It’s a question nearly every college freshman considers: should I join a fraternity?
This semester two of my friends decided to rush a frat. They transferred to the school last fall as juniors, which can be scary, but they knew some of my friends and we all got along just fine.
So, I was surprised when they decided to rush and wanted to ask why.
“Beer and pussy,” Luke said. Understandable.
“Same,” Ommar said. “Why else would you join a frat?”
They officially entered the fraternity last week. The four weeks prior they were pledges. I rarely saw them and when I did they looked like they hadn’t slept in days and smelled like shit. Now, they are free to come and go from the frat as they please and gained some good friends.
For them, pledging and joining a fraternity was as easy a ride as it could have been. They seem to really enjoy it and I’m glad.
Unfortunately this is not always the case.
Earlier this year fraternity pledges Adam Okes and Stone Foltz passed away as a result of hazing. Sadly, this isn’t rare. Since 2000 fraternity hazing has been responsible for over 50 deaths in America (Source: USA Today).
There is also a stark rape culure surrounding Greek life. Fraternity brothers are three times more likely to commit rape than those outside of Greek life. Also, women in sororities are nearly 75% more likely to experience sexual assault than those not involved in sororities (Source: Students 4 Social Change).
These actions are despicable and cannot be condoned (although they have been FOREVER, but that’s a different conversation).
Not everything about fraternities is bad. Like I said earlier, two of my friends are glad they got involved in Greek life and have no regrets.
Many fraternities, including a few on my campus, assist in community service and charity. Large fraternity chapters have powerful alumni that use their cash for a philanthropic good. In fact, Greek life raises over $7 million annually across the nation.
The Greek life system is also the greatest network of volunteers in the United States, contributing over 10 million hours of community service each year (Source: The Fraternity Advisor). Together, fraternity brothers and sorority sisters truly make a difference in America through their charity work.
Fraternities in America are a double edged sword. On one hand, they are making a positive impact in the communities around them. On the other, certain chapters are taking pledging way too far and creating a culture where sexual assault can take place.
I’m not here to tell you to rush a fraternity or not. I have no experience myself, but I have heard only good things from my friends about fraternity life (except for the pledging process but that’s expected).
My only suggestion is that, if you are thinking about pledging, do a little research on the chapter and talk to some of the brothers. It can’t hurt to try, but know your morals.