A member of a sorority who never thought she'd be part of Greek life reflects on the community and home she has found in her organization.
What should the role of Greek organizations be within the Columbia community? What do we expect of this burgeoning population? At a school that is decidedly non-traditional in its social scene, how do these tradition-based organizations fit in?
For all of its traditional bent—particularly toward Grecian classics—Columbia remains ambivalent on the matter of Greek-letter organizations.
Greek organizations have been at the center of hazing scandals and drug busts. But their members have also been leaders in philanthropy and throughout campus. Sororities have purposely misinformed potential new members about dues during recruitment. But they also provide what is touted as an affirming and empowering community. Still, many students either don’t know or don’t care about Greek life beyond a cursory level.
But Greek organizations have grown in leaps and bounds in the past few years. Can even the most ardently disinterested students afford to ignore the role these organizations have played—and will play—in the campus community? In spring of 2011, there were 952 students from all four undergraduate colleges involved in Greek life. By 2013, the number had increased to 1,529. Still, this tremendous growth leaves sororities, fraternities, and multicultural fraternities and sororities composing just over 14 percent of the undergraduate population.
What do we expect of this burgeoning population? At a school that is decidedly non-traditional in its social scene, how do these tradition-based organizations fit in?
In the first Canon of this semester, we approach the role of Greek organizations with three distinct perspectives: a non-affiliate, a former fraternity president, and a sorority member.
We invite you to consider their thoughts on the role of Greek organizations.
Emma Finder and Dan Garisto
Editorial Page Editors
To bridge the gap between Greek organizations and non-members, cooperation and inclusivity need to go both ways.
Facilitating the formation of friendships should be enough to justify Greek organizations on campus.