Going Greek remains a part of the college cliché: Join a house, get wasted every weekend, schlep your way through classes and make lifelong friends — essentially, Animal House but in real life.
Last week, an article from a website called Betches Love This highlighted USC as a top national school, worthy of the “betchiest of betches.” Though true in many regards, something was missing from the portrayal of our school, as a large portion of the article was dedicated to Greek life.
Though it’s highly entertaining — who doesn’t love reading about scandalous house reputations? — Greek life isn’t the only way to become socially active on campus.
Non-Hellenic collegiate society, fear not! If you didn’t rush a house, then you’re automatically part of an even larger community known as Gamma Delta Iota. Though it uses the same lauded alphabet as our school’s finest, GDI means you belong without belonging. The term, which alternatively stands for godd–n independent, can be used ironically or seriously. Some join this group by choice, others when the rush process doesn’t pan out the way they imagined it would.
Either way, not being Greek doesn’t mean you’re out of the loop when it comes to having an enviable social life, despite what recent articles might suggest. There are plenty of ways to make the most of it even when you can’t partake in Fratty Friday. After all, GDIs invented GDIF (godd–n it’s Friday) — kind of like TGIF, but so much better.
Greeks may have The Row, but GDIs have rows and rows of other streets at their disposal. Nobody throws a real house party like the houses located beyond the relative safety of 28th Street; the danger of not knowing whether the Department of Public Safety or the Los Angeles Police Department will show up only adds to the hedonistic revelry. Isn’t everything a little more thrilling when you know you’re not allowed to do it?
GDIs might not have personalized tank tops, but that’s half the charm. You can’t encompass their interesting qualities in a witty shirt phrase.
Being GDI is really more of an attitude; in fact, you could be in a house and still think like a GDI. This attitude entails doing what you want, regardless of others’ opinions. The Betches article does a nice job of conveying this demeanor in its writing style, but its content is sorely lacking in diversity. The social life of any Trojan involves so much more than Monday night dinners and deliveries.
Trojan GDIs know how to make the most of their city; whether you’re originally from Los Angeles or not, there’s no excuse for not knowing your city like the back of your hand. GDIs at USC realize this and thus can navigate this neck of the woods far better than those written about in the Betches article.
Our school’s choice location allows us the best of nearly all Los Angeles has to offer. Unlike our furry rivals across town, we get street cred for living, as the article points out, “deep in the a–hole of Los Angeles.” We can engage in philanthropic activities with the surrounding community that enrich our students in ways other schools can’t offer.
Equally as important, Downtown Los Angeles is down the street. As in, go a few blocks up Figueroa Street and you have an endless supply of culturally rich entertainment at your disposal. LA Live is adequate for dinner and a movie, but a true Trojan GDI knows how to access the burgeoning neighborhoods and districts of Downtown.
It’s common knowledge to every GDI at USC that the Arts District is the go-to area for a good time. Urth Caffe and Wurstküche are popular destinations, but this district also has Eat.Drink.Americano, a tasty New American brewery, and the Novel Café, a great spot for coffee and finishing homework. Not to mention, the streets of this area are lined with thought-provoking street art that ranges from the mainstream — D*Face has graced some buildings with his work — to the abstract and absurd. What else could a free-thinker ask for?
For the classier nights that we all attempt to have, the Rooftop Bar at The Standard and The Edison are actually good selections, so there’s one thing done right in the Betches article. If you’re not into braving the streets of Downtown, however, our campus is surrounded by plenty of freeway options that can take you to other GDI hotspots: Los Feliz Village, Abbot Kinney and Silver Lake.
A large factor that separates Trojan GDIs from those of other schools is that our students actually do intermingle. Normally, GDI is used to separate the Greeks and non-Greeks, but being the culturally savvy Angelenos that we are, we know how to embrace the term and exploit the opportunity for diversity.
Like any other social label, such as being Greek, GDI and its implications should be taken with a grain of salt. Nobody can really be categorized by a few simple adjectives, especially Trojans. We play by our own rules and wouldn’t have it any other way — keeping true to the betchy spirit that makes us both envied and hated.
Nick Cimarusti is a junior majoring in English and Spanish. His column “Get Schooled” runs Mondays.