Hi, my name is Christopher and I’m Greek. After the verbal assaults following Greek Week, I am almost hesitant to admit it. But no matter what you say about it, I love every damn minute of being Greek.
And you might be surprised, but it’s not because I love to party, and it’s not because I love to always be drunk, and it sure as hell isn’t because I need to be paying for my friends or feel “elitist” as most people charge.
Don’t get me wrong: my first two years at UM, I had the same thoughts of Greek life as almost every non-Greek student. But a simple note on my door from my first friend at UM changed my opinion. As I sat on the bed in my dorm and read “the brothers of Sigma Alpha Epsilon applaud your accomplishments at UM” and asked me to check out the fraternity and what it stood for, I immediately dropped my barrier to Greek life and decided to give it a chance.
Thirty minutes into my quest to learn more about fraternity life, I was astounded by all I learned about SAE on its national website. Who’d have guessed that all fraternities had values that they stood for, especially values that were congruent with my own life like SAE?
The point of my life story here is that I had been letting my biased interpretation of Greeks influence my vision of what Greek life really was; I was truly ignorant and content in that lack of knowledge, like most students.
Two years after deciding that I would give up my anti-Greek stance, I have met 40 of the most dedicated scholars, athletes, philanthropists and best friends I have ever known. And that is just in my fraternity, one of the 29 Greek organizations on campus.
Despite coming from a non-Greek background, I can’t help but be furious when I read the comments of those that perpetuate the beliefs that we are “elitist” drunks or that Greek life is useless, mostly because I used to think that way too.
I could write paragraphs about the astounding statistics associated with fraternities and sororities, but that’s old. The important thing is that Greeks are just everyday students. When we aren’t wearing letters, we look the same, talk the same, act the same and do the same stuff that non-Greeks do, including being members of the 210 other non-Greek organizations at UM.
It’s OK not to be Greek, just as it is OK to be Greek. It took a note on my door for me to realize this. I just wish those who hate us because we wear letters to show our pride in the accomplishments of our organizations would drop their bias and stop believing the stereotypes.
No matter what, I will always be proud to be Greek. But more importantly, just like every other Greek at UM, we will always be proud to be ‘Canes; that’s why I wear my letters in orange and green.
Christopher Vasquez can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.