By Tony Peroni and Vinny Cooper
Whether you spend your Saturdays tucked away in the library or downing alcoholic beverages with your boys in a musty Ewing basement, Greek life is an undeniable staple of college. For every fraternity, there is a set of universal constants –– every fraternity domicile has a “house dog” named something like “Steve” or “Topanga,” there is at least ONE brother in each fraternity with a Jon Belushi “COLLEGE” sweater and whatever fraternity you join, no matter your interests or social standing, brotherhood is ceaseless and family is eternal.
I thought this sounded pretty cool — I love dogs with human names, I already own a Jon Belushi sweater and I only have like 12 sisters at home, so yeah, I’m in the mood for some nice, manly brotherhood. I went on the College’s Wikipedia page and found a bunch of really cool man clubs, like Phi Ayy Dee, Ligma Alpha Epsilon and Delta Tow Delta. In addition, I found out about a bunch of even cooler and secret-er off-campus fraternities, such as (REDACTED), (REDACTED) and who can forget about (REDACTED)!! Those guys are literally insane, I heard they made this one guy (STILL REDACTED)!! And then they (REDACTED YET AGAIN)!!
All winter, I sat alone in my room picturing myself hanging with my future boys. I could almost feel the money draining out of my wallet. The moment TCNJ Snap started posting flyers for spring rush, you bet your sweet patootie that I attended every single gosh darn interest session –– I was extremely interested. I met every single brother, rushed every single org and before I knew it, my sweet baby man charm swooned each and every one of them. To my surprise, I was offered a bid from every single Greek life organization on campus, and surprisingly, did not get hazed once.
Six weeks came and six weeks went. It was finally the day of my big initiation. I was about to become a member of every single fraternity, including Beta Apple Pie, Phi Moo Alpha and the funny bird one where the guys sleep in a big tent on Green Lawn. Triumphant and proud of my accomplishments, I ordered my Uber immediately and arrived at Trenton-Mercer airport. It was time for me to visit the motherland.
As I stepped off of the plane, a large man with a thick and luxurious beard greeted me. He was smiling very big and very wide as if I was a long lost sibling or… brother?!?
Is this my Big? I assumed so. I grabbed my Big’s hand and gave it a good shake. I replied, “Hello Big, it is great to finally meet you! Now let us do the things that TCNJ Greek life has promised me would happen by joining a brotherhood!”
My excitement was soon drowned in sorrow. To my disappointment, Greek life failed me. Big time. Instead of lifting weights with the boys or going to Rho on a Thursday night, my Big, who I later learned was named Stavros, made me herd sheep and drink goat milk with him in the Greek highlands. From the crack of dawn to the brink of dusk, the only nourishment I had for a month and a half was Chobani yogurt and hummus. I refused to eat anything else as a way of protesting against the lack of Saturdays I thought would be strictly being dedicated “to the boys.”
What can we learn from this debacle? I rushed every single fraternity at the College, made lifelong bonds, created a ridiculous amount of memories and found my place in the heart and soul of Ewing, New Jersey.
Yet, I was also stranded in the Greek countryside for several weeks, forced to learn the craft of the shepherd at the hands of my Big, Stavros. Nobody came to my rescue and I didn’t see a single dog with a funny human name.
Whatever path you choose, I suggest doing your research first, fellow Lions. Before you jump into any extracurriculars, I can tell you this –– Greek life was not at all what I thought it would be.