Non-Greeks can still maintain a social life

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.

27 replies
  1. I agree with the article
    I agree with the article says:

    Sometimes I wish we could poll the entire community at USC with their image of fraternities with two simple answers: good or bad.

    Maybe there is a good side to fraternities, but the image that comes out of The Row is not entirely a positive one as many of the above comments have pointed out. Moreover, the more prevalent frat guys always seem pompous and obnoxious. I don’t think that Greek life is all about this, but the image I get is it’s all about partying and screwing every “hot” girl you see.

    Greeks have an image problem; it’s not our fault the rest of us may think negatively of you guys. Most importantly, you say we don’t know because we aren’t exposed but the whole system is quite selective and closed. You either have to be Greek or a girl to be exposed to The Row.

  2. Let's Be Real
    Let's Be Real says:

    Criticizing “Betches Love This” for only highlighting Greek Life at USC is like criticizing E! News for not covering the 2012 political campaign.

  3. Sad Individual
    Sad Individual says:

    This article, but most notably the comments section, has instilled in me some real sadness about this school that I love so. Never seen so much hideous jealousy oozing from ill-intended words. Get a life, geeds.

  4. Melanie Mathis
    Melanie Mathis says:

    I just think it’s interesting that greek life at USC seems to only be The Row. There are 4 other greek councils aside from what we see on the row but no one mentions us. Good thing is that we are never associated with the more negative comments and such but the bad thing is that people don’t know enough about greek life at our school to know there is more to the diversity in Greek life than people assume and that we don’t all fall into a common stereotype.

  5. Richard Burns
    Richard Burns says:

    Being in a Fraternity or Sorority does not necessarily mean getting drunk every nite, etc. Rather, most of the Fraternities and Sororities I am familiar with, and I am a regional officer for one of the very best Fraternities, made very famous by one of your Graduates who was very prominent in many motion pictures, etc. Our Fraternity teaches us the three main ingredients for a good life are Friendship, Justice and Learning. It has nothing to do with Animal House and, for what it is worth, that picture made its backers many millions of dollars at the expense of the Fraternities and Sororities it slandered and made fun of. But, in truth, one of the greatest benefits I personally have derived was the great networking that I was allowed to enjoy over the past 44 years since my initiation, not to mention the many wonderful friendships I have made since then and the great pleasure I have giving back to the undergraduates who I regularly interact with several times during the school year. I am very proud of what I see of the many young men who have chosen to become Fraternity men in my fraternity and several others I am familiar with. Of course you do have your exceptions and we are only too painfully aware of those but, to our credit, we do take the necessary steps to correct their behavior or, pull their chapter charter if the need calls for it. But, you should not condemn the many because of the few. My advice: find out more about your subject before you condemn everyone of them.

    • Mellissa
      Mellissa says:

      “Of course there are exceptions…. “I seriously hope you’re not trying to suggest that all frats and the ridiculous frat boys running around campus are mostly like yourself, Richard. Your experience with frats as “young men” who make “wonderful friendships” and “great networking” is the real exception.

      Shall I repeat: YOU’RE the exception. You cannot deny the inordinate amount of homophobia, sexism, and racism running rampant in the Greek Row at USC. I’m so tired of the few whiney frat people who are subject to slight criticism and jest like this article, and then y’all throw around the fact that you actually do a bunch of philanthropy and other BS y’all spew it as IF it makes up for or legitimizes the insipid frat and sorority culture you all have festering. Maybe you should quit doing philanthropy and work on educating your own communities instead. And you’re an absolute joke if you think frats address or “Take the necessary steps to correct their behavior.”

      My advice: Get a clue. The condemnations are completely legitimate, and rather than deny the obvious discrepancies from what YOU think frat world is like (which sounds like a la-la land of white people prancing around the corporate world while holding hands in brotherly love…sober) and from what’s reality, take responsibility for the community you seem to have so much pride in. Reality is females at USC are date-raped on the row frequently. Homophobia is rampant. Sexism is rampant. Wake up.

      • Steve
        Steve says:


        You words are truly spoken like someone who only has familiarity with Greek life through what you have seen on TV and in films and what you have read in articles like this one. So my advice to you: get a clue.

        We preach about “wonderful friendships” and “great networking” because they are not the exception, they are the RULE. It is the number one benefit that has become the product of those 4 years in the fraternity, and I have seen this amongst “young men” from every single house on the row.

        Of course the things that you associate with our “insipid” culture do occur: we do drink, we do throw parties and certain members throw out homophobic and sexists slurs. But these are 17 and 18 year old boys who join these fraternities, I would hasten to bet that you would find the exact same behavior in a group of 17/18 year boys in the college environment outside of the fraternity system. But the truth is that the men who mature in their 4 years in the fraternity system will by and large, and disproportionately, be not only the biggest contributors to the university, but to their communities and society at large – and I am not just saying this, we have statistical proof. And please refrain from throwing out accusation of date rape without any real argument – in my 4 years at USC and involvement since then there were far more sexual harassment and sexual abuse cases brought forward involving non-Greeks than Greeks.

        And for our alleged 20 percent presence amongst undergrads it is a fact that we are far more involved in philanthropic activities than our 80 percent non-Greek peers – and not just our on Row activities but involvement in JEP, the USC Volunteer center and community outreach.

        So wake up Melissa, maybe visit one of the sororities in any of our Greek Councils and see the contributions that the system makes to the lives of its members.

