From Athens to Oxy

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Author: Leanne Zabala

Throughout last week, from Feb. 2-6, first-year students got their first taste of Greek Life. This week, known as formal recruitment, introduced students to most of the fraternities and sororities available on campus. The reaction of many first-years suggests that the Greek System at Oxy is not what they expected.

As Davida Persaud (first-year) walked into Johnson 200 to begin formal recruitment, she had her mind set about Greeks. “I’ve always seen fraternities and sororities as an excuse to party so I’m only here to support my friend,” Davida said.

Other students chose to rush for different reasons. “I’m rushing because it is a good way to meet upperclass people and to be more involved on campus,” Marissa Holden (first-year) said.

“I chose to rush, but I admit I was a bit reluctant because of the bad things you hear about the Greek system,” Erika Nacim (first-year) said.

Students said they often hear about how Oxy is unique because of its small size and individual relationships between students and staff, but what many people don’t anticipate is that such a small school size also affects Oxy’s Greek life.

The sororities and fraternities on campus are relatively small, not exceeding 50 members. This quality, as well as being located in a residential area, has produced sororities and fraternities that have a strong emphasis on the philanthropic aspect of Greek life.

Such community service can be seen through their participation in Relay for Life, Boys and Girls Club, the L.A. AIDS Walk, the Downtown L.A.’s Women Center, and other humanitarian works.

For one of their recruitment events, Delta Omicron Tau put on Philanthropy Night. “We made bracelets for Girls on the Run, which is an organization that promotes positive body image for middle school girls,” Recruitment Chair Hannah Alpert (sophomore) said.

Another benefit of a small Greek community is that it promotes stronger ties between members and active alumni. The national sorority Sigma Lambda Gamma has fewer than 20 members and very active alumni.

“I feel that being in a small sorority compels our alums to continue to be highly involved because we are all very close,” Vice President Sylvanna DeSantis (sophomore) said.

According to fraternity alumnus Alan DeSantis’ book Inside Greek U: Fraternities, Sororities, and the Pursuit of Pleasure, Power, and Prestige, Greeks are more likely to be sexually aggressive and consume larger amounts of alcohol and drugs than non-Greeks.

Such information could explain why some students were reluctant to rush. However, the interviewed students gave sororities at Oxy a fair chance.

“I could never picture myself rushing, but after checking out the sororities with my friend I plan to pledge,” Davida said.

Upperclass people who are already members of Greek Life also expressed this sentiment of the uniqueness of Oxy fraternities and sororities. For example, the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi pride themselves on being a diverse group of people who normally wouldn’t meet and become friends, according to Alex Graves (senior).

“Not only is the diversity and quality of our members great, but since we are so new, members can make the fraternity what they want it to be,” Phi Psi member Elliot Spilk (junior) said.

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