Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Op-ed: USM benefits from Greek Life

Posted on February 01, 2014 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

By: Kelsea Dunham

My name is Kelsea Dunham, and I am your student body president.  I want to start this little piece of writing with the statement that I am not actively involved with Greek Life at USM.  I still strongly believe that Greek Life is good for USM, as a whole.

When I ran for student body president I knew nothing, other than stereotypes, about Greek Life.  I crashed fraternity meetings, expecting hostile reactions, but not getting them.  I knew a few folks involved, through my work with campus groups, but that was it.  Over the last year, I’ve had a chance to get to know many students who are very involved with Greek Life, including the student body vice president, Marpheen Chann. Other than the incident on January 22, I have seen only good come from one’s involvement in Greek Life.

My goal as student body president is to create a tighter knit community at USM, and Greek Life is just one of the many organizations on campus working to promote that ideal.  The Greeks are all required to hold a GPA of 2.5, and had an average GPA of 2.91 last semester, which included doing 1023 study hours.  All of our Greek organizations are also heavily involved in philanthropy and community service. Some major community service projects that Greeks are involved in are the White Cane Walk, the Autism Walk, Relay for Life, and the Fall Yard Clean Up.

Members of Greek Life are working hard to change the stereotypes associated with fraternity and sorority life.  It’s not all Animal House.  In fact, it’s mostly the opposite.  Greek Life is men and women creating relationships that will last a lifetime.  It’s helping out on campus, when and where they can.  (In fact, two fraternities on campus volunteered at USM’s 14th Annual Royal Majesty Drag Show and Competition.  Talk about breaking stereotypes!) It’s fraternities and sororities working together to create a better campus – many members of Greek Life are active in our Student Government Association, the Gorham Events Board, have participated in events with Campus Safety Project, and the list goes on and on.

I will say that I strongly believe that Greek Life in no way contributed to the incident on January 22.  Just because it was a fraternity brother, at his house, does not mean it was a fraternity.  It was one person.
Greek Life had 135 active members in the fall semester.  Before we judge an entire organization based on one incident, I strongly suggest we look at the larger whole.

Kelsea Dunham is student body president.

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