FIJI Is Not The Only Chapter To Blame For Cultural Appropriation In The WSU Greek Community

FIJI Is Not The Only Chapter To Blame For Cultural Appropriation In The WSU Greek Community

One chapter shouldn't take the fall for the entire residential Greek community's complacency.


Washington State University is in the headlines once again, and, in true WSU Coug fashion, it is not for great reasons.

Last Monday, a video posted to Twitter spread like wildfire. The original video was taken down, but the damage had already been done.

#FIJIISLANDER2018 was the hashtag. The video? The men of Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) dancing in grass skirts, serenading women in different WSU Panhellenic sororities. Immediately, Twitter users took sides, some claiming the video was nothing more than a group of guys having some fun, but the majority of students called the fraternity's actions out for what they were: cultural appropriation.

Cultural appropriation is where people from a group that oppressed or oppresses another group mimics or represents cultural artifacts or manners of the oppressed group in a way that expresses or reinforces psychological elements of the racist ideology inherent in the colonialist project responsible for the oppression (x).

In simpler words, cultural appropriation is mimicking and mocking other cultures.

The men of FIJI were doing exactly this — mocking and mimicking Pacific Islander community.

For WSU, a university that follows mottos like "Cougs help Cougs" and claims a key component is "building global understanding," this blatant ignorance and disrespect is not exactly the image that should be associated with the Greek community, which makes up 1/4 of the WSU student body.

The Greek community was quick to respond to this offense, issuing statements and promises to do better, to be better. The WSU Interfraternity Council released their statement, which partially read:

Their actions represent clear examples of cultural appropriation which does not align with the values of the Interfraternity Community, or Washington State University (WSU). The Interfraternity Council condemns these and all acts of cultural appropriation regardless of the intention behind them.

Which is great and all. I love to hear IFC calling FIJI out and condemning this kind of behavior. The men of FIJI do need to be educated on their cultural incompetency, and they all should apologize to the communities on campus that were harmed because of this video.

However, FIJI is not the only chapter to blame.

The entire WSU Greek Community is to blame as well.

The other IFC chapters who have performed similar serenades are to blame.

The Panhellenic chapters who have laughed and encouraged the behavior are to blame.

The Greek students who mock and disregard the UGC and NPHC communities are to blame.

The Greek students who refuse to acknowledge their privilege in being white, straight, able-bodied, male, Christian — they are to blame.

I was in a Greek chapter for almost three years. I was to blame. I laughed when the boys came and did ridiculous dances and sang to us. I did not call anyone out for wearing grass skirts. I did not find the harm in mimicking other cultures. I saw the humor, I enjoyed it, I moved on. I realize my wrongs, and I am glad I am in a place where I can now see all the damage my own complacency wrought.

Not every chapter is bad, and not every Greek member is in it for popularity or the party scene. I know amazing men and women in chapters who complete hours and hours of community service, who donate time and money to wonderful philanthropies, who are leaders in the community, who are going to go on to do amazing, beautiful, life-changing things.

But I also know the culture and the community of the WSU Greek system is incredibly toxic. It is blind. The system rewards ignorance with "top" status, with more funds, with a reputation on and off campus. The nightlife rewards it with exclusive parties and special benefits. The leadership refuses to report hazing, sexual assault, students in crisis. It's a mind game, one that ends with kids dropping out of college and dying.

This isn't just the WSU Greek community, it is all the chapters across the U.S. That's a whole other problem in itself.

Maybe this incident with FIJI is the wake-up call the WSU Greek community needs to change. I can think positively and hope this is the final straw. But I am also not naive enough to think this is where the conversation ends and that all will get better from here.

The WSU Greek community does not get to point the finger at FIJI, make an example of them, and carry on with normal operations as if nothing happened. That's what they did with DU. It's what they did with AKL. It's what they do with every single chapter who has the "misfortune" of taking the fall for everyone else's mistakes.

Nothing has changed. Who's next?

You can do better, Cougs.

Image Credit: Instagram // @fijiwsu

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7 Reasons You Should Order A Vodka/Water/Lime When You're Out

There’s a reason the Vodka/Water/Lime is the number one drink at The Strip every weekend.

We’ve all been through it. Whether it was sometime in high school, out freshman year of college or the day we turned 21, at some point you have or will tried to order a drink while you’re out on the town. I’m here to end all the experimentation, and give you a go-to drink that is sweeping across college campuses everywhere, the Vodka-Water-Lime, and the reasons why, are clear to see.

