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The Blue & Gray Press | August 17, 2017

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More than booze and blackouts: a frats real purpose on college campuses

More than booze and blackouts: a frats real purpose on college campuses

By Tessa Cate

Our quaint, cozy campus is home to students bumbling up and down campus walk, frolicking across Ball Circle in the sunshine and getting down to business in the Hurley Convergence Center. The campus vibe is one of friendliness, where every student is equal to the next and Eagles of different social backgrounds and interests mix flawlessly.

This kind of fluidity can be, in part, attributed to the lack of University-recognized Greek life on our happy little campus. Refusing to allow the school to be dominated by “geeds,” a name derived from the term “GDI” or “God Damn Independent,” and defined by Urban Dictionary as “the non-Greek affiliated members on a college campus,” the town of Fredericksburg is home to two nationally recognized chapters, Kappa Sigma Rho Chi and Psi Upsilon Phi Delta. In addition, the Theta Gamma colony of Alpha Sigma Phi was established during the Fall 2015 semester.

Fraternity brothers can be spotted walking about campus sporting Greek letters; something the rest of the university’s students do not have the ability to partake in.

The question is – what else are they doing? They cannot just walk around in letter-clad packs, discussing the next party they are planning to throw. There has to be more.

Yes, the parties and social opportunities are a huge part of the college experience, as well as the fraternity experience, and should not be skipped over, but there is more to Greek life than booze and blackouts.

On every fraternity’s national website, a clear and concise mission statement can be found. According to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity’s national website, the organization’s mission is to “complement and enhance the educational mission of the host institution,” “promote the ideal of brotherhood,” “actively contribute to the personal growth and development of its members,” “promote ethical behavior and decision making,” and lastly to, “encourage service to others.” These words might be specific to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, but the goals and ideals behind them are not.

The purpose behind the creation of fraternities is to give university men a place to bond with one another, a place to grow on personal, social and academic levels, and a place from which they can work together to better their campus as a team. These common goals unite Greeks despite their difference in letters, but do they unite the Greeks of UMW?

For the fraternities that assemble on our campus to be recognized, not necessarily by the university, but by the student body and themselves as legitimate, they must work towards the mission and exemplify the values promoted by their national organization.

If the fraternities have not fully embraced these ideals and actively worked towards them, past efforts to gain official recognition from the University of Mary Washington can be deemed futile and all future efforts should be put on hold.

The University has no business affiliating itself with fraternities unless their members have a purpose, and hopefully one that benefits the school and greater community.

The brotherhoods of UMW have done work that should not be invalidated, this is purely a Greek call to arms to increase positive Greek presence on campus and in the Fredericksburg community.

This can be anything from teaming up with another campus organization for a service and giving competition to creating a funny lip dub video for all of campus to enjoy. The fraternities can even get the student body involved with the philanthropies and campaigns they are affiliated with on the national level. The ways to make a difference are endless.

The Rho Chi chapter of Kappa Sigma was recently recognized on the Kappa Sigma Fraternity’s national website for aiding local organization Tree Fredericksburg in planting 56 trees and cleaning up a local cemetery.

This kind of community-bettering activity is a great start to upping Greek presence and demonstrating purpose as an organization. Events like this can happen all the time, and why shouldn’t they? These fraternities are filled with intelligent and capable men, hopefully united by similar goals. It is time for them to embrace their mission statements and make some waves.

Comments

  1. Anonymous

    As a member of one of these fraternities, I have to say, fraternities are great on paper, but its very different from reality. I joined with great enthusiasm but then later came to realize how over exaggerated the philanthropic and community service aspect of greek really is. We take a few events and make it seem bigger and occurring more often than in reality- thanks to social media and basic marketing. Their is also a level of social exlusiveness that is intrinsically bred within. Our members will deny it, but for the most part 95% choose to spend 95% of their time with their own. On a professional level, frats are great at providing the tools for one to succeed but most of the members fall so far short this, it is basically a lie. I can rant and rant on about all of this stuff but my fingers hurt. The parties are fun though.

  2. In response to anonymous

    I don’t know which “frat” you say you are a part of. But for the ones on campus. Or at least the two major ones, I know none of the brothers would refer the their respective organization as a “frat.” It’s a fraternitity. Don’t try to lie. Also, there is no brother in any of the three fraternities that would be willing to “rant and rant” about something the organization is doing wrong. They bring it on their leadership and then it is fixed with the cooperation of the entire fraternity. Another reason I know you’re lying, you refer to the brothers as “members.” There are no members of a fraternity. There are brothers.

    In conclusion. Please stop lying. No one believes you. Stop trying to harm organizations that are only trying to better the school and community.

