Opinion: Stand Up to Harvard

By: Ellie Greeneberger 

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and kept reading instagram stories about #standuptoharvard. If we are being honest, finals week has made me a little bit closed off to the world outside projects, papers and tests. This morning as I couldn’t asleep, I googled it. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Harvard issued a rule stating that students who join single gender clubs cannot lead campus groups or be captains of sports teams. Sororities and Fraternities are attempting to sue Harvard for such a ruling.

 

I make my statement as a person whose life has been greatly impacted by my sorority, and not as a reflection of Delta Gamma’s nationals official position or Her Campus. I also make it without going into depth on the legality of it, but simply my own opinion.

 

As a sorority woman in Mississippi, there are a lot of stereotypes set upon each woman that decides to go Greek, some true and some not.

 

I’ve been called basic, shallow, a party-girl and mean. I’ve been told I obviously don’t care about grades and that I must have no ambition in life. I’m sure that there are many things that people say too that I don’t hear.

 

I came into my sorority wanting friends. That’s all. It wasn’t about the parties. It was all about meeting people and finding my group on a big campus.

 

I found that. I know other women in other sororities who found that too. But I’ve also found so much more. I’ve found people that challenge my beliefs and teach me how to deal with problems and make me think about things that I never would have before. I found people that bring me an immense amount of joy in my life and make me smile when I’m upset. I’ve found people that I can have an honest conversation with about the things that are hard such as depression and anxiety. I’ve found women who are there for me even when I’m hard to be there for. I have found women who have pushed me into positions of leadership when I needed their encouragement.

 

I have never been around another group that encourages people more to be engaged on campus.

 

If we are being honest, it was my friend in my sorority who encouraged me to apply to be a Her Campus CC.

 

And that is really where I have a problem with Harvard’s new rule. Not only am I a sorority woman who has been encouraged to hold different positions but I also graduated from a single gender high school.

Yep, I went to an all girls school. It was a place where I learned to be comfortable in my own skin. To feel confident speaking out. To have courage to talk about things that people weren’t talking about.

 

For me, Harvard taking away a chance for members of single gender associations means they don’t understand the point of them and in addition, will loose a mass of voices and leaders that could be vital in making change.

 

You don’t have to be for Greek life. I understand why some people aren’t.  

 

People say recruitment is harsh, and it’s true but I can assure you that the amount of time we spend on people coming through will be more time than your future potential employer looks at your resume when it comes through in a big stack.

 

People say that we party a lot, but I know plenty of people that don’t party in a sorority and plenty of people that do outside of Greek life.

 

Some people say hazing is an issue, and it is. A huge one. But you see people working all around the country trying to rectify that problem.

 

No organization is free of its issues as they are made up of people and people aren’t free of their issues. There are some things that I wish would change about Greek life, about my own sorority. There are days when I ask “is it worth it?” But every time the answer is yes.

 

The reason I feel it necessary to share my voice is because I couldn’t do the things that I do without my sorority. Without them I would be wholly unprepared to lead.

 

Personally, I am against Harvard’s ruling. Mainly because their rule would still apply to me if I wasn’t in my sorority. Because if it wasn’t for the single gender organizations in my life from my all girls high school to my sorority, then I wouldn’t have the tools necessary to lead campus groups or be the captain of a sports team anyway. To not be able to be those things is a shame, to take away those tools is worse. So if I had to make the choice, I’m sticking with my sorority.

 

Also would love to make a shout out to Delta Gamma’s male initiate George Banta in moments like these!!!