Tag Archive: fraternity

Greek blog fire photo

As a Carolina blue fire truck pulled into Fraternity Court Wednesday morning, 22 members of UNC’s Greek community stood bleary-eyed in the misty rain.  There was no fire to extinguish — only a photograph taken of UNC Greeks getting ready to ride to Washington, D.C.

As a participant in the program From Chapel Hill to Capitol Hill, I was in that photograph.  Sponsored by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, this program packed a group of motivated Greeks onto a charter bus and headed to D.C.  Our mission: to convince representatives and senators to support two bills for fire safety on college campuses.

Our trip was part of Campus Fire Safety Month on Capitol Hill.  Phi Gamma Delta recruited support from all the Greek houses on campus to make this trip in honor of the lives lost in a fire at their house in 1996.  We joined the cosponsors from the Ohio Fire Safety Coalition and parents that lost children in fires to represent students across the country faced with the threat or consequences of fires on and around college campuses.

On Thursday morning our day of lobbying began with a short press conference and photos on the Capitol steps, where we hoped to make a difference.  Thirteen groups headed to meetings in the offices of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

My group met with staffers from offices from Ohio, Florida and Maryland.  The staffers are the people who study all the bills that go through Congress and advise their respective representatives or senators how they ought to vote or what they should support.

It was surprising that these staffers, who were genuinely interested in what we had to say about fire safety, were only about 25 years old.  Our country is run by people only a few years older than the students who were lobbying for fire safety bills.

Taking full advantage of this unique opportunity, my group went to the basement of the offices and took the “members only” subway and trams to get from building to building beneath the Capitol.  We also got tickets to view the sessions of the House and Senate and saw John Kerry, John McCain and N.C. Sen. Kay Hagan at work voting.  After our meetings, we met Rep. David Price, who represents my district.  I was fortunate enough to have a chance to take a picture with the man I voted for!

This was an incredible experience.   I learned about fire safety, understood more about how laws are created and discovered that our senators and representatives really care about what their constituents want.  With enough time and persistence, we will have influenced the laws that govern this country and we’ll have made campuses safer for students.

The voices and presence of these UNC Greeks in D.C. influenced the future of our country this week.  I can’t wait to go back next year to continue to be a part of something that really makes a difference.

-Megan Cassell

The not so glamorous Greek Life

I hear sorority and I think martini glasses, pearls, headbands and polo sweaters. I hear fraternity and I think kegs, The North Face gear, Croakies and those really funny looking shoes that I just learned the name of: Wallabees.

I apologize, but these are stereotypes that I just cannot move past.

Though I always knew being a sorority girl just wasn’t for me, I decided to be open-minded that first week at Carolina when the sororities were advertising themselves in the Pit. Suddenly, I found myself seriously considering the pros and cons of “rushing,” of “pledging,” of joining a… sisterhood?

While “rushing” may give you an opportunity to meet and socialize with people who are looking for the same thing, you have to wonder what it is these potential candidates are really looking for.

At first, the answer seems obvious. Everyone’s looking for some friends to kick it with. However, in Greek life, you aren’t just hanging out with your 30 new friends, you’re also sleeping in the same house, eating from the same kitchen, studying with the same people, attending the same cocktails… and the list goes on.

This is not to say that you can’t have friends outside of your sorority, but really, how often does that happen? Most sorority girls can attest to this: your friends outside of your sorority are either in a different sorority or they are thinking of pledging to your sorority or you know them from high school.

Now, to discuss the rushing process. I am quite aware this may be an oversimplification, but this is just my opinion after all. You walk from one sorority house to another, meeting and mingling and getting sized up by the house’s members. They make snap judgments about your appearance that are apparently synonymous with your personality. The rare sorority member may take a little extra time to get to know you (because of family ties, friend ties or money ties), and then they will decide, essentially, whether or not they want to be your “sister.”

Then, you receive bids… similar to how houses, cattle and antique objects are bid on… and then you choose (if you are given a choice) which house you want to join. Every house on campus has a certain reputation, and you are chosen by that house to uphold that reputation. Greek life encourages friendship after being accepted into a certain stereotype or image. Essentially, Greek life encourages friendship after paying your member dues. So really, you are buying new friends.

I won’t even get into the pledging process, for fear that this column has already offended too many people. Despite my (what you may call) cynicism, I do understand that there are some benefits of Greek life. After all, I did consider joining at one point. Greeks do a great deal of service work, and they provide great ties with alumni. At a school like Carolina, with an incoming class of 4,000, it is easy to get lost in the crowd; Greek life offers a guarantee of finding your niche immediately.

I’m not entirely bashing the Greek lifestyle; I’m just saying that I won’t be one to go out and buy a pair of Wallabees any time soon.

By Anika Anand