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As a member of the Student Senate, it is my duty to pinpoint issues of concern on campus and address them to the best of my abilities.
Two recent Kentucky Kernel columns, and the online comments that followed, show a major issue on campus is the division between Greek and non-Greek students. This disunion has created an unhealthy campus atmosphere that hinders UK’s goals.
Let me first say I do not intend to place blame on a certain group for this divide. I do not think the Greeks are solely responsible, nor do I think this is completely the fault of the non-Greeks. I believe we are all equally responsible for this divide.
Whether we started it or inherited it from previous generations of students, we must be held accountable for the animosity-filled atmosphere that exists. We are all at fault because we have done nothing to change it.
I also do not want to suggest that the Greek system should be disbanded altogether so a Greek/non-Greek divide would not have the chance to exist.
I think it is great that a student can come to UK and find an organization that improves his or her college experience. If that organization is Greek, then perfect. If that organization is non-Greek, then that is OK, too.
Rather than focusing on whether Greeks or non-Greeks do more community service or donate more money to charities, we should acknowledge that UK students as a whole are making a difference in the world.
The Greeks were scolded in online comments for only donating “$29.10” per person. While these numbers may not be accurate, still $29 is better than nothing.
We, of course, have no statistics on how much each individual UK student donated to charity, but I would venture to guess that the average would actually be much lower than $29.10 per person. However, as already mentioned, Greek affiliation or lack thereof should not matter.
What should matter is the positive effect that UK students are having on humanity.
We as students can do a lot to help this divide.
First and foremost, we need to evaluate the offensive language we use carelessly. Pejorative terms like “sorostitute” and “GDI” have no place on a college campus. They breed hatred, add distance between students and honestly reflect ignorance. The aggressive dialogue in the online comments is embarrassing to both sides.
Second, we need to acknowledge the countless benefits of all student organizations.
In the online comments, non-Greeks discredited the accomplishments of Greeks and vice-versa. Really, we should recognize the merit of both side’s contributions.
Greek organizations do in fact log many service hours and donate a large amount of money to charity. Their accomplishments should not go unnoticed.
At the same time, many non-Greek organizations, including service and honors fraternities and the Center for Community Outreach, also do a lot of community service and donate to charity. The achievements of these organizations should not be overlooked either.
Finally, we need to realize that we are all the same. We are all UK students. We all bleed red (well, blue). We all have emotions and feelings. We all want to make a difference.
Something as silly as Greek versus non-Greek affiliation should not divide us. Instead, our desire to cause change in this world should bring us together.
I understand this column might accentuate the divide by bringing attention to it. However, I hope by acknowledging the problem, we can solve it.
We have the opportunity to be known as the generation that overcame the divide between Greeks and non-Greeks. Let us make a difference.
Eli Edwards is a secondary English education, English and linguistics junior and a College of Education Senator. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.