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Greek life at UH connects commuters, campus, city in vast community

They have been legendary for decades as the genesis of societal and philanthropic professions. Marked as the threshold between blood-relatives and kindred souls who serve as family-away-from-family, sororities and fraternities have persisted through time as a means of human connection and ever-lasting bonds between colleagues.

Despite their deep-seated presence in institutions across the U.S., Greek organizations have wrongfully developed less than glowing reputations in the minds of our generation’s youth.

In Fall 2012, Princeton began prohibiting freshmen from affiliating with a sorority or fraternity or engaging in any form of “rush” during freshman year. President Shirley M. Tilghman declared that the decision to enact the ban “is driven primarily by a conviction that social and residential life at Princeton should continue to revolve around … the shared experience of nearly all undergraduates.”

However, UH sorority and fraternity members say not to buy in to the Hollywood spin on their traditions.

Social chair of the UH Kappa Alpha Order Mohammad Abou-Awad pledged in Spring 2010 and couldn’t be happier with his decision.

“I decided to go into the Greek system because me and my group of friends decided we wanted to create a student organization that would flourish by our graduation,” Abou-Awad said. “So we re-established the KA Order for UH.”

Cougars citywide may be surprised to find that one of the greatest connections to campus is through the students themselves and Greek members specifically. For commuters, this is especially true.

A study by the University of Missouri found that Greeks throughout the U.S. and Canada are more involved on their campuses and rate their overall university experience better. According to the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s National Statistics, 71 percent of all fraternity and sorority members graduate, while only 50 percent of non-members graduate. While this may seem overdramatized, Greek members may be at an advantage.

Affirming the impact Kappa Alpha has had on his college experience, Abou-Awad said, “I’ve been a lot more involved with the school and met a lot of people I probably wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t joined. I’ve also met a good alumni base that has helped me find internships.”

Opportunities like these are not uncommon within active alumni relationships. For new members and those who are uncertain of rushing, the experience is what you make of it.

“Give it a try because you don’t have to give a commitment,” Abou-Awad said. “If you feel that you meet people that match your standards, morals, and ideas and don’t want to change you as a person, go for it. “

To non-members seeking a greater connection, the Greek system is all around you. You’ll find members sitting together in their classes. You’ll find them helping each other study at the library. And you’ll almost always find them bearing their letters proudly as a sign of unification, of pride in something greater than they can describe.

If there are any doubters, as a newly bid “anchor baby” in the UH Gamma Sigma chapter of the Delta Gamma Fraternity, I can affirm that it’s never too late to come home.

Opinion columnist Alex Meyer is a creative writing freshman and may be reached at [email protected]

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