Currently as a junior and a rising senior, I have been a part of Trinity’s Greek life for three years now. In these three years, I have made friends, pushed myself to the limit of being a leader as vice president and service chair for my sorority, Chi Beta Epsilon, and I am currently the service chair for Greek Council. Of course, I am biased about the recent SGA denial of Greek Council’s budget. However, this does not only affect me, but also 25 percent of Trinity’s community, as well as non-affiliated members of the student body.
When I first came to Trinity, I had no intention of being a part of Greek life. I knew that it was completely different from national programs found at other schools, but I was still not sure as to how. After the extensive recruitment process, I found myself in a club that accepted me for who I was. Whether or not you choose to be a part of a Greek organization is totally up to you, but I honestly hope that every single student who comes to Trinity for any amount of time finds a place like I did. I entered an organization that did not judge me based on anything other than the fact (I hope) that they thought I was someone who they saw potential in. I have never been into the party scene (really, we do exist: you can ask my friends) and that was definitely not the reason I joined Greek life at Trinity. I joined because I realized that a quarter of the student body can do a lot of good, even in a city like San Antonio, which has more than one million people.
While I could have sat in the background of the Betas, I was given an amazing opportunity in the fall of 2015, as a sophomore, to attend a leadership retreat hosted by Greek Council called Greek U. Despite being a sophomore who thought she knew everything, I learned a lot about leadership and how to make connections work in a more serious and thought-provoking environment — college. Because of Greek U, within that same week, I was elected vice president and service chair of my organization. If I hadn’t gone to Greek U, I would have never had the confidence to do anything like that. That is not why I joined Beta, and it never even crossed my mind before someone suggested it to me.
Fast forward a year to the fall of 2016, when I was encouraged by members of my club to run for Greek Council. I was absolutely terrified. I tried to put on a brave face and pretend that everything was fine, but in reality I had nightmares about making a complete fool of myself, thinking that I was not at all qualified to help lead this many students. But now that I’m on Greek Council, reflecting my time spent at Greek U as well as in officer positions in my own club, my confidence in my ability to at least try to do the best I can do has increased tremendously. My parents noticed, my extended family noticed and my friends from back home noticed. I am no longer the scared little girl that they sent off two years ago about five hours from home.
It saddens me to think that because SGA has denied Greek Council’s budget proposal, other people will not be able to experience even a few of the same things I’ve experienced while at Trinity. Whether students know this or not, every single one of us pays something called the “Student Activity Fee” as part of our tuition. This money is allocated to fund Trinity’s clubs, including Greek Council, which is designated as one of six University-Sponsored Organizations. SGA, our elected student governing body, is in charge of distributing the money throughout all of Trinity. By denying Greek Council’s budget, they are basically saying that 25 percent of their constituents don’t deserve or are not “good enough” to be funded by Trinity. For those outside of Greek life, I urge you to empathize with us and to put yourselves into our shoes. How would you feel if your club or organization did not get the money needed to help support all of the good things your individual club brings to Trinity?
This is where we are. Your elected SGA senators have the power to decide where they want to put our money. No matter what clubs you’re in, it is not OK that they have rejected funding 25 percent of the student population without any reason attached to the decision. Again, it makes me to sad to think that some other person in my same situation will not have the opportunity to grow. After all, Trinity encourages us to discover, grow and become. How are we to grow if we are being constrained?
I want to conclude by saying that as a first- year, I was a part of many organizations. Those people who I had contact with my first semester, as well as the now many after, will have forever changed me on my way to great leadership positions. Many of these people were not in Greek life and have no affiliation to it whatsoever. It is not my intention to exclude individuals of Trinity’s wonderful population. I believe that we all have gifts in this world and it has never been a part of my personality to be exclusive in any way. While I cannot speak for everyone in Greek life, it has been my own personal mission to go beyond just “Greeks.” If it was not for Greek Council and the programs it hosted thanks to previous budgets, I might have left Trinity a long time ago.