I am writing in support of the Greek proposal to address some of the most visible and pressing issues at Dartmouth today. It has been said countless times, but let me echo it once more: my involvement with the Greek community was invaluable to my experience at Dartmouth, and I strongly urge the administration and faculty to support its continuation. I “believe that it serves a strong and enduring purpose at Dartmouth, that helps the College fulfill its mission of producing outstanding and well-rounded men and women.” Two years after graduation, I continue to be so happy that I rushed and actively participated in a Greek house on campus. My national sorority gave me lifelong friends, shelter from the chaos that is the D-Plan, a connection to other Greek women across America, leadership experience, a beautiful place to live for nearly two years, and constant academic and social support without which I would have felt perpetually lost at Dartmouth. I’ll go into in more detail about the last part. I’ve read others’ criticisms that Greek involvement distracts students from academics; clearly, those critics did not see our Great Hall during finals period. Otherwise, they would have seen our table covered in library books and study snacks. They would have seen us alternate between typing furiously on laptops, sharing academic tidbits with each other that ranged from quantum physics to identity politics to the mating habits of lemurs, and taking the occasional dance party break to keep ourselves happy and warm in that dark New Hampshire winter. In our sorority, we fostered an academic environment that encouraged passion for learning and celebrated each other’s academic successes, shunning the hyper-competitiveness I often saw elsewhere on campus. I supported my sisters by helping them practice before presentations and attending their class showcases. In turn, I was exposed to a variety of academic subjects outside of my major and elective courses that I otherwise would never have gotten to experience at Dartmouth (even a play written and produced jointly by students and inmates of a local women’s prison). As a result, my pledge class graduated 10 Phi Beta Kappa members and an additional 8 women graduated Cum Laude. During my Phi Beta Kappa induction, I joined many other members of the Greek community, with whom I had both worked on Engineering problem sets and celebrated after midterms, and I believe their Greek affiliations similarly contributed to their academic success. I’ve also read criticisms that fraternities and sororities are inherently exclusive because their membership is single-sex. While some students may seek to join a coed community, I felt more comfortable joining (not to mention, living in) a female-only house. The sisterhood I found there was indispensable to my survival at Dartmouth. The support and friendship of other Dartmouth women provided something I was not able to find anywhere else on campus. Some people who prefer coed social groups or living spaces have been trying to characterize Sisterhood and Brotherhood as malicious entities; I wish they could see the strength that I and hundreds of other Dartmouth students have drawn from it. In the same way they seek a certain environment to support them during their time at Dartmouth, so too have we sought traditional fraternities and sororities for the very same purpose. I completely understand that a single-sex house is not right for everyone, but it would be wrong to take away that option from the students who very much seek it.
2012 / Alpha Xi Delta