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.