Opinion | The “significance” of Greek life

greek life
Zach Davis
Opinions Editor
@zachmdavis

I love Chapman. I love Southern California, small class sizes, the beauty of our campus, the willingness of professors to help students. But there’s one thing I absolutely hate about Chapman: Greek life.

I’m not affiliated, nor do I have any desire to be. I think Greek life alienates those non-affiliated and brings a divisive energy to our campus. That’s why, when I was searching for a college to attend, how prominent Greek life is on a campus was something that was extremely important to me.

During my tour at Chapman, I remember feeling relieved when my tour guide stressed how un-significant Greek life is here. I remember asking, “If you choose to remain unaffiliated, does it impact your experience at Chapman?” I remember hearing, “Not at all!”

But for me, it does.

The amount of times I haven’t been able to go to a party is astronomical. The amount of times I’ve felt left out of events, excluded and alone is depressing. It’s one thing about this school that makes me dread returning to campus after time at home; it’s created a dark cloud over my time here.

A statistic that I haven’t been able to get out of my head is 33 percent. That’s the percentage of students at Chapman who are affiliated with Greek life. That’s 33 out of 100, one out of three.

For reference, the percentage of those affiliated at UCLA is 13 percent. At University of Southern California, it’s 22 percent. Those are both considerably lower than Chapman’s, not even accounting for the fact that Chapman has comparatively less students than these two universities. Less students with a higher percentage means it’s more predominant on our campus. Yet Chapman still downplays the significance to prospective students.

During my tour, that statistic was presented in a way that made me feel comfortable coming here. I told myself that Greek life wasn’t a big deal. Chapman lied to me, or at the very least, didn’t reveal the full extent Greek life influences social aspects on campus.

The myth that ‘having no Greek row’ means that Greek life isn’t as dominant as other schools is also false; it’s no secret that several fraternities at Chapman have unofficial houses throughout Orange – most of them even have names. The ability of these frats to flourish despite the lack of a Greek row further proves the sheer magnitude of Greek life on campus – it’s a big deal.

I don’t want to hear, “If you feel this way, just rush a fraternity,” because it’s not that simple. I know that I’m not the right fit for one. I don’t want to join one solely because I want to easily get into parties. That’s not a good enough reason for paying hundreds of dollars in dues every semester.

Almost all of my best friends are in Greek life and they’ve all had amazing experiences. I don’t think it’s inherently evil, but I do think that “going out” at Chapman revolves around Greek life affiliation. I know this is the case at other schools as well, but from my experience, affiliation matters more here than other schools.

Maybe I’m frustrated with how excluded the Greek life system has made some students feel. Maybe I’m just upset that Chapman lied about how significant it is on campus. Maybe I think the entire Greek life system is alienating students who don’t join. Whatever the case, attention should be given to ensuring that prospective students know the true dominance of Greek life on campus. Because if they’re like me, they are also going to feel lied to.