Saris and Nowiszewski: Taking Charge of the Inevitable

by Hannah Saris and Rebecca Nowiszewski | 10/16/14 10:08pm

Change is happening at Dartmouth. We all know it. On a campus of 4,000 driven and proactive undergrads, it’s hard not to recognize the transformations that occur each day. Many of these changes revolve around the Greek system and its role on campus.

As two active, affiliated women, we are familiar with the pros and cons of Greek houses. Being involved in Greek life has had an enormously positive impact on us. But we also recognize that many students, affiliated and unaffiliated, are unhappy with the current system. And they are certainly voicing their opinions.

Since 12F, our first term at Dartmouth, we have witnessed immense changes. Two that stand out are the six-week Greek ban on freshmen and the elimination of pledge term. In response, the number of voiced opinions has skyrocketed. Some wish to see the Greek system undergo major changes or even be completely eliminated. Yet there are those who wish Greek life could go back to the way it was in 12F.

With all the controversy regarding the changes, it is easy to lose sight of the ultimate goal. While the definition of “better” differs for everyone, overall as a student body, our goal is, or at least should be, to leave Dartmouth better than we found it.

There are many ways to reach this goal, but not every student will agree with the problem-solving path that we choose. Dartmouth is filled with bright, opinionated, creative students. We are a group of 4,000 students with 4,000 different ways of problem solving. That’s one of the many things that makes Dartmouth such an amazing place.

But since our student body is comprised of such a variety of individuals with strong opinions, we often butt heads when discussing the changes we want to see. Some of us are vocal with respect to the Greek system — writing articles, giving speeches, staging sit-ins. These dialogues are great — they show that people care about this little place in Hanover. Yet many of us are just watching these changes occur and then complaining about them.

Let’s take a step back and look at this from a broader perspective. Whether we like it or not, changes are occurring. Maybe the changes aren’t exactly what we hoped for, or maybe the changes are exactly what we envisioned. Either way, the changes are happening.

Instead of resisting the changes, we should feel honored to have the opportunity to tackle the challenge of making Dartmouth a better place. Let’s stop sitting around and complaining. Rather, let’s recognize the opportunity we have in front of us and get pumped about the potential impact we can make.

Change is inevitable, so let’s change Dartmouth for the better. We are all lucky to be part of this incredible school. So why not ensure that it remains incredible — or better yet, becomes even more incredible.

Hannah Saris '16 and Rebecca Nowiszewski '16 are guest columnists