. I simply cannot understand the desperate need some students display to be a part these organizations.
For many of my fellow incoming students this year, rushing was a given. A record group of 797 women went through the sorority recruitment process this year, 708 of which were freshmen. With only about 1,100 women in this year’s freshman class, this means that over 60% of them decided to rush. Many seemed to believe that becoming part of a sorority was their only option. For this group, remaining independent would be absolutely absurd.
I find this mindset ridiculous and, frankly, sad. It breeds dependence and the clique mentality that we all hoped to be free from when we left high school. College freshmen should feel welcome at their new school no matter what they decide to do. Looking at the numbers, I am forced to conclude that these students feel as if they cannot survive socially without paying their dues to a fraternity or sorority. I mean literally paying.
Greek life is not free. There is no going rate, but of the eight pledges I spoke to the average cost was about $1300 per semester. Personally, I cannot imagine paying that much money for a few more friends and guaranteed entrance to a few parties.
Terms like “GDI” (God D*mn Independent) perpetuate the jingoism that seems to be a chief theme of TCU’s Greek system, making independent students feel abnormal and rejected. Being a “GDI” is fine with me if the alternative is being a GDD (God D*mn Dependent). I feel that this term is not only appropriate but also deserved. I wish to be taken for what I am, not considered a representation of a faction, regardless of its status. I would also rather not be discriminated against for deciding not to get involved in Greek life.
I recently spoke to a student who was forced to leave a party because he was not in the hosting fraternity. A member treated him extremely disrespectfully, physically threatening him and yelling at him to get out. I can honestly say that I think less of that fraternity as a whole and each of its members because of that one rude, immature person’s actions.
That being said, I know that I must reserve judgment and try not to generalize or make assumptions about Greek students. I know quite a few genuinely respectable, pleasant people who are in these groups. They feel no entitlement or superiority over students who choose not to participate. One freshman pledge, when asked how he felt toward independent students, said that “most of them are respectable and don’t join for the right reasons.”
Of course, I have only been here for a few weeks. Maybe I should refrain from jumping to conclusions. Maybe I will completely change my perspective. By the end of the month I could be wearing Sperrys and those little things that let you wear sunglasses around your neck all day. Somehow, however, I doubt it.
Dylan Bagnasco is a freshman biology (pre-med) major from Waco.