Why you can still enjoy college without Greek life


Lily Katz

Girls exit Foellinger Auditorium to join their new sisters on Monday, September 12, 2016.

By Hayley Nagelberg, Columnist

This past Monday, after a long day of classes, I was startled awake from my post-Chem Lab nap by a lot of high-pitched squeals outside of my apartment window. That’s right, as if this campus could have possibly let me forget, it was bid day.

The University has one of the country’s largest Greek networks. According to the University’s Fraternity and Sorority Affairs there are currently 59 fraternities and 38 sororities. As smart as you may be, and as great a memory you may have, you can spend four years on this campus and not know every house’s letters or location.

There are many positives to joining a house: Greek life provides networking opportunities and an instant family for life.  But not being in Greek life provides an even bigger window of opportunity.

With bid day over, some people on campus are being introduced to their new sisters and settling into years of taking pictures in matching clothes and throwing hand signs.  And this may be exactly what they wanted.

If you were hoping for this to be your future, and things did not go according to plan, you may be feeling frustrated.  But look around at the opportunities that are afforded to you by not being Greek.

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Joining a house of a few hundred students means there is only so much room for you to take on a leadership role.  For those not in a house, there is significantly more time to devote to seeking out leadership roles earlier in your collegiate career.

And with that extra time, you can explore the plethora of communities this campus has to offer and find people who value you, challenge you and can become your closest friends that you would never have had the chance to meet outside of this mini world formed here.

Not joining a house means you get to choose where you live.  It means you get to choose what you cook, or it may mean you have friends who invite themselves over (sometimes when you are not there) to cook for themselves and then for you.  It means choosing to learn life skills like paying bills monthly, and divvying up house responsibilities like shopping and cleaning much sooner.  And it means you get to choose who among your friends is truly worthy of owning matching shirts with you.

I fully recognize that Greek life is integral to the college experience for many people on this campus. For many, it was integral to their parents’ or maybe even grandparents’ experiences.  But Greek life is not for me, and it may not be for you either.  I am an independent, and I am happy about it.

Setting aside the controversies in the news over trigger warnings and safe spaces, college is a time to challenge your beliefs and grow as a person.  It is a time to become an independent, and the fact that someone not in Greek life is given the exact title of being an independent is the biggest compliment and cause of content one could be offered.

Hayley is a sophomore in ACES.
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