August 6th, 2013 will forever be an important day in my life. I didn’t get married (thank God), didn’t have a kid (that I know of), or get a new job. Something much greater than all of these happened. Gentlemen of TFM, it is with great pleasure that I announce to you, the deranged masses of this fair site, that I have found a news article about fraternities that is actually pretty honest.
It’s true. The article I found, a piece from the Chicago Tribune, paints a pretty good picture of fraternity life. It talks about the good, the bad, and the ugly of the great institution that is college social Greek life. In the past, I’ve found articles online and thought they were pretty fair and unbiased, but this one beats all those other ones.
I came across the article, titled “Embracing the Greek life. Or not.” and immediately knew that it was going to be a good one. Just look at that title. It doesn’t read “Fraternities: The Gateway to Date Rape” or anything like that. Considering what the media generally has to say about us, a title that doesn’t paint us in a bad light may as well be considered portraying us in a good light.
The best part about the article is a simple statement not even a full two paragraphs in. Referring to rushing, the author, William Hageman, writes, “The first step in the process is to put aside any preconceived notions.”
I hardly can believe it myself. A writer told interested students and their parents to put aside preconceived notions. So, Hageman, you’re saying people shouldn’t base their opinions of an organization off rumors or a crappy, straight-to-DVD film from the American Pie series? Wow, I guess that totally makes sense. After all, I didn’t make up my mind and decide to join the Army just after seeing Small Soldiers. Okay, I may have, but you get the point.
If that little bit of honesty wasn’t good enough for you, here’s another:
There are pluses, there are minuses. There are gray areas. Times have changed, and fraternities and sororities at times seem to be struggling to find their place.
Look, he was truthful. You can’t tell me there aren’t at least a few cons, and you sure as shit can’t tell me there aren’t pros (and that they outweigh any possible cons, but like I said, he’s trying to be unbiased). It gets even better when he starts listing off some of the pros and cons.
Networking: One of the traditional selling points for Greek life is the connections one can make, not just with current chapter members, but with the network of former fraternity or sorority members in the business world. A fraternity is not a four-year college experience, like a school club; it’s a lifetime involvement.
That’s a great statement. First off, the author points out that the connections made in a fraternity will last a lifetime and help one succeed in whatever they pursue. Secondly, he makes it clear that there is a distinction between a club and a fraternity. Good move, Hageman.
He keeps on rolling with the good stuff.
Housing: Fraternity housing is generally less expensive than living in a residence hall.
I honestly don’t know the difference in price between the two, but I know damn well that if you do a simple cost-benefit analysis, you’ll see that living in a fraternity house is obviously the better choice. A huge mansion full of your brothers, hot girls, unlimited alcohol, and a kitchen and chef, or a dorm room the size of a closet with Ramen noodles in the microwave? You decide.
Interestingly, Mr. Hageman points out something about our noble organizations that many in the media seem to purposely avoid.
Charitable work: Through various fundraisers, fraternities and sororities raise money for national and local charities, as well as individual causes.
You see that? Apparently, when we’re not busy being the delinquents the media likes to portray us as, we can do some good for society. How much good? According to the author, who cited the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), fraternities raised $21.1 million for philanthropic causes in the 2011-2012 school year. Remind me, again — how much did the Animal Are People Too Society over at East Podunk State Teacher’s College raise?
Hageman also pointed out that members of fraternities and sororities also tend to have higher GPAs than their independent peers. So, we’ve got that going for us…which is nice.
Of course, no article about fraternities would be complete without covering the cons. The author first points out that financial and time commitments are a con. However, I disagree. Like anything in life worth doing, you get out what you put in. If you can’t invest some time and money into something, how do you expect to gain anything from it? It is true that our lifestyle does take more money and time than others, but I think you’d all agree with me when I say it’s completely worth every second and cent.
What article about Greeks would be complete without touching on hazing? I actually think the author covered this sometimes touchy subject very nicely.
Hazing: A fraternity could raise tens of thousands of dollars to buy puppies for needy children, but one hazing incident halfway across the country is what makes headlines and what people remember.
I’m not going to lie — I think that’s the greatest statement regarding hazing I’ve ever seen. My man Will Hageman tells it like it is. He’s not saying hazing doesn’t exist, but that just because it does, doesn’t mean that it happens everywhere to the degree which the media portrays it.
Hazing is universally deplored by fraternity and sorority officials (and it should be pointed out that it occurs in other non-Greek organizations, such as athletic teams and bands, as well).
I admire your honesty, Mr. Hageman. Seriously, Hageman’s article, which I think was pretty evenly biased compared to what else is out there, actually painted fraternities in a good light. Considering all the horrible press and poorly-made movies out there, that’s pretty rare. Somebody ought to give this guy a Pulitzer, or at the very least, a beer.
[via Chicago Tribune]