Friday, April 11, 2008

Greek life

What does Greek life mean to you?

To me, it brings back memories of walking dusty streets of Plaka in Athens, drinking creamy chocolate milkshakes and carefully wandering on a rocky beach by the Mediterranean. It also means playing on the swings in the hilly suburb of Daphni and driving around in a convertible Jeep with the top down, smelling the salty air.

To most Americans, especially college students, it means being part of a fraternity or sorority.

At my alma mater Quinnipiac University, there are Alpha Chi Omega, Phi Sigma Sigma and Kappa Alpha Theta for the girls and Sigma Phi Epsilon and Tau Kappa Epsilon (“teek”) for the guys.

Greek chapters are “(f)ounded upon the principles of friendship, community service, scholarship and leadership” and “provides students with an enriching and rewarding experience,” according to Quinnipiac’s Web site. It also forms friendships that “last a lifetime.”

The girls often plan fundraisers and do charity work. The guys have drinking parties. That’s really what it comes down to.

I was never part of a real sorority. Since I was the student newspaper editor, I found it a conflict of interest to engage in student clubs that we would later write about. At Westchester Community College, however, I was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa – an honor society for “achieving” students. At the four-year school level, the same group is called Phi Beta Kappa. It’s more prestigious and impossible to get into.

So, while I cannot call myself a “Greek,” I can definitely say I’m a fan of Greek life. The life Greek people live in Greece, that is. Drinking parties and charity work I can live without.


ab said...

I was in Athens at seventeen with my mother. We had dolmades at a small rooftop restaurant in Plaka and the best chicken stewed in tomatoes in another tiny restaurant with, I think, two tables. It was in August and the hottest weather I had experienced that far. Everyone slept on the balconies at night.

Anne Sofie said...

Now and then I've wondered what those greek-letter organisations are for/do, but been too lazy to look it up. Now I know, thanks!

Vickan said...

AB>> Sounds nice! Except for the heat... it was very hot when I was there as well.

AnneSofie>> You're welcome. Although my explanation should under no circumstances be used as an official description of what these groups do. I am sure they do more than drink and host fund-raisers, if you ask the people involved. I just never really bothered to find out more about them either.