Greek-Independent split?

Tori Roper
Staff Writer

Although Troy University prides itself on the great diversity of its campus, there are students who feel the division between Greeks and independents cannot be overlooked, but that it is declining in prevalence.
“I feel that the barrier is limited to the social aspects of college,” said Coale Jordan, a junior history major from Brewton, Alabama, and a member of a fraternity. “Greeks have more social events.”
Aside from strictly Greek-run events, he acknowledges that Greeks are also heavily involved in other organizations.
“We have a dominant presence on campus because we run in groups,” said Jordan.
“We have a brand that allows us to have more unity and identity. Independents don’t have anything like that.”
“The division is only as prevalent as you make it,” said Savannah Hill, an independent English major from Eva, Alabama, “I feel like people are going to do what they want to do and hang out with who they want.”
“Being Greek is an avenue to be involved,” said Douglas Dick, a sophomore global business major from Panama City, Florida, and a member of a fraternity.
“I think the division comes because of a lack of understanding from both sides, the independent community and Greek community,” said Dick. “I feel that we choose to believe a lot of false stereotypes about each other, and it does goes both ways.”
Dick’s opinion that poor communication from both sides of the spectrum could be a contributing factor to the divide is shared by Sam Moody, another frat member, sophomore business major from Montgomery.
“We have done a poor job making relationships outside of our organizations,” said Moody.
“We want independents to be involved, but it is their job to be involved.”
“I don’t want the Greek system to be a roadblock to indepen-dents,” said Moody.
But, he feels that there are certain differences that shouldn’t be overlooked.
“I think there is a fine line between having solid friendships in the fraternity and out,” said Moody.
According to Moody, a main issue that contributes to the boundary is that when independents spend an abundant amount of time at a fraternity house and its events without paying dues, this is “basically allowing them to be in that fraternity for free.”
“They get all of the perks of being in that brotherhood without paying for it,” said Moody.
Joseph Carpenter, an indepen-dent sophomore global business major from Athens, argued that the problem may not be as simple as independents getting more involved.
“There is some boundary, but it’s because the Greeks have friends in their organizations,” said Carpenter. “Greek life comes first for most of them because they invest a lot of time and money into it.”
“The barrier isn’t overwhelming to me,” said Colin Edwards, a sophomore communication major from Gadsden, Alabama, and an independent.
“I’m not going to say it’s unnoticed, but it hasn’t kept me from hanging out with Greeks and it hasn’t swayed me from wanting to be a part of the things that they do and host.”
According to the “Greek Life Information” page on Troy University’s website, “Over 85 percent of the student leaders on some 730 campuses are involved in the Greek community.”
Laken Berry, member of a sorority and a sophomore undecided major from Athens, said that this disparity is simply explained by the type of people trying to be Greek in the first place.
“I feel like people who are already wanting to be leaders on campus saw that as another organization to be a leader in, so they went Greek,” said Berry. “But there are other leaders on campus who aren’t Greek.”
“I think that generally, you see Greek people in leadership positions because they have assumed leadership positions in that Greek organization,” said Moody.
“There are plenty of people here at Troy who are successful in life that are not Greek.”
Dick believes that the differences could be the result of a reluctance to see other students as individuals, instead of independent or Greek.
“I think a respectful understanding of other people’s backgrounds would break down the barrier as well,” said Dick.
“I have felt very demoralized by independent people who have given me a hard time for being Greek on this campus without really knowing what my fraternity stands for.”
“I learn leadership, grow spiritually, learn the importance of community service,” said Dick.
“There is so much in Greek life that is good, and people like to point out the negatives. A lot of it stems from lack of education. Greek people can be prideful toward independents.”
“I am so sure that I am where I’m supposed to be,” said Edwards. “Once they see that I’m confident that it isn’t for me, they tend to be accepting.”
“There are a select few Greek men and women who think they are better because of their letters,” said Dick, “but I will tell you that is the far minority.”
“I think it’s important to understand that each person has a place,” said Edwards. “If we could see that, the barriers would just vanish.”

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