Greek rivalry unproductive, meaningless

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We watched and listened as a few innocent frat guys walked across a parking lot toward their house. In perfect harmony, a large group of men from another house began an unwarranted onslaught of verbal harassment directed toward the unsuspecting victims. The crude chant echoed until the last victim opened the door to his house, turned, threw up a finger and walked inside. As students of the same university (including one with heavy greek affiliation), is such a "rivalry" healthy for anyone?

Friendly rivalry is essential for competitions that yield mutual benefits: intramurals, philanthropies and even academics. It would seem optimally productive, however, for cordiality to be the de facto status of interfraternal relations. DePauw is far too small and interconnected to maintain this unjustifiable bitterness. We are all guilty at one point or another of bashing another fraternity or sorority, but to the extent the sentiment of mutual hate appears in our greek community, it brings us all down as a result.

Please, wear your letters, make the best sheet signs, raise the most money to fight hunger and be proud of your house. Beyond that, we all find ourselves in the same situation — students at an educational institution. The destructive nature of sorority v. sorority or fraternity v. fraternity only enhances the negative connotations associated with greek life. Clearly, we as a campus have much more to offer this world than slanderous rhetoric. Unfortunately, a brick through a window or a stolen fraternity crest overshadow the true accomplishments of DePauw students.

One of the many mutual values of the greek community is pride for the greek system as a whole; the decision to join a house is the decision to join the greek community. Notwithstanding a possible rivalry with non-greek members of the campus community, it would seem to everyone's benefit to pride oneself not only on the house he or she has joined, but on the decision to join an organization which distinguishes itself from others in the world — a greek house.

We are afforded innumerable opportunities during our four years here. It is a mistake to not get involved on campus or capitalize on some of the academic opportunities made available. The biggest mistake that a student can make, in our humble opinions, is the failure to pursue a friendship because the other person has different letters on their shirt. We are in an environment saturated with some of the best minds in the world, yet we trivialize this opportunity and fractionalize our campus.

Ladies, call the girl who broke your heart when she went to a different house and realize that although you will not share a handshake, you can still share much more. Gentlemen, let go of your egos for a while and realize even if we stop mocking other houses the beer will still be cold and girls will still come over. The differences we seem to create to distinguish between letters from a language none of us can speak shouldn't destroy friendships — those differences should create them. Our campus is far too smart, too alike and too small for meaningless rivalries.

­— Burns is a sophomore from West Lafayette, Ind., majoring in political science. Kirkpatrick is a sophomore from Overland Park, Kan., majoring in political science. They are the hosts of DePauwlitics, heard every Tuesday from 8-9 pm on 91.5 WGRE. opinion@thedepauw.com