Late Sunday night and continuing through early this week, my university campus was threatened with violence against the Greek community and against the safety of the campus as a whole. Although the threats are unconfirmed at this point in time, the student body was and continues to be deeply shaken.
In Monday during classes, no one wore their letters. At the library, not a single set of letters was found. There were no spirit jerseys and no buttons on backpacks. While normally you can’t look two feet without a blatant reminder of our prominent Greek system, today it was different. There was a direct threat against the Greek system, one that scared people to the point where they weren’t willing to sport their letters (understandable to be honest). It was a stark change from the normal campus attire.
People didn’t look down to see the Greek affiliation on the front pocket of my tee shirt. There were no inherited judgements based off of what those letters are and there were no impressions to be made off of those ink lines on that piece of fabric. For the few days, everyone was letter-less.
And maybe that’s the point. This may turn out to be only a threat but beyond whatever the perpetrator is intending for our campus, we came together beyond the Greek community and the non-Greek community. A hashtag based of off support running rampant through this campus was trending on all sorts of social media platforms, garnered from individuals as close as Auburn and far away as the other side of the world.
Life isn’t about letters. It’s an incredible, wonderful, joyful experience to be part of Greek life on campus, but it’s not what life is about. It’s not about what sets you apart. I don’t feel more threatened because I’m in a sorority while others aren’t. This situation shouldn’t be about the tragedy or the hopelessness or the fear. This judgement and stigma that is associated with the Greek system isn’t how anyone involved with it wants to be seen. We know that this isn’t what it’s about; it’s not about them hating us or us hating them.
Life about the fact that we all have this earth to share and those we share it with.
It’s is about the fact that we’re coming together. No matter the letters (or lack there of) we’re in this together. It’s making sure that your friends are okay emotionally and physically. It’s telling people to be safe when they walk home. It’s about taking situations and events like this and realizing all the incredible power that we have to make the best out of even the worse events.
There is an incredible resiliency in this community. From TTown Never Down resulting from the 2011 tornados to events such as the ones occurring this week and it’s unprecedented support from media, there is a community and love that runs deep through the veins of those around us. That’s what we should be taking from this. Not the fear, not the worry, not the judgement or the anxiety.
I pray that people remember that letters or not, people are people and that there’s always a lesson to be learned in everything. All you need is love.