South Beach vs. South Park: the UM Cultural Divide

A few Thursdays ago, somebody asked me if I was going to the Grove. I said no; I wanted to watch “The Office” and a new episode of “The Sarah Silverman Program”. She was shocked. Her expression said it all: if word got out that she spoke with.well, somebody like me, she was done for. Her expensive accessories indicated that she must have many friends, and she did me the favor of telling me which ones were going. She also told me which frat or sorority they belonged to, like the way they list party and state affiliations after members of Congress. This is when I realized that something was wrong with me. I wanted to get to the bottom of why so many people are, apparently, just flat-out better than me. They act accordingly every day, probably to politely remind me. Clearly, they just want to show me that there is a better way. I decided I had no choice but to go to the source of being better than others: Greeks.

My research really enlightened me. For instance, did you know that they invented democracy? Also, as the movie “300” illustrated, 300 Greeks once fought off thousands of non-Greeks. These people really are better than us! I was convinced I needed to join a fraternity. Sadly, I couldn’t spend 25 hours a day at the gym, nor could I mix roofies in a moment’s notice. In short, I wasn’t man enough for them, as truly few men are. Undeterred, I tried to join a sorority. The first thing that struck me was the names. Some of them sound funny, like Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Kappa Alpha, or, my personal favorite, Delta!-Delta-Delta-Bo-Belta-Banana-Fanna-Fo-Felta-Fe-Fi-Mo-Felta-Felta! After collecting pamphlets from them, I looked up the stats. I noticed that 100% of sorority members are women, but I discarded that as a statistical anomaly. If I joined Sigma Delta Epsilon I would only have to wear three pounds of makeup on Tuesdays, although the rest of the week I’d have to wear the customary five. If I joined Gamma Delta, I’d be allowed to look down my nose at people at a 30? angle. When one really thinks about it, paying hundreds of dollars for friends is a pretty good deal when those friends are this awesome. One last tidbit, as if all this wasn’t already enough: Greeks compose a large percentage of student government. I was shocked. We have a student government!

Throughout this whole process, a nagging concern persisted to bother me. I still couldn’t figure out what about Greek life made so many brothers and sisters maintain this superior air. It’s not all of them, but it is a significant amount of them. It dawned on me that perhaps I was joining for the wrong reasons. Many members of Greek organizations join for enhanced involvement in school activities, or for academic purposes. Some join for the reasons I was interested in, and this doesn’t seem fair to the others. I nobly decided not to join. Plus, I saw that President Bush and David Spade were both in frats while in college. I wanted no part of that.

Anthony Vega is a freshman majoring in finance and English. He may be contacted at