When I arrived on this campus in the fall of 2000, I was not sure what UCSB had in store for me. For the first time in my life, I was going to a place where I did not know anyone and nobody knew me. Before this time, I had spent my entire life circled by friends and family who had been around me since I was young. Now they were all gone and the only thing I had to carry me through this next stage of my life was my experiences. I remember sitting in my dorm room playing Playstation with my roommates and thinking of going out. We would venture down to Del Playa and after hitting about five houses in search of the best party I would find myself walking home with many new acquaintances but no new friends.

While this lifestyle is perfectly acceptable, it was not what I wanted to look back on as my college experience. The only problem was that I was not sure what I was looking for. I wanted to earn good grades in college, I wanted to help other people, I wanted to be in a position of leadership within the university arena, I wanted to grow up in an environment where I trusted those around me and they trusted me in the goals of simply becoming better people throughout college.

Many of the students I know stumble blindly in a daze, searching for that element in their life that will help them to grow and leave this university not as the person they are but rather the person they want to be.

When I came to this university, I wanted to grow up in all facets of my life. I rushed a fraternity and pledged a house because I thought it would enable me to fulfill my goals. I became a member. Now I am part of an organization that must have an all-house GPA of 2.8 in order to have any social events. I am part of an organization that is required to have each member complete six hours of community service per quarter. That means I am responsible for 18 hours of community service to others a year and my fraternity produces close to 1,000 hours a year.

Though these numbers make the greek system’s dedication to both academic success and philanthropy obvious, they do nothing to explain the fellowship and life experience that I have gained as a member of the greek community. I believe that whatever you are trying to become, the greek system will help you get there. If you surround yourself with people who care about the community, their friends and their futures, it is inevitable that you will care about the same things.

If these ideas and principles sound like something you want to do, then I invite you to come to fraternity rush. Starting with a walkthrough of every fraternity, beginning at Greek Park at the corner of Embarcadero del Norte and Segovia Road on Monday, April 7 at 5 p.m., rush will continue at each house from 6 to 9 until Friday.

I encourage all of you to come to rush, whether you think the greek system is for you or not. I am sure you will be surprised at all we have to offer.

Joshua Finestone is the Interfraternity Council president.