The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Freshmen launch site aimed at non-Greek life

Melissa Flanagan | Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A group of freshmen from Knott Hall aim to embrace their status of being “Compulsory GDI’s” with the launch of the new website, TotalGDIMove.org.


GDI, or God Damn Independent, is the name students in the Greek system use to refer to those not in a fraternity or sorority.


The students modeled their site on the increasingly popular website TotalFratMove.com. On this site, fraternity brothers post comments that embody the characteristics of the typical fraternity brother.


On the website, at the end of each post is the tagline TFM, implying that the comment is a classic one someone in a fraternity would say.


Total GDI Move is set up the same way, except with the tagline TGM, to show that the post perfectly describes something a GDI would say, the website founders said.


Aaron Weber and Kevin Carr, two of the site’s founders, have many friends from other schools who pledged to join a fraternity or sorority. Weber said when he visited a friend at another college, he was referred to as a GDI the entire time he was there.


“We don’t really see it here at Notre Dame because we don’t have Greek life but at schools like [University of] Tennessee and [University of] Alabama, there’s such a divide in the student body,” Weber said. “That’s where the term GDI came from.”


While the site pokes fun at the styles and attitudes of those in fraternities, Mike Franczak, another founder, said the site is intended to trivialize the debate between Greeks and non-Greeks, not just to point out flaws in the people in fraternities.


“It kind of makes fun of both sides,” Franczak said.


The students said there are good and bad aspects of Greek life, but they don’t feel Notre Dame is missing anything without it because of the strong sense of family within the dorm system.


“I think a good thing is that you can pick a group of people you can identify most with,” Carr said. “But I think our dorm system here fosters that.”


The site, which launched Nov. 18, has gotten 60,000 hits. Franczak said they are spreading the word by posting on Total Frat Move.


“We’ve posted on TotalFratMove.com saying, ‘Oh that comment belongs on Total GDI Move,'” Franczak said.


The students are hoping the two sites will be thought of together eventually.


“With the popularity of frats, there was an opening in the market for the antithesis of [TotalFratMove.com],” Weber said.


For the group, the best part of building the site was deciding what constituted a “total GDI move.”

“We had to socially construct different items of clothing and types of music and events to be GDI,” Franczak said.


They said they decided on cargo pants, more alternative music, V-neck shirts and frugality. The founders said they tried to make this known by being blunt about what makes something GDI in their first few posts.


Total Frat Move celebrates many of the opposite styles and behaviors. Common views of fraternity brothers include name brand clothing, access to wealth and conservative views.


While the site has gotten some negative responses, most people, even those in the Greek system, see the humor in it, they said.


“A lot of my friends are in frats and they think it’s hilarious,” Carr said.


Franczak said while the site is mainly for entertainment, its founders intend to point out the different aspects of being in a fraternity versus not being in one.


“We kind of aim at educating both the frat lifestyle and the GDI style,” Franczak said. “There are positives and negatives to both.”