Victors or victims of youth?

Greek life at the U is becoming more depressing for me as time passes. Problems with neighbors and the negative stereotypes associated with Greek life are destroying long-held traditions of sororities and fraternities, thus decreasing our recruitment numbers.

One problem is that fraternity members are constantly associated with alcoholics and little rich boys stuck in high school, spending their parents’ money. This is the picture painted by many who are against the greek system.

Sorority girls are viewed as loose women who are only asking for trouble by hanging around the fraternity houses.

Unfortunately, those who paint such a grim picture of the Greek system take little time to recognize the facts. First, 71 percent of Greeks graduate from college while only half of those not affiliated fulfill the requirements for a degree. Here at the U, the average GPA for all the members of the fraternities is higher than the average GPA of all the men on campus. The sororities also have a higher GPA than those of non-greek women every semester as well.

Members of fraternities and sororities are, quite simply, some of the most successful business-people in the country. Eighty-five percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are greeks, and greeks lead 43 of the 50 largest U.S. corporations.

Politically, greeks have dominated the White House quarters as well. Of the last 38 U.S. Presidents, 36 have been members of fraternities.

In the U.S. Congress, three quarters of the members are affiliated. Since 1920, 85 percent of all Supreme Court justices have either been members of a fraternity or a sorority.

Many community leaders are large supporters of greek communities from which they came. Look at the names on our sports stadiums: Huntsman and Eccles. Both were greeks.

Politicians, lawyers, doctors- many successful people who have played a large role in our community are products of the U’s greek system.

The media is often too quick to judge the greek communities.

When the U fraternities got in a small squabble earlier in the year, it spread like wildfire. Greeks provide services for the community that is never recognized.

It would be fair to say that at least one service project a week is performed by greeks.

This last weekend, a member of Beta Theta Pi-which is my fraternity-sponsored the event “Diddy Sweeps the City,” where many of our members raked our neighbors’ lawns.

One will find that the majority of fraternity and sorority houses are on 100 South and Wolcott Street (1455 South). Unfortunately, a minority of neighbors are seemingly under the impression they have more rights than us, simply because we are students.

The greeks are required by city ordinance to pay police officers to patrol our neighborhood. Parking on the street is restricted to residents only by way of parking permits. We are required to have everybody out of our houses by midnight on weekends and by 10 p.m. on weekdays. There is not another university in the entire country that has such strict regulations.

Yet there are neighbors who still complain about the greek community, threatening to go to the city council or the U administration, often over non-issues, such as the legal right to park on the street in front of someone’s house.

It is no secret where these houses are. The neighbors knew that they were moving not only next to a university campus, but also next to Greek Row.

I honestly cannot believe that they did not expect to have a small amount of extra noise on weekends and several extra cars on the street.

Many of our neighbors like us, but there are a few who seem hell- bent on getting us off of campus. They make us bend over backward to their wishes, and make us look bad, which in turn is lowering our recruitment numbers.

The greek system is a huge part of the U and should be growing, not shrinking. If the greek community can overcome negative stereotypes and our neighbors can work their problems with us (rather than antagonize us), then it may be possible for greeks to regain the strength and community we once held on campus.

A greek community contributing to the health of the university and the community it serves would be a benefit to the U as a whole.

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