A fraternity, as defined by the Interfraternity Council (IFC) at Ohio State University, is “a group of men (undergraduate students) who have chosen to associate themselves together in order to promote certain ideals.”
The first fraternity in the United States was Phi Beta Kappa, founded at the College of William and Mary in 1776. Fraternities became increasingly popular during the early 19th century, particularly among students at Ivy League colleges. Today, there are dozens of fraternity organizations with chapters on campuses across the country.
While fraternities provide members with opportunities for socializing and networking, they have also been criticized for hazing practices and for creating an environment that is hostile to women.
A fraternal organization, as defined by The American Heritage Dictionary, is “a mostly social group of male college students that is often referred to in Greek letters.” (Pg. 523) This definition, on the other hand, is rather limited and provides space for short-sighted individuals to hold the preconception formed by popular media stereotypes, where fraternities are depicted as drunken louts who accomplish nothing academically or socially.
This is, of course, not an accurate portrayal of fraternity life. There are many fraternities that focus on helping their members succeed academically as well as becoming better people and leaders within their communities.
From this humble beginning, fraternity life has grown to be a very important part of college culture in the United States. It is estimated that there are over 9 million fraternity alumni in the US alone and that number is growing every year.
Fraternities provide their members with opportunities to make friends, network with other ambitious students, and have a positive impact on their community. They also help students succeed academically by providing tutoring services, study groups, and mentorship programs.
Fraternities are an important part of college life, and play a vital role in helping students succeed both personally and professionally. Whether you’re looking to join a fraternity or just learn more about them, there’s no doubt that fraternity life has a lot to offer today’s college students.
Unfortunately, both the above definition and media representations fail to recognize that being a member of a fraternity is a lifelong experience that develops social, organizational, and study skills during college, as well as genuine friendship. In fact, fraternities have a long history of academic excellence, and the majority of our nation’s presidents were Greek members.
Most fraternity members join in order to make friends and find social activities during college. College is a time for students to discover themselves and learn how to interact with others in an adult setting; Greek organizations provide the perfect environment for this exploration. In addition, Greek organizations are often involved in philanthropic endeavors and community service projects, which gives members the opportunity to give back to their communities.
Fraternities also teach important life skills such as time management, communication, and leadership. These skills are essential not only in the workplace but also in everyday life. Fraternity members learn how to balance academics with social activities, how to communicate effectively with others, and how to take on leadership roles within the organization.
Finally, fraternity membership is a life-long experience. fraternity brothers remain close even after graduation, and often go on to provide career and networking opportunities for one another. fraternity members also continue to give back to their communities through various philanthropic and volunteer initiatives.
So while the media may focus on the negative aspects of fraternity life, it’s important to remember that these organizations can have a positive impact on their members and on society as a whole.
Today’s fraternities still have all of the characteristics and principles of their ancient counterparts: “the allure and mystique of secrecy, a ceremony, vows of loyalty, a grip, a motto, a badge, and a backstory full of high ideals with a strong tie to collaboration and friendship.” (Klepper pg. 18) Fraternities today also assist members in developing numerous abilities that are utilized both within and outside of college.
Some of these skills are: cooperation, communication, leadership, and time management. Also, fraternity members have opportunities to meet people from all over the country which can help them develop networking skills. Fraternities also provide their members with a sense of community and belonging. In college, this is especially important because it can be easy to feel lost or alone on such a large campus. Fraternities offer their members a chance to be a part of something larger than themselves and to make lifelong friends.
However, fraternities are not perfect. One of the biggest problems facing fraternities today is hazing. Hazing is defined as “any action taken or any situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule and risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or team.” (NHS) Hazing is a huge problem in fraternities because it often leads to dangerous and sometimes deadly consequences.
In 2017, there were four fraternity-related deaths due to hazing. This is an unacceptable number of deaths and something needs to be done to prevent it from happening again. Another problem facing fraternities is sexual assault. A study done by the American Medical Association found that fraternity members are three times more likely to commit rape than non-fraternity men. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
Fraternities are a big part of college life for many students. They provide their members with opportunities to develop important skills, make friends, and feel a sense of community and belonging. However, there are also many serious problems facing fraternity culture today, including hazing and sexual assault. We need to find ways to address these issues in order to keep our students safe and healthy while they enjoy all the benefits that fraternity life has to offer.
In order to run a chapter in a business-like manner and because it includes numerous offices (President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Scribe, etc.) which are filled by its members, one must first learn leadership skills while being a member of a fraternity. These roles are very much like real-world jobs. Furthermore, since Greek nationals’ membership in a fraternity is regarded as an outstanding achievement by other fraternity members, every brother must be able to perform that role at any moment.
Fraternity membership is often seen as a rite of passage for college students, as it provides them with the opportunity to develop new social and leadership skills. This is particularly important given that many fraternity members come from similar backgrounds and may not have had the opportunity to practice these skills in their previous lives. Additionally, fraternity membership offers students access to a wide network of like-minded individuals who are committed to supporting one another both academically and professionally.
Despite these benefits, fraternity membership also comes with certain downsides. For example, fraternity brothers can sometimes feel pressured or obligated to uphold high standards of conduct at all times in order to maintain the reputation of their fraternity. Furthermore, fraternity life is not always easy or enjoyable for everyone involved, as there can be a lot of pressure to conform to the expectations of one’s fraternity brothers. Overall, fraternity membership is a unique experience that offers both positives and negatives for those who choose to participate.