Just A GDI

I did not rush my sophomore year, nor did I rush any of the pro­ceeding years. Many of my friends are affiliated with a Greek organi­zation; going Greek just wasn’t, and isn’t, something I am interested in doing. I am not bothered by the fact that Greek-affiliated students on campus proudly represent their respective sororities and fraternities with clothing garments donning their Greek symbols. I do not care that Greek members show love and appreciation for their organization through Facebook status updates and other social media outlets. I do care, and I am bothered by the fact that, as a non-Greek member, I am continuously labeled a GDI, or “God Damn Independent.”

Why should it bother me that my Greek-affiliated friends and ac­quaintances and Greek Life as a whole label me as a GDI? This label bothers me because it identifies me in my relation, or rather my non-affiliation, with Greek Life. Instead of being identified as a senior, an Apartment Manager or a soccer enthusiast, I am identified based on my relationship with Colgate’s Greek Life system. I take offense to this term because GDI clearly only encompasses negative connotations; those “god damn” students are too hard-headed to know that joining a Greek organization is the best thing they could have ever done.

It would be similar to defining someone in terms of their non-asso­ciation with athletics, a dance group or an a cappella group. It would be unheard of to do this, right? So why, then, should it be okay that people who wish to totally distance themselves from Greek affiliation are inadvertently forced to assume a role in relation to Greek Life by being labeled a “God Damn Independent?”

Most people would argue that if I’m not affiliated with a Greek organization, I should not be bothered by the various acronyms Greek organizations have for those outside the Greek system, uninterested in joining their organization. Some students are proud to assume the label of a GDI.

Perhaps because they want to be recognized as “going against the grain,” as an individual who is forced to make friends and develop relationships with people through other avenues (as the common say­ing goes, “I don’t want to pay to have friends,” which is a statement I neither endorse nor reprimand), I respect that people embrace the GDI label; however, doesn’t it seem backwards that you’re reveling in a term that defines you within the realm of Greek affiliation?

Stop defining me by what I chose not to join.

Contact Erin Nash at [email protected].