By LEANNDRA PADGETT
The Greek Banquet is an insult to Independents. That sounds a bit harsh. The concept is fine; I’ve got nothing against organizations eating, celebrating or recognizing each other together and it’s kind of nice for them all to be uniting for an event rather than fighting or being rivals or whatever the alternative is. The offense lies in the way the rest of campus was treated while the Greeks were enjoying their feast. The Caf was closed and the alternative “meal” was unacceptable.
We were warned; signs had been posted the week before and an email was sent to all students which read “Tigers, Please remember the cafeteria will be used for Greek Banquet tonight. For those not attending, dinner will be served in the WOW Grille. There will be a pasta buffet and salad. Cash EQ will also be available from 4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.” Well, many on campus did not have the option of “attending” the banquet and being warned did not make dinner any more satisfying.
I went to the Grille for dinner on Sunday night and found Styrofoam plates and two items of food. There was a penne bake and spaghetti with meat sauce. This is neither a pasta buffet nor a salad. And even if it was, it is not acceptable as the only choice for students on a meal plan. Yes, the Grille and Mulberry were open, but many students, especially at this point in the semester, do not have Tiger dollars. This leaves them with the alternative Caf offering as their only meal option without spending extra money. Well it doesn’t matter, everybody likes pasta, right? It is a popular item, but is not a balanced meal nor is it something that everyone can eat. What about students who are lactose intolerant? That knocks out the penne bake and leaves only spaghetti with meat sauce. What if they’re vegetarians? That eliminates meat sauce (I hope you enjoy plain noodles or penne). Gluten free? Vegan? Diabetic? On a low carb diet? Those populations would not be pleased.
Worse than the poor option is the message Sunday’s dinner sent. Intentional or not, what was portrayed was that students participating in Greek life have priority over students who do not. Both populations have paid the same amount for meal plans, but one group was given a special banquet (again, that’s not a problem in and of itself) while the other was relegated to the basement with unacceptable meal options. A school dedicated to diversity should value both Greeks and Independents (and yes, we prefer the term Independent to the proposed title of “non-Greek”; we are not identified by what we aren’t). The school does not always promote Greek students over others, but last Sunday they did. It was insulting and displayed an attitude of preference for one group of students over another. That is the opposite of what we stand for as an institution and, for those who practice, as Christians.
The possible solutions are numerous. Option 1: have the Greek Banquet after the normal Caf hours Option 2: open the Caf to all students for certain hours and close it just long enough for the Greek Banquet Option 3: have a sufficient alternative meal for Independents during the Greek Banquet. If it is difficult to plan ahead for students with special dietary needs, ask them to contact dining services ahead of time making their needs clear. With just a little effort and planning, everybody could get a good meal and Georgetown could express their appreciation for all students.