1. It will keep you hydrated

It may seem trivial but hydration is key if you’re planning on drinking any amount any time, or so I have been told. But let’s face it, biology grants us the ability to chug concoctions called 4-Lokos with ease while drinking the recommended amount of water per day almost impossible. The drink that solves both issues—Vodka-Water-Lime.

2. It doesn't taste that bad

I’ll admit I was a little skeptical at first, but this drink isn’t that bad to swallow, especially when you think about some of the other things you could be drinking. There’s a reason why the only way people can drink tequila is in shot from or in a lime slushy. As the old saying goes: if you drink enough everything just tastes like water, and this one already has water in it!

3. It gets you drunk

That’s right. It does the job. Isn’t that really all we want in a drink anyway, everything else is just trivial.

4. It establishes immediate common-ground

What is that girl next to you at the bar about to order? You guessed it. Now imagine that you are about to order the same thing, she is practically begging to dance on you at this point, it’s that easy.

5. Easy, Quick, Universal

There are just three simple ingredients, and the amounts of which are subject to your personal preference and tolerance levels. It doesn’t require the aid of Chet the self-proclaimed mixologist to make—it’s so easy a baby could do it! And it’s known virtually everywhere, if you’re ever in a place that doesn’t have either vodka, water, or limes, you’re probably there against your will anyway.

6. Health Benefits

Since most people don’t drink liquor straight, the use of a chaser or mixer is required, but we all know the problems that causes. Sugar and alcohol don’t mix well, not to mention the calories in soda. Vodka-Water-Lime has not calories and no sugar added. On top of that, the presence of water and lack of soda is almost a guarantee that you won’t be hungover the next day.

7. It's shameless

With all of the numerous benefits, it’s impossible to give someone a hard time for ordering this, yet it happens. Becky’s friends may tell her that she looks great and shouldn’t be concerned about her calories. WELL MAYBE BECKY JUST LIKES THE TASTE. Still, Bradley may get bold and order one out with the boys, but since there’s nothing to crack open, he may be the butt of their jokes, but Bradley knows that he made the right choice.

NOTE: limes can be substituted for other in-season citrus fruits.

There’s a reason the Vodka-Water-Lime is the number one drink at The Strip every week. The facts are there; it’s not fake news. Vodka-Water-Lime should be your new drink. It’s not just something you adopt in college or for a few nights out, it’s a lifestyle. The Vodka-Water-Lime is classy and sophisticated, it is a drink that you can order somewhere fancy like a restaurant or a Carnival cruise ship, or even on your wedding night.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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No Matter How Much You Flaunt Your Letters, Greek Life Does Not Define You

Do what makes you happy, not what everyone else is doing.


As a student at a university with a major sorority and fraternity presence, I know that those unaffiliated, like myself, can't help but wonder if there's something that we're missing out on. Seeing everyone walk around flaunting their letters can make a non-member feel a little left out. I have been told straight to my face "you're going to regret it if you don't rush." But, in all honesty, I don't.

Now, don't get me wrong, being a part of a sorority or a fraternity sounds incredibly fun. With formals to hold, fundraising events to be a part of, "sister photo shoots" to have, and socials to go to, there never seems to be a dull moment for a Greek life member. Not to mention, those affiliated say they have made their absolute best friends through their sororities or fraternities. My friends that are a part of Greek life are always gloating about it, and I can see why. I joined my past roommate at one of her sorority formals and I genuinely had a ball being able to dress up and pretend it was prom again.

However, as wonderful as all of this is, you don't need to be a part of Greek life in order to have THE college experience. Having letters on your shirts does not mean you are any better or any worse of a student than those without them. The letters do not define you.

As an unaffiliated college student, I have still been able to find my group of "forever friends," join clubs, spend nights out, and get an education (since that is, after all, what we're all here for). As cool as it is to be able to stick Greek letters on the back of your laptop, for me, it just leaves more room for stickers of Harry Styles.

Thankfully, college is a lot different than high school — there aren't really any cliques or status rankings. So, if you aren't a part of Greek life, that does not automatically put you at the bottom of the social ladder. At the end of the day, your affiliation does not matter at all. Instead of using a sorority or fraternity as a resumé booster, unaffiliated students can fill those blanks with other work, internship, volunteer, or extracurricular opportunities.

Sure, being a Greek life member may allow you to network and get connections for future careers, but it isn't the only way to do

so. Employers will not pick those in a fraternity over those who are not. They simply look for well-rounded individuals who are involved in something.

So, whether or not you're a part of a sorority or fraternity, I applaud you for making your own decisions and hopefully taking the college route that you wanted to. It does not matter what you are affiliated with, as long as it makes you happy. Otherwise, you aren't missing out on anything special.

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