I am writing this in order to get my opinion out there for fellow JMU students and faculty to hear. "Greek Life" is something that a lot of upcoming students consider joining. I even considered joining, but when I saw how so many people struggled to balance it with academic life, I decided against it. After three years at JMU, I can say that Greek Life is way past its time.
What about "Greek Life" makes it Greek anyways? This caught my attention because I am Greek. I’ve never seen frat boys enjoying gyros and baklava at their parties. I guess the use of Greek letters and being party animals makes them Greek right? What if it was called "Mexican Life" and they all wore sombreros everyday? In order to label yourself as being Greek in any way, you should at least enjoy the culture instead creating a mockery of it.
The words "Greek life," "frat" and "sorority" all have negative and ignorant connotations because of all the headlines they make on TV for hazing. The fact they have to have a "hazing policy" says enough about them. I don't blame JMU for having them because they are attractive to college kids, raise money and donate.
But we must be leaders, not followers. JMU being one of the first schools to eliminate "Greek life," "frats" and "sororities" (just the names, not the organizations) would set a good example for other schools that it’s outdated, stereotypical and kind of offensive. The fact that a frat can be fifty years old with fifty-year-old traditions and expectations doesn’t fit well with a progressive and intellectual society like JMU. I think more people would join if they had club-like names, and social life for all of JMU would prosper.
The "who do you know here" and cookie-cutter mindsets are a disease to the rest of the school and the town of Harrisonburg. Plus, raising money is easier when half of it isn't spent on beer. The whole thing is against JMU's reputation, not with it.
Nick Nichols is a senior geographic science major. Contact Nichols at email@example.com.