T Nation

Defense of Greek system

Recently on the forums and in a few articles there has been many negative comments about Fraternities and Sororities, and many durogatory terms used. I would like to present to the forum a few things.

1.) In a thread about dumb things seen at the gym, DA MAN made a negative comment about Fraternities. How do you know these so called “herds” are all fraternity men? Often at my gym, guys come in and do the same thing. One does not have to be a fraternity man to lift in large groups.

2.) DA MAN and others: How many fraternity men do you personally know and talk to. It is my guess that you have seldom if ever talked to one fraternity man. If you would open your mind and meet new people, you would see that fraternity men are men such as yourself, who have many interests the same as you, who just so happen to be associated with a fraternity.

I can definitely tell you that sorority women aren’t all as you describe them. Many sorority women that I know are great athletes and incredible women. They train hard, eat right, and have the body to show for it. Yes, many women do spend endless hours on the elliptical machines. Does that mean they must be in a Sorority. Surely not.

The negative image that many people have of Fraternities and Sororities are based on myth, rumor, and lies. Movies such as animal house portray Fraternities in a negative way, without exposing many of the great things Greeks do for the community. My Fraternity personally raises thousands of dollars every year for St. Judes childrens hospital, as does 15-20 other Greek organizations here at CSU. Tell me DA MAN, how much money did you raise last year for children with cancer? In addition to that, every Greek organization is involved in a local community service project. We do Special Needs Swim, in which we swim and play with children that have Down Syndrome, MS, etc. Tell me DA MAN, how many special children did you play with and make feel great last year.

Here is a statistic to ponder: Since 1825, all but four U.S. Presidents have been Fraternity men. Fraternities help build character and ethics that many businesses and companies seek. Something like 60% of current CEO’s of fortune 500 companies were involved in a Greek organization.

Obviously some Fraternities and Sororities give the Greek system a bad image. But what isn’t gossiped about and on the news is all the great things Greeks do for your communities and your country. Before you badmouth Greeks, take a moment to stop, talk to some members, and open your minds.

I agree that fraternities and sororities provide a lot of good things for our society. However, there are many bad apples that perpetuate the frat boy and sor whore stereotypes. There is nothing wrong with the Greek system, just a lot of the people that use it for the wrong reasons. I would hope that the rest of the posters here are like myself - that when they use terms such as “frat boy” and “sor whore” that they are poking fun at the people in question and not the entire Greek system.

I’m still not down with them. Bunch of Biffs! LOL!

Why am i being singled out here, Jeff Parsons? I am not the only one that loves the greek letter hat and shirt wearin idiots…

  1. I know the herds are fratbrats because the all have at least one article of clothing on with their greek letters. sometimes 2 or more… And other ppl do come in and do the same thing, but to a much lesser extent in my experience.

  2. I know quite a few fraternity men. I know one whos big broke his collar bone during rush because he was drunk and threw him into a wall. This was told to me first hand by the guy with the broken collar bone, so it is not just rumor or ill deserved bad reputation. I dont mind a lot of frat boys. I am actually good friends with a couple. It is the ones that feel naked unless they have their letters and their ‘brothers’ that i just laugh at. The ones that do nothing but talk about drinking and what bitch they are gonna nail.

And again, my observations of the sor whores on the stairmaster reading a magazine have on their own greek letters. I do not assume any of them are from a sorority, they advertise whole heartedly so i do not have to.

Raising money money for good causes, i do. I happen to be in 2 professional societies, fraternities if you want, that raise money for cancer patients on a yearly basis. We do a walk for cancer, stand on the sidewalk in the dead of winter begging drunks for money for the less fortunate and many other things. Dont act like you are any better than anyone else because your frat raises money for others.

Concerning the prez’s who have been in frats- that isnt exactly what i would call flattering… look at all of the complete and total bullshit many have pulled. you want that to fall back onto your frat?

It is awful presumptuous of you to think that i do not have an open mind. Why dont you take your own advice and look talk to some ppl who dont like them to see where they are coming from instead of just assuming that they do it based on rumor and preconception. I dont, and many of my friends dont. So you too are guilty of a hasty generalization, the very thing you are trying to fight here… So, take your own advice and open your mind.

DA MAN, I simply singled you out, out of all the people negatively portraying Greeks because it was your post in the “dumb things you have seen at the gym” that prompted me to post my opinion. I appreciate that you responded in a civil manner. However, do not assume that I have made a hasty generalization here. Untill this semester, I was not a fraternity man. In fact, I went through college for a year and a half not involved in the greek system. I was just like many people in that I had a negative stereotype of fraternities in my mind. One of my friends that is in a fraternity convinced me to rush, and I decided that if I never tried it, I would never know. Joing my fraternity has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Concerning your friend that broke his collarbone during rush, I understand that some Fraternities do propagate the negative image. I stated that in my original post. My point was that that is one side of the Greeks, where as many people don’t see or choose to ignore the good things that we do.

