Greek life at GVSU: the Hidden Gem

Kortney Ondayko

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As a high school senior, I would have laughed at the thought of going Greek. Not only that, I never would have equated GVSU with having any sort of vibrant Greek life. But the truth is, as a proud member of the Greek community, Greek life at GVSU is not only vibrant, it is genuine and exemplary.

I think there are two reasons for my misconception. One, that I had a stereotypical version of Greek life in my head, and two, that GVSU’s lively Greek life isn’t advertised in GVSU’s “image” that is portrayed to incoming students.

Looking back, when I thought of Greek life, I thought of a stereotypical and hyper-commercialized “Greek life.” I thought of the “rivaling” fraternities at big state universities, the horror stories of hazing, and the many generations of legacies in the South.

You know what I mean: the negative stigma that surrounds Greek life. That all “frat guys” do is drink in expensive polos, while sorority girls all secretly hate each other and spend most of their time being “sorostitutes.”

While this image may be true at some universities, it is the farthest from the truth at GVSU — and it’s terribly degrading for people to believe it’s true.

What makes GVSU’s Greek life so amazing is its overwhelming sense of community. Greek people love other Greek people — there is no rivalry between different sororities or fraternities. We simply appreciate the common factor that we each wear letters and are a part of something greater than ourselves.

But we don’t appreciate from afar: we constantly support each other’s events and help raise money for each other’s philanthropies, all while building strong friendships.

Not only is GV’s Greek life one of the most welcoming communities I have ever been a part of — it is the most dedicated and passionate about helping others. GVSU’s Greek students put their philanthropies first and spend countless hours dedicated to helping those in need. Did you hear about the gentlemen of ATO walking 160 miles to raise more than $30,000 for multiple sclerosis over their spring break? Need I say more?

Another aspect that sets GVSU’s Greek life apart from most is the dedication of individual chapters to uphold standards and make sure they are projecting a desired image. GVSU’s Greek life breaks the stereotypical boundaries, but it takes work. Fraternities and sororities alike have to put forth effort to break these stigmas. For example, it is held as a priority to hold events with other chapters, get to know other sorority women, and stay absolutely focused on each organization’s core goals.

Another extremely awesome, not to mention helpful, aspect to Greek life is the door it opens for other opportunities beyond Greek life. Here at GVSU, there are Greeks represented in all different kinds of clubs and organizations.

Personally, I have learned about so many different ways to get involved on campus through my affiliation. It has helped me meet many people involved in different communities and given me the chance to learn more about the kinds of opportunities available on campus.

Oh, and one last thing. Hazing.

I believe GVSU’s Greek life stands out due to its quite remarkable lack of hazing. Nothing says brotherhood/sisterhood like a good ol’ pledge scrubbing the floors, right? Not so much.

GVSU’s Greek life, as whole, not just individual chapters, holds each other up to certain standards. The Greek community holds philanthropy, sisterhood and brotherhood, academics and anti-hazing highly, and each “umbrella” association strictly enforces these rules.

The only downfall to GVSU’s Greek community is that it remains virtually unknown to those not attending the university. My suggestion is that GVSU — or perhaps the Greek community itself — make this wonderful community better known to future students. Reveal the amazing secret that Grand Valley’s Greek life is.

Being Greek at GVSU has totally changed my college experience, and it is certainly for the better. This is a selling point that GVSU should take advantage of.