A fraternity is a men’s student organization, formed chiefly for social purposes having secret rites and a name consisting of Greek letters. Fraternities get a lot of bad publicity, as with the hazing problems at U.T. Many people think of guys involved in fraternities as stupid, drunken fools running around pulling pranks and partying, but there is another side to fraternities that many people do not see. Fraternities do have plenty of social events, but they also participate in a lot of philanthropy, service projects, and other school and community related events.
In order to join a fraternity, you need to sign up for rush in the first weeks of school. During “pre-rush,” there are many parties and events put on by all fraternities so you can get to know them better. Then, there is a week called formal “rush”, when you go to all the different fraternity houses and decide where you want to go and find out who wants you. After formal rush, the fraternity calls you and gives you a bid. If you accept, you are now pledging that you want to join that fraternity. Pledgeship is different for all fraternities. Some have a longer pledgeship, a harder pledgeship, and some have none at all. After you complete pledgeship and get initiated, you then become an active member.
For a long time, fraternities have faced three main social issues: hazing, alcohol, and sexual harassment. The national fraternity organizations and individual schools have been cracking down on violations for hazing. There have been many reports of death or serious injury due to excessive hazing. Sometimes, the rules are ridiculous. Take SFA for example; carrying a pledge book around campus is considered “hazing”. Also, members of fraternities drink substantially more alcohol than non-members. Even though there are more opportunities to do so, I would say that is mostly the fault of the individual, because they are choosing to do it.
The main reason that people join a fraternity is for brotherhood. A special bond is formed between fraternity brothers. They will be there and will do almost anything for each other. They are friends for life. Most fraternities are like this but there are exceptions, such as bad chapters at a school that don’t have good ideals and don’t concentrate on school and brotherhood. It’s people like this that give fraternities a bad name. For the most part I think that fraternities are just misunderstood.
As stated above, fraternities participate in a lot of philanthropy, also. They do fundraisers and volunteer for events such as the Special Olympics, Adopt-A-Highway, and other events that benefit the community and charitable organizations. For example, in Nacogdoches, there are many fraternities and sororities that do canned food drives, such as the Gobble Gallop during thanksgiving.
Members of a social fraternity participate in more extracurricular activities than nonmembers, are more likely to graduate, and many claim to be more satisfied with their education than non-Greek college students. Also, research shows that membership can have a positive effect on grades if a chapter supports academic achievement, and a negative effect if it does not. Most fraternities have adopted a grades policy to where if you don’t make the grades, you don’t get initiated. “Fraternities help students adjust to college life, and provide a supportive peer group.”(Winston 4) The older members can help you get more familiar with the school campus and town layout. They can also tell which classes and teachers to take, and which to avoid. In the fraternity are people with varieties of majors and a willingness to help brothers who need it.
Fraternities have their pros and cons. They have problems with hazing, alcohol, and sexual harassment. On the plus side they help with school, provide opportunities to be more social, and participate in philanthropy and other community events. The main things they provide though are brotherhood and ways to teach boys how to become better men.