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To Greek, or not to Greek: Why joining isn’t vital to the UNH experience

Courtesy Claire Cortese

In February 2016, Cosmopolitan magazine featured the University of New Hampshire’s sorority recruitment video on their website, stating that the “ridiculous and amazing and wonderful and bonkers” video was so breathtaking, it was making the grown women at the magazine want to enroll at UNH and participate in the Greek community.

If you haven’t seen the video, I encourage you to look it up, because it is pretty spectacular.  However, I also encourage you to not let the fantastic cinematography and whimsical activities make you believe that sorority and fraternity life is the best part of UNH, and feel as though you must be a part of it to capture the full experience that Durham has to offer.   

When first stepping onto a college campus, it’s easy to feel like a small fish in a big pond. The size and scope of the UNH campus may seem unnerving. One day you are graduating high school, and the next you are surrounded by 12,000 people you have never seen before.

Due to this aspect, joining a fraternity or sorority on campus may initially seem like the easiest way to guarantee your place in the intimidatingly large UNH social scene. However, I can promise you that Greek life is not the only way to find a niche in the UNH community.  

Because of the UNH Student Body’s magnitude, there is always someone who shares your interests, passions and goals. Luckily, in order to accommodate the varying interests, there are over 250 student organizations on campus, ranging from music clubs and hobby groups, to organizations fighting for social justice and everything in between.  

It’s sort of like phone apps. Do you like community service? There’s a club for that. Interested in juggling? There’s a club for that. Have you always wanted to try Geocaching? Yes, there really is a club for that too. So whether you have a passion for sports or sustainability (or both), there will always be something for you to get involved in on campus.

Here’s the best part: for most of these student organizations, no prior experience is necessary and there is a trial period where you can feel out a couple meetings before deciding if you’re interested in joining. This means there’s no “rush” process, and no pressure.  

If you’re concerned about the social events that come with being in Greek life, almost all other student organizations put on cocktails, socials and events just like they do in sororities or fraternities 

As if those aren’t enough reasons, by joining these organizations you also gain the opportunity to meet people who share your passions and interests, which may ultimately lead to finding your niche at this school.  

Now, if you have a true passion for philanthropy or a sense of sisterhood and brotherhood, then Greek life may be the place for you.  But if you just have a desire to make friendships, then there are plenty of other organizations to get involved with that will give you the same connections while also involving you in something you are passionate about.

Greek life is a part of the ecosystem at UNH, but it is not the only part, and it is certainly not necessary in being successful at college. The only necessities to make your time at UNH an unforgettable experience are an open mind and a desire to make connections with new, exciting people.  

So keep your mind open, be sure to try out as many new clubs as you desire and try not to be too nervous about the social aspect of college. As long as you follow your passions, you will be immensely successful in whatever you do.  

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