  3. UMW Student

    A well written and seemingly non-biased article. I have had the opportunity to get to know and work with members of all three fraternities at UMW. I can say with certain that these organizations have done a tremendous amount of good, in the community as well as on campus. They provide a way for people of different backgrounds and interest to get together, bond, form a friend circle and a brotherhood that last far beyond college. It’s a shame that last years push to get recognized Greek life on campus was shot down prematurely by president Hurley. Now is the time to show UMW administration that they missed a great opportunity. If anyone has anything different to say, say it, but please dont bring up psi kappa blah blah from XX university, because as much as it’ll kill you to admit it, these guys are not them. #fratlivesmatter

  4. um

    “It’s a shame that last years push to get recognized Greek life on campus was shot down prematurely by president Hurley.”

    Wait…Hurley did something right?!

  5. Anonymous

    “in response” you are reading too far between the lines when i said “Frat.” I said “fraternities twice” and “frat” once. You are reaching here. I went on to say positive things about fraternities after I used the word “frat.” The only reason they use the word “fraternity” over the word “frat” is because it has a less negative connotation to it and its a means of trying to gain respect from the public. I would know.

    No brother? Is every brother the same? No brother is a free thinker? No brother can have a different opinon on the matter? Every single brother in the approximate 100 total male greeks is pro greek? You are reaching again. Either way, what does this say about the idea of social conformity which is very prevalent in greek organizations? Btw, there is very little individuality in fraternities. You can tell yourself there is, but there isn’t.

    In case you havent noticed, I am responding to your post as I read it. “Members?” Really…you are very good arm chair psychologist lmao. Again, your reaching. People use the word members all of the time, not just me.

    A lot of what “positive” things that are done by these fraternities are overexaggerated through use of social media and other PR techniques. Its good to see it’s working. This just proves my point on some of the preparation fraternities provide students in the work force.

    “UMW student”: it was pretty dumb hurley shut down the idea of greek over an article that was later proved to be false. Any unbias person can agree with that.

  6. In response to anonymous

    So what you’re saying. Is that there are brothers in Greek organizations who aren’t pro greek? It’s easy to leave any of the fraternities if you are not happy with the direction it’s going. A brother would know that. I’m reaching? No brother would call themselves a member as opposed to calling themselves a brother.
    As for over exaggerated positives…one organization raised 500 dollars for a particular charity in one day…that’s not
    As for the no individuality in a fraternity….for a supposed brother of one of the fraternities on campus you really don’t know a whole lot about us. We have brothers in leadership positions all over canpus. We ha e brothers who enjoy theater, politics, international relations, the hard sciences, the soft sciences. We have brothers of a multitude of different nationalities. I myself am a minority. We have hipsters, we have frat stars, we have athletes, we have brothers that have literally never touched a ball. Don’t tell me you’re a brother of one of these great organizations but are willing to bash them. Every brother loves their fraternity, because if the didn’t they would leave.

  7. Anonymous

    Yes, there are. We don’t have to tell our brothers we aren’t pro greek. I don’t have to publicly share my thoughts to everyone do I? Neither do you. I dont remember saying I “wasn’t pro greek,” if I did, I misspoke. I don’t care whether greek gets recognized or not however I will tell others I am pro greek so I don’t offend them for having my own opinion (you are an example of this). All I said in my original comment is how exaggerated and idealized fraternities really are. They aren’t. We show you what we want to show you. Kind of like the media. If you are in a greek organization, which it sounds like you are, then you know this already.

    So your telling me with the apporximate 100 male fraternity members on campus, not one will use the term “members.” I used the word “members” there because with the 3 fraternities (I spelled it out for ya), not all are brothers. Within your fraternity, when you refer to someone as your brother to people who aren’t as aquainted as you or I about greek organizations, they think you are talking about your literal brother (by blood). It becomes a habit to refer to them as members so not to confuse people. That’s great, however if you were a part of that fund raiser, you’d know that the hard work is always done by a handful of members and the rest of the people are warm bodies required to show up or they incur punishment. It’s also not hard to raise money for a good cause, people will naturally be inclined to donate. The advantage is only that we have a large group of guys who have to show up, unlike say an individually with very few friends wanting to raise funds.

    Sure, everybody has their own individual interests outside of the fraternity. But when it comes to being in the fraternity and operating, there is little individuality and its in fact suppressed by the feeling of peer pressure. You are just rehashing one of the pointers our interest meeting to “sell” people to join.

    I never said I didn’t like my fraternity, I said it is too idealized. It is one thing on paper, in reality it is much much different.

  8. um

    Not that anyone has asked for my continued Input on this thread, but there are not many s kills you can learn from a frat that you cannot learn somewhere else in life…OK I’m done talking.

  9. Anonymous

    There are benefits, but they are exaggerated. How else would we recruit and win public support? We are trying to get recognized and get new initiates. More initiates, more money for us too.

  10. Anonymous

    ^exactly. Couldn’t have said it better.

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