What a beautiful week to be a Greek here at Hillsdale College. Or at least, I wish it were.
Greek Week is supposed to be a week where all members feel immense pride to be a part of the Greek community. Instead, each house oozes with pride for its own sorority.
I am normally a very Panhellenic person. I enjoy friendships in every house and avoid trash talking other girls
because they wear different letters.
But during this one week, I feel the urge to paint my body blue, scream Kappa cheers from the top of Central Hall, pummel that darn Chi-O owl to a pulp, and snap the Pi Phi arrow over my knee. Perhaps it’s just my competitive side. Perhaps it’s the nature of Hillsdale College Greek Week.
Here at Hillsdale, you can always find assorted Chi Os and Pi Phis at the Kappa Kupcake Wars. I know the Pi Phis and Kappas wouldn’t miss Chi O’s pancakes for the world. But for Hillsdale Greeks, with three sorority houses and an average of only 70 girls participating in formal recruitment each year, things get personal as every house wants to make their favorite rushees into new sisters.
Relationships are strained again during Derby Days as the sororities search couch cushions for every last penny to raise money for the Sigma Chis’ philanthropic efforts. Agitation fills the air as women of all three houses are squished into crowded bleachers where they are forced to interact and be civil. But why is this so hard?
In reality, the houses on campus are all so obviously similar. Chi Omega, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Pi Beta Phi are huge national organizations, each with fantastic philanthropic efforts and deep appreciation for tradition and ritual. Each house was created to promote womanly behavior, love, and sisterhood. But somehow we forget to exercise these ideas with women outside of our specific house.
It’s crucial that we remind ourselves of these many similarities when tensions rise on Greek row. Especially our most important similarity: We’re all Hillsdale College students. We all struggle through Western Heritage, we all receive Bill Whorley’s email warnings, and we all cheer for the Chargers. We all chose Hillsdale and we all love Hillsdale. Isn’t that outstandingly unifying? Shouldn’t that be enough?
Maybe it’s not.
It’s time that Greek Week underwent a couple of positive changes. All Greek women could be mixed together, then separated into three teams composed of women from each house. This alternative would give women the chance to meet, play, and bond with women whom they might not know. A week where the letters come off means a week where the walls between the houses must come down.
And if the thought of mixing seems too extreme, maybe the Panhellenic council could rethink the events. Instead of throwing elbows during a basketball game, we should be racing tricycles. Instead of strategizing how to win the volleyball game, we should be putting on a fashion show and raising benefits for charity. Greek Week has the potential to change, and the potential to improve — we just have to let it.