(Underseen) Good of greek life


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Greek members are drunks, bandies are losers, and engineers are nerds.

Aren’t stereotypes like these great? They allow us to effortlessly generalize about an entire population in order to propagate ignorance. That’s sarcasm, if you couldn’t tell.

So for a moment, let’s allow ourselves to shed the veil of preconceived judgment and instead recognize those who don’t conform to the stereotypes.

Case in point: I’ve encountered an obscene amount of flak as a proud member of the UI fraternity system. I’m a senior member of the greek community, and, unfortunately, I find myself inching away from my brethren to finish up classes and hunt for a job. But a few days back, I noticed a news posting that renewed my adulation for the community I chose to be a part of.

On Nov. 15, the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and the Men’s Antiviolence Council are pairing to host a charity dinner benefiting the White Ribbon Campaign, a foundation working to prevent violence against women. Proceeds will benefit the Iowa City Domestic Violence Intervention Program and the White Ribbon Campaign.

Events such as these are exactly what the greek system — and the UI campus as an entirety — need to establish (especially following the repulsive string of violence against women during my underclassman years).

We, as a student entity, are sometimes so apt to rush to negative judgments that admiration of community activism is tossed aside in favor of pointing out vague disapproval. I’m convinced I’ll receive far more bitter feedback for writing my opinions than corroborative.

But I’ll admit, I’m just as subconsciously guilty for promoting pessimism as the next person. I’ve cursed out those who portray the greek system in an erroneous context, yet I haven’t personally done enough to fundamentally alter the manner in which fraternities are viewed.

So I’m taking a stance to vehemently endorse and publicize TKE’s White Ribbon Campaign dinner. It’s not because it’s PR for my organization — I’m not a member of TKE — but because the event materializes actions that student organizations need to take in Iowa City.

I hope for a grass-roots effort by student leaders and local advocacy groups alike to follow Tau Kappa Epsilon’s lead. I would be enthused to see a greater number of local philanthropic organizations pairing with greeks in an effort to manifest a more dynamic community. Establishing such altruistic pairings would not only do wonders for Iowa City, it could help fraternities and sororities in their efforts of rebranding — moving away from preconceived notions of binge drinking and party animals.

And while I admit the normal greek member may partake in a fair share of “risky behavior,” don’t let Hollywood’s typical image of a frat boy muck up the truth: We care about the UI community and continuously put forth our efforts in making Iowa City a better place to live (as exemplified by TKE’s antiviolence event).

So I beseech all students: Let’s breach the walls of stereotypical criticisms and thank each other for maintaining a vibrant college community.

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