It’s all Greek to me

MONICA PAYNE
Opinion Writer
paynemk@plu.edu

“I, of my own free will and accord, in the presence of God and of these witnesses, do hereby solemnly declare that the views of Pacific Lutheran University as they have been explained to me accord entirely with my own views; and I solemnly as a member of this university will faithfully adhere to those principles endeavoring in every way to perfect myself morally, intellectually, and socially, endeavoring also to act towards others according to that high standard of conduct required by the university.”
-PLU Fraternity Pledge of Oath via Delta Upsilon International Fraternity

I anticipated the presence of sororities when arriving on the university scene. I expected exclusive guilds where only those who can sacrifice the most will rise above the rest and be awarded with the prize of social security and sisterhood.

But Pacific Lutheran University is not that kind of place. Certainly the prestigous palace of education I’ve committed my next four years to wouldn’t allow the disturbing rituals of the common four-year establishment, right? Perhaps, but who’s to say the students of PLU don’t live in their own version of a frat house.

When I think of those groups, I see them as friendly individuals who are not afraid to showcase their letters to prove that they’ve been tested into the club. Lutes may not sport Greek symbols, but not a day goes by without seeing Sir Lance-a-Lute plastered across someone’s chest. We do pride ourselves as a band of friendly folk, don’t we?

That’s all fine and dandy, but there was no pledging in PLU’s registration process. No test of limits, no huge sacrifice. Or was there? We may have not promised to do some humiliating or potentially dangerous act, but we made our own sacrifices to be granted entry.

Laura McCloud, assistant professor in the social sciences department and a former Gamma Phi Beta sister, told me that many of the commitments she made to her sorority sisters, money and time were hugely involved. What are two things that every Lute has given to the university? Their time and their money.

So that’s it, I have cracked the code. We have all been pledged into a secret Greek society posing as Norwegian so as to not be detected by the anti-frat groups. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to drink to that! Case closed, that’s a wrap, see you at the next house meeting everybody.

Okay, I’ll drop this ludicrous idea. Money is no small issue and most of our time goes to the university, but who in their right mind would believe such a peaceful, beautiful place could ever come close to the Greek system?

PLU is a sanctuary for acceptance, which McCloud says is an issue with sororities and fraternities.

“Exclusivity breeds inequality,” she says, and at PLU, inequality is to be avoided at all costs.

And those “best friends forever” that you are promised after you are — potentially — hazed to the point of humiliation could’ve been anyone without the price tag attached. McCloud said that her best friends in undergraduate school were mostly from her dorms and in her major, not so much her sorority.

What does this mean? It means there are places where the familial bonds of the Greek system exist without the involvement of the system itself, such as PLU.

USA Today writer Aja Frost wrote in his viewpoint article, “The Time Has Come to End Frats,”that “fraternity mission statements talk about leadership, philanthropy, community service, character and brotherhood.” PLU’s mission involves all these things, as well as so much more. Best of all, there’s no drinking quota! Plus the students of PLU sacrifice for the identity they’ll have in the future rather than their present one and, to some, that’s a sacrifice that leads to nothing but a successful future.

There’s no reason for the existence of sororities/fraternities. Their positive traits can easily be replaced and their negative traits will die along with them.

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