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The campus that parties together

By Brad Wallace
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 24, 1998
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Brad Wallace

Prepare yourselves for a shocking reversal of opinion: Yeah, the Greek system is OK. Recently, there's been a lot of vitriolic mail in the Wildcat about Tara Taylor's incompetence, which I've already weighed in on, however, a lot of these commentaries seem to focus on her membership in the Greek society here at UA.

There's no doubt that our campus is deeply divided on the issue of the Greek system - generally people in the ResLife program hate the entire Greek world and the Greeks protest that they're unjustly persecuted.

Speaking from my own experience, the reason that the dorm rats hate the Greeks so much is jealousy. While I was crammed into a cell at Yuma, sucking what little social interaction I could get from hall activities, the Greek crew just up the street were enjoying what sounded like Bacchian orgies of delight, and their houses look a hell of a lot spiffier than the dorms do.

There's no RA system, and it seems that in general, a Greek house has a lotmore fun to offer per se than a dorm cubicle.

There's also the undeniable fact that Greeks are committed to the community. Whatever their motivations, they require a large amount of community service from every member. The RHA program has no similar requirement. Sure, there's plenty of opportunity to join in volunteer programs and service organizations in ResLife, but only a small dedicated minority does so. Easy access to BlackJack pizza and a T1 connection in every room make the greater needs of our community seem so unimportant.

Tradition? The Greeks are capri-pants deep in the stuff, maintaining secret creeds and rituals that are even older than Dorm Daze I. There's also scores of famous business and politician types that cite a Greek experience as important to their success. Powerful alumni write big checks every year to keep the keg stands going.

The flip side of the coin is obvious, nearly clicheacute;. The Greeks party like the Rolling Stones, only with less restraint. They are elitist, spoiled and materialistic. Rumor has it that they even have a selection process for membership, and not just everyone can wear the ever-so-fashionable Greek pins.

Why should they have open parties where any yahoo from the dorms can wander in? After all, they have to pay big dues both financially and emotionally to be part of the club.

[Picture] Both groups are responsible for the intense bad blood that flows down Second Street, the line of demarcation between ResTurf and GreekLand.

Why aren't there more opportunities for both societies (I almost typed, castes) to mingle? Other than the occasional intramural sport, most ResLifers never have the chance to actually have any meaningful interaction with those of Greek persuasion.

Particularly, why doesn't UA sponsor any parties? I'm not talking stand on the Mall and listen to KAMP or a promising local band parties, but the real deal with alcohol and loud devil rock. Many universities do, and it would open a whole new world to everyone who lives in the square mile of red brick we call home. I'm sure that if the price was low enough, maybe even free (chuckle chuckle), that a large turnout from every social strata would drop by.

Of course, it would be a planning and logistical nightmare. After all, someone would have to check IDs and provide security.

Just because countless hole-in-the-wall bars across Tucson can do it doesn't mean that our university with it's megamillion budget could provide the same.

What sort of message would that send anyway? That college students do in fact, party an awful lot, and that the university would be granting tacit approval? Or perhaps that the university is interested in building a campus community of friends, starting with the lowest common denominator, namely fun?

There are significant and important differences between all of the societies present here at UA. Nonetheless, there's no reason for us to hole up and point fingers. Hell, this is just college. Let's have some fun together. There'll be time enough for bitter isolationism in the real world.

Brad Wallace is a creative writing and molecular and cellular biology senior. His column, Handful of Dust, appears every Tuesday and he can be reached via e-mail at