More than just a party
A graduating senior shines a light on Greek life
It’s not hard to find examples of hard-partying fraternity and sorority members on display in Chico, but being part of the Greek system doesn’t have to be about living out the stereotypes. Partying has been, is, and always will be an aspect of college life, Greeks included, but assuming that’s all there is misses a lot of aspects that aren’t so visible. As a member of a fraternity for my last three years of school, I can attest to the fact that what it means to be Greek is much broader in scope.
For me, it’s been about finding the friends I’ll have, without a doubt, for the rest of my life. It’s been about having the opportunity to lead, and be led by, those same friends, achieving goals that wouldn’t have been possible working alone. It’s also been about trying to have a positive impact on our community through philanthropic efforts during Greek Week; the Up ’til Dawn fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; and other community-service events each fraternity and sorority spearheads every year.
It’s been about the best aspects of being a part of a community, one that strives to embrace the ideals of friendly competition, mutual respect and creating better men and women. Like all groups, we don’t achieve these goals on a daily basis, but I’ve learned that working toward them is the best hope for a strong and bright future world.
My life as a member of the Greek community began when I first moved into my Whitney Hall dorm room in the fall of 2006. I left Southern California to forge a new life for myself, find new friends and hopefully find my true calling. I soon realized this was much easier said than done. But I was blessed to have two outstanding and caring roommates to help ease my transition. They were my first brothers. We shared everything: food, printing paper, clothes, money, laughs, tears and memories.
I was also fortunate to live on a floor of Whitney that had an overall great community of guys that I wouldn’t trade for anything. They became my second family. They were my teammates, my drinking buddies, my shoulders to lean on, and the keepers of some of my greatest memories.
As freshman year came to a close, I thought it would be the end of that story and that we’d all be on our own. Then, one day, one of my floormates pulled me into his room and asked me to be one of the founding fathers of a new fraternity in Chico. I admit the idea seemed unreal to me at first, but with an optimistic yet somewhat uncertain feeling, I said yes. It turned out to be a defining moment in my Chico State career.
Starting a fraternity was anything but easy. It took well over a year and a half to file the papers with the national office, raise the money in order to be financially sound, and, most important, choose the best group of men possible to start a new fellowship on campus. Whenever we came close to receiving our charter, we would lose guys for various reasons and dip below the requirement. But eventually that dorm-room conversation finally evolved into a Chico chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity in September 2008.
Running the fraternity has been the most rewarding and challenging experience of my life. It can be difficult for some Greeks to uphold any standards, fraternal or otherwise, in a town like Chico that’s full of temptations. But at its best, being Greek is about striking a balance between enjoying the social experience of Chico and college, and learning how to become an academic and community leader.
Some of my most priceless memories during my Chico State years have not been nights of heavy partying. I will never forget helping my brothers practice so hard for the Greek Week talent shows, and the feeling of ecstatic accomplishment after winning the competition two years in a row. I will never forget playing in fraternity league basketball games, and how our electric crowds took my mind back to my playing days in high school. I will never forget the men who were once complete strangers during rush week, but whom I know without a doubt will be by my side at my wedding.
As a member of the Greek community, I have seen more Greeks win Associated Students officer positions, and slowly we are working to curb the negative stigma that has shadowed the Chico chapters in recent years.
For those of you coming to Chico State this fall, I’d suggest you at least entertain the idea of going Greek. I understand it may not be for everyone, but I know from experience that the preconceptions of what it’s all about don’t match the reality. No one can be absolutely sure without at least checking it out.
For those of you who decide to rush next spring, pledging an organization is one of the toughest, and potentially the most rewarding, experiences you could have in college. If you do wish to join this community, it should be with the intention of becoming one of the leaders this campus seeks. And you just may discover a family of friends you wouldn’t exchange for anything.