Whether or not you are affiliated at Denison, you are familiar with greek life. It’s a pervasive subculture on campus, as it is with any college. I should start this by saying that I am involved with greek life at Denison as a member of Delta Gamma. Recruitment has just ended, a week full of two or more hours a night spent at the house, not eating a full meal for four nights in a row, and lack of sleep. The process is exciting, but grueling for both members and PNMs (potential new members). Now that things are winding down, I wanted to talk about greek life and what it has given me versus the aspects that can potentially dissuade people from joining, and how important widespread empathy and welcomeness is on a small college campus.
During the first semester of my freshman year, I did not want to go through recruitment. I didn’t think I was a typical ‘sorority girl’, and my high school self had engrained all of the stereotypes that came along with that image into my brain and I promised myself that I would never participate. Going into my second semester, I had made more upperclassmen friends, some who were affiliated with sororities on campus. I saw that none of these women were like the other: they all had different majors, different passions, and different qualities that made them uniquely themselves. I spoke to some of them about my insecurities and doubts about going through the process, and learned that though recruitment is a potential birthplace for stress, anxiety, and the outcome being different than what you wanted, all of the women I talked to had found something great in their sorority: a community of supportive and loving women.
This is what drew me to go through recruitment, and eventually what drew me to join Delta Gamma. The sorority, while intimidating and difficult to acclimate to in the beginning, has given me my best friends on campus. They are smart, driven, intellectual women who are not afraid to be themselves. They have shown me unconditional love and support. For that, I am grateful to DG.
This does not mean that sororities (and fraternities) are all good. There are flaws in every system and group in a culture, and Denison’s greek life is no exception to this. There are many reasons why a woman might not want to join a sorority, and all of them are valid. While sororities do a good job of supporting the women who are involved, more work needs to be done on affiliated women’s ends to extend friendship and empathy to all women on this campus, for that is what it means to be an unselfish supporter. When you’re not in a sorority, it’s easy to feel excluded from these groups. And it is just as easy for women to become so absorbed within their sorority that they forget others potentially feel ostracized. So, my question to fellow affiliated women is this: what could you be doing better? Are you extending friendship to every woman, or just your sisters? While being in a sorority can be a great thing, it’s important that we stay mindful that we aren’t harming others in the process. The world needs more kindness, this campus needs more kindness, and everyone who is a part of the subculture that is Greek life has the power to become a more mindful, welcoming, aware and accepting individual.