Greek Life 101
One of the things I get asked about most often is hands-down Greek Life. While I definitely understand the desire to understand more about something that not a lot of people, especially prospective students, understand, I want to start off with a bit about my perspective first. When I came to Dartmouth, Greek life was the last thing on my mind, so if you don't really understand the hype or care all that much about it, that's totally fine! There aren't any colleges on my island with any sort of Greek presence, and only one college in the state has about five houses in total. I knew that I was going to Dartmouth to make life-long connections, but I didn't really think about Greek life as being pivotal to that. While my opinion has slightly changed, I still do fully stand by the fact that you can not rush and have a very fulfilling experience at Dartmouth.
That being said, when the time came, I did decide to rush. Rush is the process of joining a sorority, fraternity, or gender-inclusive Greek house. These organizations are primarily social (that is, there are separate honor societies, and although they sometimes have affiliations to sports teams if you are in a sport you don't have to join a particular house or vice-versa). I felt that while I had already made tons of friends my freshman year, a lot of them were interested in joining the same house that I was, and so it just kind of made sense to me to be a part of this house that I was interested in and that I would have friends in. I didn't do a lot of schmoozing beforehand — I honestly did not know many of the upperclassmen before the night of rush, but when the time came I got my bid (the acceptance of your intention to join) and I couldn't be happier.
I have made tons of new friends in my fraternity, but even more so I would say being affiliated has allowed me to meet so many more people outside my house. We host events or attend meetings and programs where we interact with people from all corners of campus that I probably would not have met otherwise. Over my sophomore summer, our house participated in a huge fundraiser for detained children at the U.S. Mexico border, and I ended up meeting some really cool lawyers in the Upper Valley and learning more about immigration law in the area. This is just one small example, but one that I think shows that experiences in my fraternity far transcend just the physical house itself and the men who live in it.
So, if you are a prospective student, it's okay to be curious about Greek life! It is this brand new thing that is part of a giant step in your life, and knowing more about it can make it feel less daunting. At the same time, if you don't really care about it, that's fine too! You have your whole freshman year, and further even, to decide if that is anything that you want to be involved with. Even if you do decide that you want to become affiliated, you can always drop (as several of my very good friends have done) and still have a great experience with it in general. Hope this helped ease some nerves; see you next week!