        So wake up Melissa.

  6. Kane Liffin
    Kane Liffin says:

    “I laugh knowing you reside in the chlamydia, gonorrhea, yeast-infected cesspool known as 28th St. Keep acting cool knowing the only friends you have are the ones you were forced to artificially bond with.”

    “I’m sorry my family doesn’t make enough money for me to waste on your precious frat-star life that you seem to only know about.”

    It’s funny how much these GDI’s seem to stereotype the Greek population.

    I’ve had a single lifestyle while being in a frat and never had to deal with sexually questionable situations or the STD’s you’re referring too. I am now in a healthy, stable relationship with a girl in another house.

    As for the bonding i’ve had with my friends, while it may be considered “artificial” in some way, it took me out of my comfort zone and has created what will be true, loyal, and lasting friendships. And that’s with all of the brothers in my house, not only a small group.

    My fraternity has also instilled in me a great work ethic and taught me never to be complacent and always strive to be a better person.

    Regarding the financial issues of going greek, I’m fortunate enough to have my parents pay for part of my dues, the other end of which I pay for myself. I have friends who take jobs and pay for the entire share of their dues, and others who have found ways to negotiate their dues to be more convenient for them. Money should NEVER be a reason to not join a house; some arrangement can always be figured out.

    With all of this said, the Greek community has a higher GPA than the collective USC student body AND we party harder than you.

    So please, don’t be bitter.

    • rudeb
      rudeb says:

      Bahaha, yeah, you guys go SO hard. I went to a few frat parties as a freshman before learning to avoid them like the plague and find the real fun. From what I can tell, they’re just a bland, watered down excuse for a good time. You guys don’t know the meaning of the word ‘party’…. so I guess the guys act sexually predatory to make up for the boring vanilla-ness of it all. When I think of all the sexual assault that goes unreported/covered up, I feel so bad for the girls :(

      Also, you guys whine about your poor reputation, but you bring it all upon yourselves. Oh yeah, and no one else cares about your garbage including the artificially inflated GPAs. You don’t have any relevance to the rest of us here, but I had to reply to this.

      • This Fuckin' Guy
        This Fuckin' Guy says:

        You could come up with all the bullshit stereotypes in the world, and spout them until the end of time, like I know you will, but don’t try to tell us we don’t know how to party.

        If you partied in high school, you must have known how cool it would be in college to have your own house with tons of friends, a great ratio of guys to girls guaranteed, and an absurd amount money to use on parties (in relation to high school, there are also no noise complaints from the neighbors!). This recipe has held constant since the beginning of time, and in any context holds true.

        I am only neglecting explaining the other innumerable benefits in this short comment for the sake of time. Actually, you know about them all – you just don’t know them at all.

    • Ras
      Ras says:

      It is hard for me to hold a grudge against a guy named “Kane” – I am sure you must have had it hard so far in life…You do understand most non-frat people treat Greeks like a buzzing fly – it only comes to mind when it is in front of you – otherwise you really do not give it a second thought. The only reason most non-frat ppl are even responding is that they ones we do run into – always end up being “that guy” who can only be described as having Spencer Pratt – level douchebaggery. Who is Spencer Pratt you say? Isn’t he a has-been for 4 years now? Exactly – that is what will happen to you boys after you graduate…

      • Obvious
        Obvious says:

        did this geed really not get the whole ‘kane liffin’ thing? and then try to mock the guy for his name? hahahhah

        • Ras
          Ras says:

          …nothing like a frat douche beating his chest and screaming there is a “hidden” joke when everyone is already in on the joke. Thx for being that guy douche-bro-guy!!!

  7. Rudeb
    Rudeb says:

    LOL, FUN EXISTS OUTSIDE OF SKANK THE ROW?!? The mouth-breather who wrote this must be a freshman

    for the record, I’m on my 5th year here (MA) and I’m sure I’ve had far more fun than any of these one-celled brain Greeks

    • ras
      ras says:

      RB, in a scant 3 years, you will be very ashamed you used the word “bro”. Sort of like feathering your hair in the 80’s and then having the incriminating photos haunt in later in the future. You sound like a colossal douchebag. I laugh knowing you reside in the chlamydia, gonorrhea, yeast-infected cesspool known as 28th St. Keep acting cool knowing the only friends you have are the ones you were forced to artificially bond with.

        • Ras
          Ras says:

          RB – no need to be sorry for partying – in fact I want you to party harder! I want you to bang your way through all the sororities and then start with the fraternities (we all know you boys know the full meaning of Greeking…) After all the keg stands and beer bongs go find another frat bro that graduated 10 years prior and see if he will give you a job. I graduated a while ago and it is hilarious how you can always spot the office douche that was in a frat. Sort of a sad sight. He always ends up being “that guy” in the office.

          • Steve
            Steve says:

            That’s funny Ras – in all the companies I worked at and had internships at, including Apple and Disney, the fraternity men were the ones that had advanced their careers the fastest but I guess that could be “that guy”. But maybe you didn’t get the best job out of college – what with having no fraternity connection and an inability to recognize a play on words (FYI, the poster above Kane Liffin is making a play on Lane Kiffin, who happens to be the football coach of USC, his name probably isn’t Kane as you seemed to think above).

    • Mike W.
      Mike W. says:

      I’m sorry my family doesn’t make enough money for me to waste on your precious frat-star life that you seem to only know about.

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