Julian Wyllie | Columnist
Greek life is an important foundation for building connections for Butler University students.
According to Butler University’s Greek life website, “some [students] think it is a great way to meet people and make lasting relationships. Others see it as a way to develop leadership skills and participate in philanthropic activities.”
But independent and unaffiliated students are also affected by the Greeks’ presence.
Some students choose to rush and later realize that they need time to reconsider the decision.
“For right now, I am happy to be independent and I am happy to figure out my space until I try for open recruitment later,” freshman Alec Wilkas said.
But is it worth the wait?
“I actually didn’t want to rush at first,” freshman Jessie Williams said. “To be completely honest, I didn’t want to be left out. A lot of my friends did rush.”
Without question, subtle forms of peer pressure influence some students’ desire to rush.
There is nothing inherently wrong with rushing with friends. However, a problem occurs when students feel pressured to commit to the Greek system.
While the Greek system has its clear advantages, being independent is nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, being unaffiliated has its advantages, even in schools with a large Greek population.
The lack of a social label allows one to create a unique identity as a Butler student. The independent student does not run the risk of being consumed by his or her fraternity or sorority.
Furthermore, an independent student does not endure the stressful circumstances of rush week.
Williams said she looked forward to building strong bonds with her current and future sisters, but thought that “rush was one of the most terrifying experiences of (her) life.”
Butler’s tight-knit community appears to contribute to a positive Greek experience. However, negative stereotypes associated with individual houses can cause some students to have a bad perception about recruitment.
Some students are afraid of being associated with houses that are not known as the “party types,” and others are afraid of being linked to the Greek stereotype that is represented in movies and television.
Independent students carry similar baggage as well, especially those who participated in rush week and did not receive a bid from their desired house.
Those who received bids from houses that are not associated with the popular houses received pity.
Daniela Vinueza, a freshman who received a bid from Delta Delta Delta, said that her peers told her “sorry” in regards to her bid, implying that Tri Delta was a lesser house on the Butler Greek hierarchy.
However, one should be sorry for having biased perceptions about Greek Life, the individual houses, and independent students. Those who continue to judge an entire house by its perceived stereotype have no place in the Greek system. This practice violates the principles of brotherhood/sisterhood and campus community.
An individual’s Greek affiliation should be used as a medium to improve the university.
An affiliation has greater value for students who intend to promote academic excellence, campus involvement, and leadership. The status, whether negative or positive, does not come from the letters one wears.
Above all, the content of an individual’s character is more important than the house someone intends to pledge.
Students do not need Greek letters to participate in charitable efforts or become campus leaders.
Independent students who have regrets regarding rush week should consider the sentiments expressed by Wilkas.
For myself, being an independent has helped me become friends with a variety of students.
I did not need to put on a false façade to please any of the Greek houses. I made it clear that I had no intentions of rushing and my peers respected my decision.
Independent students have the same opportunities to participate in the growth of the university. That includes building important connections and friendships, volunteering and supporting affairs related to the community.
Being an independent student is an admirable choice indeed.
Each student must carefully evaluate their decisions to rush and pledge for a fraternity or sorority.
Some may realize that going Greek is truly what they wish.
Others may find that remaining independent is a good choice as well.