Obviously I am not going to change anyone’s mind here, I just wanted to show the good side of our system. Again, thank you for being civilized in your response.

DA MAN, in response to your point that you indeed help raise money, I am sorry for assumming that you don’t do community service. My point was more that most college students that are not involved in general or proffessional society, or Fraternities, do nothing for their communities. They may do it if they are required to, such as a punishment for DUI. I am glad that you are involved in your proffessional societies and raise money for cancer patients. I commend that. My point was simply that without organized societies, most people do not help their communities.

I guess fraternities are great if you need friends. I never had to buy any friends so I never needed a fraternity.

Gotta agree, every time I watch Animal House I am awed by thier contribution to society :wink:

Since I’m the only one here who actually works for a fraternity, I feel I have some authority to comment here.

First, Jeff Parsons, while I admire your defense of the Greek system, your tact (or lack thereof) is one of the things that are detrimental to the system. Too often we look and say its “us against them.” Instead of taking that approach, talking about why we believe in our organizations and why others should support us is a better way. So rather than accuse DA MAN, I would have said something to the effect that I never thought I would join, but I found that it wasn’t what I expected. Then I’d outline it. You don’t win others to your side by making accusations.

DA MAN - I thought you had some good points when you responded, but there are some other things to consider.

1.) The reason guys wear letters all of the time is because they are trying to get their name out there. Fraternities often feel they have to compete for attention and they wear letters just as a business would advertise. I display letters or wear them because I want people to see that I’m a normal guy who is proud to be associated with my group, not because of herd mentality.

2.) Regarding your friend with the collarbone problem, the truth is that the incident was the very thing that we fight against and that goes against what we stand for. Using it as an example is like saying all religion is bad because of some extremists who take it in the wrong direction. In my line of work you have to learn to separate the actions from what the organization would speak to.

3.) Your rebuttal to the claim that almost all presidents have been in fraternities is simply silly. Would you not be proud of your son if he became president because all of the bad things presidents do? You don’t want that to reflect back on you. The fact is that it is an honorable accomplishment. On a side note, the truth is that that statistic is a bit faulty. Sure, all but 2 have been in fraternities, but that does not mean your typical NIC (North American Interfraternity Conference) fraternity. It also includes professional fraternities and such.

To everyone who reads this, the truth is that if you take a look at what the real purpose of a fraternity is, you would have no reason not to join. Every organization speaks to service to others, strengthening of character, dedication to the alma mater, increasing knowledge, and other honorable items. If you use it right, then fraternal organizations will be one of the most positive experiences of your life. When I see my letters (Theta Chi) I don’t see just two Greek symbols chosen at random. I see two letters that were taken from the first letters of the Greek words for “Helping Hand.” When other men in my fraternity (I often hate to refer to these men as brothers) take them to mean a drinking club, dedicated to womanizing, hazing and alcohol abuse, things go awry.

I hear what you are all saying when you argue against Greeks. In a little seminar I often conduct, I try to have a chapter argue why they should remain open while I argue to close all Greek organizations. The only way the pro-Greek side can win is if they have an organization that does exactly what it says it is supposed to do. Screw that up and I’ll have the upper hand. I know it exists, but it should not be an indictment of the system, just of that individual. In the middle of writing this post, I had a meeting with a new member educator who basically outlined a program filled with subtle hazing. I basically told him he was pathetic and sad. Now I’ll do what I can to stop it. But I know that he doesn’t reflect the organization, he’s just too big of an idiot for even us to fix.

So what I’m trying to get to is that you shouldn’t look down on Greeks or many of the things we should do. In fact, you should be proud of the fact that we have decided to take on a higher calling. When you see those idiots out there screwing it up, do what we do at our headquarters, hold them accountable. Then realize that they are only there because they didn’t listen to what their Ritual told them. Then feel pity for their ineptitude.

In Frank Nuwer’s book “Wrongs of Passage” he points out that about 10-15% of Greeks are ruining the system. DA MAN and others, please don’t assume we’re a part of that small percentage. To Jeff Parsons and others, be ready to defend your decisions because of those men. And no matter what, be ready to back up what you claim by demonstrating the power of the Greek system by making yourself a better person.

We may never be perfect. Hell, the Catholic faith has been trying to fix itself for centuries and they can’t do it. I encourage all of you to help us make the change by keeping us accountable, supporting the 85-90% who are doing things right, and by considering joining an organization yourself (it is possible to join as an alumnus). I hate “frat boys” as much as the next guy, but I’m the biggest advocate for the Greek system because I have seen its power improve my own life.

Cory, thank you for putting that so eloquently. I a sorry if I sounded harsh in my original post. I did not mean the post to sound like it was us against them. I meant it to put fourth my opinion of the Greek system and what it means to me, and how it has affected my life recently.

Again, thank you for the post, it was excellent. I enjoy seeing other men positively influenced by their Fraternity.

Jeff, hit the books and stop fretting over things of no consequence. Life needn’t be THAT serious man.