A second take on Greek Life (Viewpoints)

In the last issue of The Northerner, an article was published concerning the representation of students in the Student Government Association and the question of how much is too much Greek influence. Viewing this piece as both a Greek and a Northerner staff member, I felt a myriad of emotions. I appreciated the balance of the sources within the article, and I truly believe it was approached in an unbiased manner. However, for some reason, I still felt a stab of disappointment of the portrayal of Greeks from Dennis Chaney’s eyes.

There are more than 15,000 students at Northern Kentucky University. According to Greek Advisor Kim Vance, four percent of all matriculating students, both full and part-time, are Greek. Because only full-time students are eligible to participate in Greek Life at NKU, Greeks make up six percent of the full-time student population. Granted, these numbers do not match up with the Student Government Association’s makeup of 51.5 percent Greek students.

It is assumed that having 17 of 33 SGA positions fi led by Greeks is an unfair representation of the student body at Northern. I feel strongly that this is an unfair representation of those members whom are not part of Greek Life in student government. Are we concerned about the number of gay and lesbian members represented by the student senate compared to the student population? And what about the division of age, ethnicity, genders? Has anyone felt that Activities Programming Board, athletes or commuter students have a skewed representation in SGA?

The Northerner is concerned with these things. What is damaging, alarming or unfair about the representation of Greek students in student government? Sure, Greeks make up just more than half of the senate. Sure, it’s a skewed representation if you look at it that way — just look at like this: not all Greeks are the same.

These men and women represent different demographics of Greek life. Greek senators all have varying platforms, views and concerns for this university. If two people are both involved in Greek life, even if in the same chapter, they are two different people with different ideas, beliefs, leadership qualities and voices. It is unfair to assume that these 17 senators feel differently from the remaining 16 just because they are involved in the same type of organization.

These 17 do represent the same demographic in the sense of Greek vs. otherwise, but that is only one way that students at NKU differ from each other. If students are dissatisfied with the representation among the NKU senators, they should vote accordingly. Better yet, run for something. Greeks make up most of the few students within our campus community who actually step up. They should be praised, not criticized, for their level of involvement.

Truly, it is not surprising that the number of Greek students in SGA makes it what it is. The main reason a student would join a Greek Letter Organization would be to become more involved on campus. This person would also seem more likely to involve themselves in other aspects of student life. Most Greek organizations boast the involvement of members in a slew of other campus organizations. This is because Greek Life promotes making the most of your collegiate years by associating yourself around campus and adopting the will to learn new things and meet new people.

Leadership skills are developed within Greek organizations as well. This promotes not only standard involvement within other organizations, but also the ability and drive to lead others. Chapters encourage their members to attend leadership development seminars to take on responsibility inside and outside of their organizations. It has been alluded to that Greeks are unable to handle the commitment of more than one organization, especially SGA.

Is a Greek in SGA any different than an athlete in SGA? Can someone who works full-time be trusted to apply themselves to SGA? College students are at a stage in their lives where taking responsibility and managing priorities are becoming most important. Students must figure out how to juggle many aspects of their lives in college, just as someone later in life must find a balance between family, work and free time.

Greek life is a healthy, educational and skill-building organization on campus. It isn’t this big monster trying to tear up our campus.

Greeks are proud of their community and of their individual chapters. For more information on Greek Life at NKU, visit http://nku.edu/campuslife/greeklife.php.

Editorial by Heather Willoughby