As a member of a fraternity, I am portrayed as a hazer, rapist, womanizer, and racist… I am represented by the scum, last place, deadweight of greek life. I can’t blame people who feel that way; people out there have been harmed by the action of fraternities and their individual members. I can’t blame the media, fraternities provide the stories, and they just report it. And of course, news outlets are only going to report the stories with an accused and victim; we eat up that kind of story!
However, I’m tired of seeing organizations, who are doing fraternity right, suffer from the actions of criminals. We are not a complete team of fraternity life. If you are among the group that is fulfilling that bigoted criminal reputation we see plastering the news and people’s perceptions, you are not my brother. We don’t represent the same thing.
As I understand, my opinion on fraternity life is valued because I’ve seen so many different schools, chapters, and consecutive years through each. However, it’s very clear that I am going support Greek life because I am involved. It’s important to hear the opinions of people disengaged from Greek life who have been positively influenced by the actions of fraternity members. Those stories are never told.
With that in mind, I reached out to someone very near and dear to my heart. I asked my mother to write up a short piece outlining her initial concerns with fraternity life and her current opinion based on the development she has seen in me since becoming involved with Chi Psi. We will continue to publish letters from mothers, fathers, spouses, bosses, and other personal connections who can give an honest analysis of how fraternity life has impacted those whom they love.
Now for what you truly came for, a message from the woman who put up with my antics:
When Max was little, I would watch him do crazy things, like perfecting the art of sticking a noodle up his nose and have it reappear out of his mouth.It was around then that a seed was planted in my mind that when he was older and in college, away from parental supervision, that more dangerous antics could prevail. I told myself that Max would be the type to love a fraternity and it really scared me.
Fast forward many years when Max started college and he told us he was joining a fraternity. I was so nervous. I imagined drinking to dangerous levels and no one looking out for him. I imagined everything to excess and that I was hundreds of miles away and helpless. I made a lot of assumptions about an unruly group conscience.
A few months after he joined, we visited him at school. We went to the fraternity house and learned they had a no hazing policy. I was so relieved about that. I met many of the fraternity brothers and saw how Max interacted with them. He was happy and he had a new team of close buddies who looked out for each other. He took a leadership role in the fraternity and I saw a new side of my son, where he was able to look at the big picture and make responsible decisions.
After four years I can see what a great asset this organization has been for Max. The more involved he got with the fraternity, the more he got out of it. He has made contacts all over the country. He’s gained confidence and he has become a leader. He had a very successful experience and I couldn’t be more proud of him.
Is there someone in your life who you feel can give an objective opinion of the impact of fraternity on your life? Share those with us, and we’ll add them to this new blog series.