By Elizabeth McKinley
Being abroad has been an amazing experience, but I find myself checking the college’s website several times a week and e-mailing professors more than I’m sure they’d care to hear from me. I read all of the stuboard announcements (no, really) and if I didn’t feel the need to go to class, I’d probably tune into every WBCR broadcast. It was in the midst of this pathetic Beloit browsing that I came across the recent and, from what I understand, rather controversial, Round Table article regarding Greek life.
I suppose it should be said that I am a member of a sorority. A rather lousy member, I’ll admit; my attendance is often lacking, I’ve yet to attend a Sigma Chi party, and I think I’m allergic to glitter. However, the article did what I’m sure its author wished—it caused me to react, to want to put in my two cents and, for that, I applaud her. There is no doubt the article was well written and slightly humorous, but it was also seeping with blatant generalizations and a shortage of elucidation, which I suspect was the intent. When people write like that, they are writing for a response, and so, here is mine: Greek life has acquired a negative reputation throughout the country. Some of it is justified—there have been terrible hazings and cruel rumors, and the required dues are borderline ridiculous. However, to attack Greek life at Beloit seems a bit silly. Beloit’s Greek life is neither threatening nor ubiquitous. I would like to believe a place like Beloit could have the ability to turn Greek life upside down—perhaps, dare I say it, make it cool.
Sure, sometimes even I find some aspects of Greek life to be “creepy.” Heck, I find a lot of things in the world to be creepy—NASCAR, pierced nipples, the Twilight series, pigeons, Republicans—but does that mean, for example, that I’d wish for Republicans to be expelled from campus? No, because where’s the fun in that?
As Ms. Debevec-McKenney stated, “Beloit isn’t about finding a comfort zone and staying there”—and that includes her comfort zone. Clearly, Greek life is outside that zone. I would be concerned if I thought Greek life at Beloit caused any harm to others, but I’ve yet to see that. (Except to maybe our ears. I’m going to have to agree with 90 percent of campus when I say: Can we cut back on the Taylor Swift blasted at deafening decibels?) No one’s tarred and feathered. You don’t lose your free will. It’s Beloit.
I’ve been awoken in the wee hours of the morn’ by singing from both fraternities and sororities. But I’ve also been awoken on numerous occasions by rowdy Malt Mondays, impromptu bell runs, or the couple next door, um, having fun. Does that mean that I think any less of them? Of course not. Sure, at the time, I may grumble and occasionally curse in their general direction, but it’s college. People are going to be obnoxiously loud, and they are going to be different from me.
I love me some scandalous Op-Ed, but this just seems odd. There are a lot of things to worry about, but Greek life on Beloit’s campus is not one of them. Let’s cut back on the cynicism and work on co-existing.