Column: Some anti-Greek sentiments

By Gus Bode

What is a GDI? At first I thought someone was trying to say GI Joe, but in fact it is a common phrase used by Greeks nationwide.

For those who have never heard the phrase, it stands for God-darned independent (at least the PG version). The first time I heard of GDI was at a national Greek conference. Although it’s been around for some time, I still wonder why people use it to begin with.

For a few decades now, students who aren’t Greek have had a negative image of those who are. A lot of students have common perceptions of how Greeks are portrayed in movies and the media. And while many of us in the Greek community know this is untrue, using phrases like GDI really doesn’t help our case.


While I’m sure a lot of Greeks don’t see any harm in the phrase, I feel it’s an unnecessary way to talk about people. Going Greek isn’t for everyone. That shouldn’t make them a “GDI,” which can seemingly turn them into a derogatory or substandard person.

Many of us have friends outside of the Greek community. Some of us even live with non-Greeks. So why would we classify or segregate people who are our friends by referring to them as anything but a student or friend?

It really boils down to things like this phrase that give non-affiliated students some of the common misconceptions they have about the Greek community. Why would someone want to go Greek if he feels like he is judged or discriminated against as a normal student?

Of course, GDI isn’t the only Greek terms I learned at the conference. Among some of the funnier ones were “sorostitute” and “fraterniture.” Both of them are combinations of words that refer to sorority women in a belittling context. And while I’ll leave their word origins to your imagination, this is a prime example of how Greeks can shoot themselves in the foot.

Although I haven’t heard these terms used at SIU, they’re in the word banks of Greeks all over America. If fraternities and sororities can’t respect each other there is little reason to hope that people outside the Greek community will.

It astounds me how much Greeks and regular students hate each other at some campuses. While perusing the urban dictionary for the definition of GDI, the 20 some-odd definitions were littered with Greek student versus non-affiliated student content that makes South Park look TV-14.

We at SIU are in a unique position to build new bridges with the student body as we phase out of Greek Row and into the throes of off-campus housing. Let’s not waste it. Other systems at other schools are fighting an uphill battle with students in the public relations field – we can get a fresh start.


As the Greek community continues to grow, I challenge everyone to remember what it was like to be a “GDI.” While some of us knew we were going Greek from the beginning, I would say a fair amount of us who came into college with the same anti-Greek sentiments many students express today.

Sophie is a junior studying radio-television and journalism.