Column: It’s all Greek to me

By Gus Bode

Life is funny. As I write this article in class, I can’t help but laugh that I have a column to promote Greek life when, ironically, I chose SIUC so that I wouldn’t have to deal with fraternities.

After all, who wants to be hazed, forced to drink insane amounts of alcohol and live in a house with 40 drunken idiots who are abusive to women? Besides that, I’m not comfortable with popping my collar or having the color pink in my wardrobe. I would rather have stuck a pen in my eye than become the elitist scum bag known as “the frat boy.”

Before I go into why I made a quick U-turn, let me first tell you a bit about myself. I am a junior here at SIUC, double-majoring in radio/TV and journalism. I have the honor of serving as the Inter-Greek Council vice president, the president of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and I am a walk-on member of the University swim team.


Now, I didn’t get on the team right away, so the first two months of freshman year I was pretty lost. When you swim for 14 years, life gets confusing when it suddenly stops. So when I met the only social kid on my floor, I bonded with him right away. He was a sophomore, so he basically helped me adjust to life here in Carbondale.

Within a week I had been introduced to his fraternity and met his brothers. His brothers, to my surprise, were far from the “frat boy” image to which I had pictured them. These were kids who wore T-shirts, used the phrase “boomskies,” talked to everyone and gave a rather rousing rendition of Natalie Imbruglia at one in the morning – they were, you know, goofballs. And I fit right in.

Despite taking to these guys right away, I remained steadfast in my anti-fraternity mindset. Then I attended the alumni weekend tailgate. Watching a number of old men reliving events far too explicit to recall in this column, I knew that this kind of brotherhood was exactly what I wanted.

I accepted their bid that week. When I was associated, they treated me as though I had been a brother for years. I wasn’t pressured into joining, they didn’t look down upon me as a pledge and I was seriously never hazed (seriously!).

This was just my experience. For every fraternity man, there is a story of how and why he became involved with his brothers. Every fraternity has something to offer that no other group on this campus can. Some do wear collared shirts, while others, I am convinced, don’t own a single shirt with sleeves – you know who you are.

But seriously, for those who are interested in becoming a fraternity man, or if you’re just a little curious, there is a bags tournament coming up on Saturday, Sept. 25 at Rinella Field from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The first place duo is taking home two $75 gift cards to Wal-Mart and anyone is welcome to attend. I hope to see you all out there!

Ray Sophie is a junior majoring in radio/TV and journalism.