What it means to be Greek

BY ASHLEY SCHAFER | Guest Contributor | What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words, “Greek Life?” Sketchy fraternities, stereotypical sorority girls and partying 24/7?

That is not the case. These are just the stereotypes that people choose to believe. Now don’t get me wrong, I believed in all of those until I came to UMD and joined Gamma Sigma Sigma.  

I still had plenty of reservations with all of rumors and stories floating around campus, but I quickly learned that none of it was true. Fraternity houses aren’t scary places filled with creepy guys and sorority girls aren’t a bunch of airheads just looking for a good time. The young men and women within these organizations are people dedicating themselves to bettering their schools, communities and the world.

The organization I am part of is a national service sorority. We devote our time to service and partner with several external organizations such as March of Dimes, Special Olympics and several local groups. We partner with the brothers of Alpha Delta to run our campus Safewalk program. The gentlemen of Tau Kappa Epsilon and GSS hold an annual Walk-A-Thon and choose a cause to donate to--this year it’s Amberwing.  

The ladies of Phi Sigma Sigma host Princess for a Day and Phi Set Spike. Beta Lambda Psi has the annual “Kiss a Pig” fundraiser for Animal Allies. Other Greek organizations do just as much giving back. We all do service—it’s a huge part of who we are.  

Don’t get me wrong, service isn’t all that we do. Most of us are full-time students, have jobs and are involved in other organizations or activities. We are all busy and sometimes we like to cut loose and have fun. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  

None of us are bad people, and we aren’t partying our lives or money away. We’re here to get an education, make connections and have a little fun along the way. Many people that have been involved in Greek Life go on to be extremely successful individuals. We all gain tremendous experience and skills while being involved in these different organizations. And we can apply them to all areas of life.  

We’re not paying for fake friendships. We’re building everlasting relationships and bonds. We can use these connections all throughout our lives. Greeks are everywhere.  

Don’t make assumptions. If you have questions, just ask. Anyone would be more than willing to help you become more familiar with UMD Greek Life.  

We’re all human and we all make mistakes. None of us are perfect, but that’s ok. We learn from our mistakes, grow and move forward. It’s a part of life. It’s important to keep in mind that we’re not here to hurt or offend anyone. We accept all people and want to be friends with anyone and everyone.

We’re not bad people, so please stop judging us. We’re just Greek. And that is what it means to be Greek.

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