Greek Life Since the Kappa Alpha Society was founded in 1825 at Union College, all but three United States Presidents have been members of a fraternity. The Greek system now contains nine million members across 123 chapters of fraternities and sororities. Nine million people have taken advantage of the opportunity to better themselves and their universities through a fraternity or sorority. However whenever a Greek organization is featured in the media, it is usually for reasons of an out of control party or hazing allegations.
The media ignores the millions of hours dedicated to community service, as well as the millions of dollars raised for charity annually. Hazing makes headlines, philanthropy does not. The Greek system is frequently criticized for instances of members breaking the non-hazing policy of every chapter across the country, and is regularly condemned for it. Hazing is an illegal part of many organizations, including the military, sports teams, marching bands, fraternities and sororities. Hazing again is illegal in all of these organizations and is specifically addressed in the handbook of many Greek organizations.
For some, hazing is seen as a rite of passage, and is expected when pledging a fraternity. Regardless, this practice is actually less popular than the media makes it seem. I personally am pledging a fraternity here at Salem State University, and have never been told or forced to do something I did not want to do. Hazing does happen though, and it sadly it hurts the image of the Greek system as a whole. Dartmouth College, the school where the famed fraternity film Animal House is set, has been notorious for their brutal hazing practices.
In an article written by an ex-fraternity member at Dartmouth, Andrew Lohse recalls the horrible acts he had to perform in order to gain acceptance into one of the 17 chapters. “I was a member of a fraternity that asked pledges, in order to become a brother, to: swim in a kiddie pool of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen and rotten food products; eat omelets made of vomit; chug cups of vinegar, which in one case caused a pledge to vomit blood; drink beer poured down fellow pledges’ ass cracks… mong other abuses. ” This type of behavior does indeed happen at some chapters. Those chapters however, are quickly discovered, investigated, and when evidence of hazing is clear, the national chapter of that fraternity shuts down the chapter at the college. The members involved can also be tried in court, and face jail time and heavy fines. The purpose of pledgeship is not to humiliate and demean future members; it is to build a strong bond with one’s pledge brothers and fraternity brothers.
As told to me by a brother when I asked if we were ever going to be hit, he answered, “no, this fraternity is made up of my friends and I don’t know about you, but I don’t hit my friends. ” Throughout pledgeship we are told to look around at each other and realize that the gentleman in our fraternity are not just college buddies, they are going to be standing beside us at our wedding and looking over us at our funeral. As my pledgeship winds down and my initiation approaches, I can honestly say that I am much different than I was a few months ago.
My leadership ability has increased immensely; I was elected the president of my pledge class and have taken on more responsibility than I ever thought myself capable of. I find myself not afraid to take on a challenge, or step up as a leader in my classes and activities. A fraternity does not just benefit an individual on a personal level, in the professional world; it is a huge advantage over competition for a job. Right now, 85% of Fortune 500 executives were a part of Greek life. The vast network of alumni branching across the world opens up numerous possibilities for employment.
The Greek community takes care of each other, and when an employer sees that a potential employee was Greek in college, they automatically have an advantage. If the employee was in the same chapter as the employer, that advantage becomes even bigger. Being in a fraternity opens up doors for thousands of college graduates every year. Warren Buffett, named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine, was a part of my fraternity, Alpha Sigma Phi. Buffett has also been on the list for the richest man in the world numerous times.
Many successful businessmen, politicians, and community leaders since 1825 are the products of Greek life on their college campuses. The public frequently condemns the Greek system when members choose to break the law, however the system is rarely commended when the same members raise thousands of dollars for charity. Personal leadership and responsibility is a skill that not many have, and cannot be taught. A fraternity or sorority does teach this and more, and develops wide-eyed freshman on a college campus into successful adults in a very short amount of time.
The Greek system has been doing this since 1825, and will continue to mold model citizens for the world. Works Cited “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: Inside Dartmouth’s Hazing Abuses. ” Rollingstone. com. N. p. , n. d. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. <http://www. rollingstone. com/culture/news/confessions-of-an-ivy-league-frat-boy-inside-dartmouths-hazing-abuses-20120328>. “Examining the Benefits of Greek Life | USA TODAY College. ” Examining the Benefits of Greek Life | USA TODAY College. N. p. , n. d. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. <http://www. usatodayeducate. om/staging/index. php/campuslife/examining-the-benefits-of-greek-life>. “The Fraternity Advisor. ” The Fraternity Advisor RSS. N. p. , n. d. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. <http://thefraternityadvisor. com/greek-life-statistics/>. “Hazing Information. ” Hazing Prevention. N. p. , n. d. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. <http://www. hazingprevention. org/hazing-information. html>. “Seeking an End to Hazing Deaths. ” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 05 Feb. 2012. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. <http://www. cbsnews. com/8301-3445_162-57371657/seeking-an-end-to-hazing-deaths/>.