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The Miami divide: Greeks and non-Greeks not as different as you think

By The Editorial Board

Stereotypes are something that we deal with regularly in everyday life. On Miami's campus, two of the most prevalent are the images of Greek students and unaffiliated students. If you picture a student in a fraternity or sorority, the image of expensive clothes and drinking and taking photos involving some sort of hand sign probably comes to mind. The opposite would be the stereotypical "GDI," (a widely used term for non-Greek students, short for "Goddamn independent,") who doesn't drink, spends all their time in the library and scoffs at the idea of Greek life.

At a school like Miami, considered the top party school in Ohio, but also one of the best undergraduate educations in the nation, these two worlds live side-by-side. Even though we all rub shoulders in classes and meetings, these two groups often mock one another, whether through in-person conversations or on social media apps like Yik Yak.

In reality, are we two worlds or just one large, mixed group?

Most media outlets portray Greek life as an exclusive world: a world that thrives on tradition, appearances, money and reputation. This misconception creates tensions on campuses around the country, and is likely the cause of the so-called divide between people who are members of fraternities and sororities and those who are not. Last year, we published a controversial comic that brought to light the sometimes-heated differences between Greeks and non-Greeks. However, living in Oxford and witnessing the student body in action has given the Editorial Board a different perspective.

Here at The Miami Student, our staff of editors and writers is a blend of Greek and non-Greek, a variety of majors and hometowns, political opinions and future aspirations. We work together daily and share our thoughts and opinions openly without fear of ridicule. The fact some made the decision as freshmen to join a certain organization hardly defines our personality.

Greek life can do a lot for people. It provides a close-knit group of friends in a school with thousands of people, it encourages strong academics and philanthropic work and it fills your weekends with socials and date parties. Most importantly, it gives contacts and networks across the country for after graduation.

However, not everyone uses Greek life for these things. Strong friendships can be found anywhere, a focus on grades and philanthropy can be something that anyone can have, parties and social events are of easy access to all college students and connections for jobs can be made with Miami faculty and alumni.

Greek life in general is a lot like any other organization or club at Miami. Dues are paid, meetings are held and friends are made through similar interests and values. Sometimes this is overshadowed by the bad publicity Greek organizations receive, but fraternities and sororities are really just a way to become involved on campus and meet new people.

We at The Miami Student feel Greek and non-Greek students are not so different. While some of us wear T-shirts with our organization's letters on them, we all wear the same school colors. We all must complete the Miami Plan requirements for graduation, we all have dealt with a frustrating group project member and we all enjoy some late night Bagel & Deli.

Perhaps you judge the guy in your Statistics class wearing a fraternity T-shirt, jotting notes in his notebook. Maybe he, in turn, acknowledges you are not his brother and dismisses your existence. But we believe if you were to meet in the real world - with no mention of alphas, sigmas or deltas - you could undoubtedly find similarities and coexist. In the end, we're all Miamians.

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