Greek Presence Growing at Santa Clara
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 10:10
This is my fourth year at Santa Clara and last week’s article, which covered the growth of Greek presence at Santa Clara University, was the first article I’ve read that held no negative Greek undertones.
However, it lacked one crucial component: why Greek life has grown so much. Additionally, the article only mentioned the “traditional” Greek organizations, which largely underrepresents the entirety of Greek life at Santa Clara. Apart from the 10 “traditional” fraternities/sororities, there are eight culturally-based Greek organizations and two business-oriented Greek organizations, resulting in 20 different Greek organizations. All of these organizations appeal to different interest groups and demographics of the school, creating an immensely diverse Greek system, which permeates throughout the student body.
I could talk about the largely successful philanthropy of Greek organizations, such as Alpha Phi raising $76,000 in one night at their Red Dress Gala. But Greek organizations offer so much more than just philanthropy or drinking opportunities.
Despite most off-campus social life stemming from Greeks, social interactions are just the surface of what Greek life offers.
These organizations provide opportunities to develop skills and learn processes that no other college organization will teach you. They offer the potential to take full ownership of the events that a person puts on without the school or an adult peering over his or her shoulder, giving people the autonomy to learn and grow in their own way.
Members are held liable for their mistakes and praised for their achievements. It’s a unique learning experience, providing an unparalleled opportunity to develop practical leadership skills as well as team building and collaboration. In a nutshell, it gives you relevant tools that school itself doesn’t provide and the confidence to apply these tools in the real world.
In addition, a Greek organization gives you a sense of community and a network that will carry beyond college. The relationships built within a Greek organization are extremely tightly knit because they are relationships connected by a common bond. For many, it is where they find their “niche” at Santa Clara — their home away from home.
Greek life is instrumental in welcoming new students to Santa Clara as well. Besides the fact that nearly every party a freshman attends in their first few weeks is Greek-related, the students who work on campus are overwhelmingly Greek. I have worked two summers as an orientation leader and both summers, roughly half of our staff was involved in some Greek organization, whether cultural, business or “traditional.”
Likewise, many student ambassadors who give tours to prospective students are Greek.
I find it ironic that an astounding number of students who are in these “non-recognized” Greek organizations are the ones who, often times, do the most for the school and the school’s public image.